Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor, a Democrat from Milwaukee, has a big problem with the budget cuts being proposed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature. So big a problem, in fact, that she was inspired to compare it to violent sexual assault.
“For years, individuals who sit on this committee and in this building have known that they have been raping the children of MPS,” said Taylor. “I get it. The word ‘rape’ sounds offensive, but when you consider the fact that 15 out of 100 kids can read on grade level while $89 million have been skimmed from the education of kids, and that you don’t invest it, in even the crisis areas, who are you fooling?”
Republicans accused her of adding fuel to an already incendiary debate, but Taylor stuck to her comparison amidst the controversy. One might think that Wisconsin conservatives were trying to re-institute segregation or perhaps put corporal punishment back in public schools. But no. Taylor is upset because the legislature wants to impose a state takeover of the lowest performing schools and turn them into private schools or charter schools. They also want to expand school choice programs, giving Wisconsin families a bigger voice in their children’s’ education. Oh, and they want to make students pass a civics test before they graduate. The horror!
Taylor’s inflammatory comments can be condemned out of hand. Even those who don’t give credence to “rape culture” theories can see how disgusting this kind of comment is. It minimizes the tragedy of sexual assault (which Taylor claims to have been a victim of) and it lowers our discourse at a time when we should be striving for something better.
Far worse, though, is her insinuation that concepts like school choice, voucher programs, and parental freedom are analogous to unthinkable crimes. Democrats are entrenched in the fight against these measures, and it makes less sense every time a skirmish breaks out. To them, the only answer is more money. Blow up the budgets, crush the taxpayers, and somehow the children will benefit. And despite years of evidence to the contrary, they keep going back to the same well.
School choice, on the other hand, does work. Studies have consistently shown that school choice works when it comes to improving student achievement. Not a single study that used random assignment methods has ever shown that school choice is anything but a boon for academic gains. Is it a perfect program? No, but it works as an intervention when all else fails. And in Wisconsin and many other states, all else has failed.
In this area, like so many others, Democrats want to level the playing field by making sure every kid has an equally bad education. Republicans want to even things out by giving every kid a shot at a real educational opportunity. Somehow, in the diseased mind of the liberal, this is equivalent to rape.