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UW-Madison’s Mead stresses importance of public schools during visit to Texas

January 25, 2017

UW-Madison’s Julie Mead was in Austin, Texas, on Monday, Jan. 23 to take part in a symposium hosted by the Austin-based Coalition for Public Schools.

According to a report from the Austin American-Statesman newspaper: “If Texans want to see how a private school voucher system would fare in their state, they should look no further than failed voucher systems in other states, traditional public school supporters said on Monday.”

Julie Mead 2015
The report explains how the Coalition for Public Schools’ symposium at the Texas Capitol invited “researchers to explain how other states’ voucher systems failed to hold private schools accountable and improve the performance of students, particularly those who are lower income.”

The newspaper reports that Mead was invited by the coalition to speak. The professor with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis explained that vouchers erode public schools, which are required to serve all students and teach by a state-approved curriculum. Private schools have different requirements.

“I’d like to have us think about what in fact is at stake and are we willing collectively … to let go of those aspects of publicness in the hope that a privatized system might do something different?” Mead told reporters.

The Coalition for Public Schools’ event came a day before thousands were expected to rally in Austin on Tuesday, Jan. 24 in favor of school choice, an umbrella term that is often used to describe allowing the use of state money to support privately-run schools.

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