Following the Thursday meeting (you remember--BagManJim's "back-door escape" meeting):
The key question appeared to be whether the sides could agree on 10,000 or a similar number as the figure for how much the legal limit on the program would be increased.
Assembly Speaker John Gard (R-Peshtigo) told voucher advocates in Milwaukee Friday morning that if Doyle agreed to the 10,000 figure, Gard would drop his insistence that the cap on vouchers be eliminated altogether.
Gard also said the sides were close to agreement on issues related to accountability in the private schools so that more could be done to make the performance of students known to the public and to deal with poor-performing schools or keeping unqualified school operators from going into business.
Doyle had proposed that all voucher schools be required to have some form of accreditation from an outside body, and that appeared to be something acceptable to the voucher advocates. The governor also proposed that all voucher students be required to take the state's standardized academic proficiency tests. It was likely that proposal would not be part of an agreement, but there would be steps in that direction.
Gard said he would keep an open mind to Doyle's proposal to couple a voucher agreement with an increase in funding for the SAGE class size reduction program in public schools statewide.
We wait for the parties to make the only sensible proposal: school choice for ALL Wisconsin students, with no pre-conditions, no silly 'city-border' lines in the sand, and massive cost-savings for Wisconsin taxpayers.
All the rest is merely political posturing by ALL the parties involved.
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