The Badger Institute has been a champion of school choice since our inception as the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute in the late 1980s. Our early research on education funding, teacher performance, school choice and related issues were instrumental as Wisconsin took the lead in offering students and parents expanded options, pioneering reforms that eventually became a model for the nation.
I’m proud to say that the Badger Institute is continuing that legacy as part of a powerhouse coalition that’s working to provide every Wisconsin parent with an array of options for securing the best education for their children. Our in-depth research, deep-dive reporting, grassroots storytelling and influence in Madison will combine with the work of our coalition partners to once again make Wisconsin a trailblazer in K-12 education reform.
As always, thank you for your partnership and support that make these pursuits possible.
MADISON – Wisconsin’s leading education, policy and advocacy organizations announced on Thursday the formation of an unprecedented coalition to empower parents and expand educational opportunities for students.
The newly formed Wisconsin Coalition for Education Freedom includes seven leading groups that have a unified voice on educational reform. Coalition partners include: Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Wisconsin, American Federation for Children (AFC) – Wisconsin Chapter, the Badger Institute, K12/Stride, School Choice Wisconsin/School Choice Wisconsin Action, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC).
“Never before has there been a stronger coalition for parental choice in Wisconsin,” said School Choice Wisconsin President Nicholas Kelly. “Now is the time to change the educational landscape in Wisconsin to put parents and students rightfully first.”
These organizations will blend their unique expertise and experience to inform the public about key educational reforms and pursue far-reaching policy goals that will improve Wisconsin’s educational outcomes. This is also the first time that non-traditional partners from the business and grassroots communities have strategically joined traditional education reform groups to show the importance of taking action now.
“Wisconsin’s reading and math proficiency are falling, and this is having a negative impact on the employability of our workforce,” added WMC Executive Vice President of Government Relations Scott Manley. “Improving the quality of education in Wisconsin schools is critically important to meeting the workforce needs of employers, and school choice for all families is an important policy solution to get us there. The status quo simply isn’t acceptable.”
The Coalition plans to develop a comprehensive education agenda that policymakers can enact in the upcoming legislative session. Additionally, the partnering organizations will work in concert to educate the public about the state of education in Wisconsin, the benefits of school choice for families and what a successful path to reform looks like moving forward.
“We have countless parents in our grassroots network who have been able to take advantage of the educational options already available in our state,” said AFP Wisconsin Legislative Director Megan Novak. “But there continue to be far too many barriers for families who simply want the best education for their children. By empowering parents and engaging with Wisconsinites, we can ensure that never happens again in our state.”
In the coming months, the Coalition will meet with elected officials, families, community groups and others to talk about the importance of education freedom as it develops a range of policies creating greater school choice and advancing other crucial education reforms.
“The fight for educational freedom has long been a struggle against those protecting special interests. Opponents hold funding advantages, but the choice movement has the support of families,” concluded AFC Wisconsin State Director Justin Moralez. “With the enhanced coalition and a historic parental awakening, school choice has never been in a better position to serve the needs of Wisconsin families.”
More details about the Coalition can be found by clicking here.