Local education administrators discuss Betsy DeVos, implications of voucher school programs

By Gabriel Lagarde

Reporter Gabe Lagarde sat down with local educators to discuss the controversial appointment of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and what it means for local schools, both the public institutions and the voucher programs in the city of Eau Claire. While both men agreed DeVos’ influence is expected to be small, the voucher school-public school debate.

The Director of K-12 Academic Services for the Eau Claire District Office, Dave Oldenberg, pictured, draws upon decades of experience as a social studies teacher, Memorial High School principal and now administrator. He describes public schools as the “connective tissue” of the community and an intrinsic part of American culture.

Regis Catholic Schools Foundation President Mark Gobler, pictured, spent years as an educator in the public school systems before joining Regis in 2013, the same year Wisconsin approved a state-wide voucher program. Gobler says voucher schools offer parents the option of a faith-based education for their children, many of whom couldn’t afford the opportunity. He debunked the notion local private schools are for “rich kids” and says Wisconsin voucher schools differ from their notorious counterparts in Michigan.

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