Major education policy reforms loom as the calendar turns to 2014
MacIver Institute – Staff – 1/2/2014
This is a lengthy article concerning education in Wisconsin - changes must be made that benefit children first.
The issue of raising standards to ensure that students are prepared to take the next step is doubly important for the state's public universities. The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents recently released a report that showed that NEARLY ONE IN FIVE UW-SYSTEM FRESHMEN NEED REMEDIAL COURSEWORK IN EITHER MATH OR ENGLISH JUST TO CATCH UP TO THEIR PEERS. THIS CACHE OF UNPREPARED STUDENTS is hurting colleges all the way from Milwaukee to Superior. As a result, Wisconsin will have to examine its high school standards to better understand where these lapses between high school graduation and college preparedness are coming from.
The expansion of high performing charter schools could be on the horizon in Wisconsin as well. Legislators in the Senate and Assembly have introduced bills that would allow independent charter schools to open new campuses outside of Milwaukee if they have a proven record of success that is significantly stronger than traditional public schools in the district. After years of failing to create a statewide authorizer, this program would allow non-instrumentality charter schools to expand beyond Milwaukee and Racine. Returns from the state's School Report Cards and WKCE scores suggest that these schools are more effective when it comes to educating economically disadvantaged students than traditional public classrooms in both reading and math concepts.
. . . legislation was pushed off to the spring session. Now, after months of discussion and rewriting, lawmakers are expected to push forward with a modified version of the bill that is harsher on bad schools and creates more opportunities for replicating good ones.
That legislation may be the most important piece of education reform to hit Wisconsin in 2014. With methods in place to grade schools, the state must attach consequences and accountability to these reports. A system that will promote the best classrooms while leaving room to turn around or replace the consistently bad ones will be a major undertaking for state officials, but a necessary one for the future of Wisconsin children.