Browsing: Education

Wisconsin’s largest school district is planning to ask its voters to approve a $252 million annual increase in its revenue — and, consequently, spending — in an upcoming referendum. That district, Milwaukee Public Schools, has seen a sharp increase in spending in the two most recent years of state data after nearly a decade of spending that mostly kept up with but did not exceed inflation.

A new bill in Madison could, if enacted, result in substantial property tax cuts in many school districts. It would also result in significantly higher state aid for many traditional public school districts where large numbers of children choose to attend independent charter schools or private schools in one of Wisconsin’s parental choice programs.

To bring about change, parents need to know what a school is teaching. They also need the leverage to object. School choice is not the only tool, but it is a necessary first tool, because parents’ power to change schools comes from their power to leave schools for better ones.

Since 2009, Wisconsin district school enrollment is down 8.3%, or 72,032 students. Independent charter school enrollment is up 81%, or 5,185 students. Choice school enrollment is up 163%, or 34,021 students.

Wisconsin’s Forward Exam, used since 2015-16, tests all students in grades 3 through 8 on reading and math every year, though the 2019-20 school year was skipped.

Students’ performance is ranked as “advanced,” “proficient,” “basic” or “below basic.”

Pushing back on a Gov. Tony Evers veto protecting the University of Wisconsin System’s extensive diversity, equity and inclusion infrastructure, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is asking for legislative committee approval to again remove $32 million from the system’s budget unless it dismantles its DEI programs.