Claims in the Scott Walker-Mary Burke race about education

Mary Burke and Scott Walker have clashed over funding for public and private schools.
Mary Burke and Scott Walker have clashed over funding for public and private schools.

When it comes to education, Act 10, private school vouchers and public school funding have been key topics in statements we've rated on the Truth-O-Meter. Here is a look at some key claims from the race.

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My Act 10 reforms have "saved the taxpayers some $3 billion."

-- Scott Walker, Monday, July 21st, 2014 in a news article

Mostly True: Requiring most state and local government employees to contribute more to their pensions has saved public employers more than $3 billion, including $2.35 billion in pension costs. Those costs, of course, have been shifted to public employees.

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"Scott Walker cut school funding more per student than any governor in America."

-- Greater Wisconsin Committee, Aug. 28, 2014, in a TV ad

Mostly True: The Wisconsin cuts were the largest based on two measures -- state revenue provided to local schools and overall spending by schools of state, federal and local money. But more recent figures indicate the cuts are no longer the largest, at least for a more recent period.

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"Already in Wisconsin we have seen fewer people pursuing education as a career" due to the Act 10 collective bargaining law.

-- Mary Burke, April 18, 2014 in an interview

Mostly False: There’s an element of truth here, in that enrollment in undergraduate teacher education programs has declined since Act 10’s adoption. But that doesn’t prove Act 10 caused the drop. The Wisconsin trend predates the measure and coincides with a national drop in students in teacher training. And education-school leaders offer a host of other possible explanations for the fall-off.

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The Wisconsin school voucher program "has no research that shows that it’s going to improve student learning."

-- Burke, May 6, 2014, in an interview

Mostly True: Public school students consistently outperformed voucher students on statewide test scores from 2011 to 2014. The one study held up by choice advocates shows only limited instances in which voucher students performed better, and the study couldn't determine whether the voucher schools themselves or other factors were the reason.

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"Scott Walker has given a $10,000 tax deduction to millionaires who send their kids to exclusive private schools."

-- Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, in an Aug. 31, 2014 direct-mail piece

Mostly False: There is an element of truth, in that millionaires do benefit from the tax break. But so do taxpayers of any income level who send their kids to private schools.

Also in this series: Taxes and state budget, jobs, income and wages, business growth, higher education and miscellaneous items.