Governor Walker objected Wednesday to Wisconsin’s education accountability plan drafted by a broad-ranging coalition of education stakeholders and with tremendous input from teachers and education support professionals. The governor called the expansive plan to guarantee opportunities for all Wisconsin students too bureaucratic and said it didn’t go far enough.
“The governor is out of touch with the people of the state,” said WEAC President Ron Martin, an eighth grade teacher who served on Wisconsin’s Equity Council comprised of state residents, parents, educators and public school leaders. The group met for 18 months to create a state education plan that crosses ideological lines and does what’s best for students. Over six months, expansive outreach was conducted to collect input from current educators and families about what works – and what doesn’t.
“I’m not aware of any other state that has such a high level council dedicated to the new federal education law,” Martin said. “It’s time for Wisconsin to move past partisan politics when it comes to our students, and instead expand opportunities for them to succeed.”
The deadline to submit the plan to the federal government is Monday, at which time it will be made public. The governor does not have veto authority over the state plan, and had representatives on the council that developed it. Wisconsin’s plan was created over several months based on feedback from Walker and a wide array of groups, including those representing K-12 school districts, parents, teachers, voucher schools, non-white students, the disabled, gay, lesbian and transgender children, the Legislature, the University of Wisconsin and technical colleges.
Approval of the plan is not up to Walker, but to Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos. WEAC and other representatives on the Equity Council plan to draft letters of support for the plan, challenging the governor’s statements.
All 50 states must submit accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in order to continue receiving federal education funding. Wisconsin gets more than $500 million per year in such funding.
In opposing the plan and calling for a new proposal, the governor held up other states, like Tennessee, for their approaches to “drive improvement through bold reforms.”