Democrats in the Assembly and the Senate should remind Governor Doyle of the over 1100 students, parents and educators that lobbied Madison last month to save virtual schools. In a last ditch effort, Doyle is trying to appease his friends at WEAC by demanding a cap on enrollment on virtual schools. The Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families is urging passage of the bipartisan compromise bill without the amendments requested by Governor Doyle:
Late yesterday afternoon, Governor Doyle sent a letter to the authors of the compromise and asked that new families be locked out of Wisconsin's public virtual schools until a study of indeterminate length can be conducted.
"Who would want to deny these kids a chance to succeed? That's what a Lock Out Amendment does," said Kaye Martin, a licensed, unionized public virtual school teacher, and coalition member. "We have five years of data that proves that these schools work. And we are creating countless new success stories every day."
The lock out would be especially hard on those who could benefit most: kids with special needs.
"As a parent of kids with special needs, I can't believe in my heart that the Governor would want to deny this option to other families whose children may have similar needs and who may also benefit from a public virtual school," said coalition member Joanne Kremer.
Ray Kastner, whose son has Asperger's Syndrome, agrees.
"We sincerely hope this thoughtful bipartisan compromise passes today without any amendments that would lock out other families from this option," Kastner said. And we hope that the Governor thinks of my son, David, and others like him when he reconsiders any veto threat."
Fernandez said an enrollment cap Lock-Out not only radically alters the compromise, no one has offered a meaningful reason for supporting such a change. During 16 hours of public testimony on the bill, the Governor never weighed in on the compromise.