June 16, 2014: Voucher Movement in Wisconsin Scrutinized by the Department of Justice
Politico reported today that the Justice Department is requesting that private schools accepting voucher students in Wisconsin provide detailed information on how they handle applications from students with disabilities.
A firestorm has emerged from Conservatives who again see this as the federal government interfering in school choice programs.
Last year,DOJ had a long-running fight with Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal over his state's voucher program. Wisconsin conservatives seem to believe that this is a repeat of Justice Department's intervention in Louisiana's"s fight.
The Wisconsin Department of Instruction was first approached last year asking that the state "do more" to ensure disabled students are not discriminated against when they apply to or enroll in private and religious schools using state vouchers to pay their tuition.
The state agreed to take some steps but those steps thus far do not fully implement the intent of the DOJ letter.
Governor Scott Walker has said little on the issue beyond indicating that the state would address the concerns raised in the DOJ letter of Spring 2013. On the other hand his fellow Republican law makers have become outraged.Two law makers are quoted in Politico as saying "... if Eric
Holder wants to go fishing in Wisconsin,we have more than 12,000 lakes. (We) will gladly find him a boat and a guide."
Approximately 25,000 students in Wisconsin use vouchers, mostly from Milwaukee and Racine.The program targets low-income students.