As local school officials, the state’s top school administrator, and even GOP Senate leaders slam Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to expand vouchers to nine school districts — including Madison — Walker is reiterating his determination to ”empower parents to make decisions regarding their children’s education.”

And influential former GOP leaders are suiting up to lobby for Walker’s plan to make more public school districts offer a voucher option, in which parents can get state funds to help send their children to private schools.

Walker and privatization advocates have Madison “in their cross-hairs,” blogs School Board member Ed Hughes, who sounds livid that the governor actually admits tailoring the plan to those places where he says parents are asking for it. The distortion of student performance data to paint public schools as “wastelands” is threatening the welfare of the Madison School District and its 27,000 students, Hughes says.