Moments ago, the Assembly Education Committee advanced legislation that would provide school choice for all students in Wisconsin! The historic vote also included approving breaking-up Milwaukee Public Schools and dramatic public charter school expansion.
Next: The full Assembly is scheduled to vote on the bills next week. We hope the Senate Education Committee holds a hearing next week to build on the momentum!
“This is a historic vote for Wisconsin’s families, enabling all children to have access to a school of their choosing and world-class courses and materials,” said CJ Szafir, CEO of IRG Action Fund. “From overhauling one of the worst performing urban school districts in the country to ensuring all 3rd graders can read to giving school choice to every family, Republicans who voted yes on the Education Committee made it clear that they are putting parents first and special interests last.”
Below is a run-down of the bills that were approved this morning and IRG Action’s testimony from yesterday.
1. APPROVED School Choice for All (AB 970)
“AB 970 will reclaim Wisconsin’s national leadership role in providing options to children and their parents. It removes state enrollment caps, family income limits, and grade entry points on the existing Milwaukee, Racine, and statewide parental choice programs…
It also creates individual scholarships for children in public schools to take courses from an approved provider. Funds can also be used to pay for educational materials and resources offered by a wide variety of education providers…Read our full testimony here.
2. APPROVED – Splitting Milwaukee Public Schools into smaller school districts (AB 966)
“Milwaukee Public School District is simply ‘too big to succeed’ and too broken to be healed through half-measures. Something must be done, and we applaud the authors of AB 966 for starting this conversation.”Read our full testimony here. And read the testimony from AEI Senior Fellow Howard Husock here. ATR President Grover Norquist here.
3. APPROVED – Expanding Independent Charter Schools (AB 967 & AB 968)
“AB 967 and AB 968 would begin to remove barriers to more high-quality public schools in the state by creating an additional statewide independent charter authorizer and enabling the most successful existing charters to expand.” Read our full testimony here.
4. APPROVED – 3rd Grade Reading Proficiency (AB 971)
“We are doing children a far worse disservice if we continue to pass them through a system knowing that they will struggle in the absence of foundational reading skills. When students struggle to learn to read by the end of third grade, they are much more likely to also struggle in other areas of school and life. Please help the children in our state and approve AB 971.” Read our full testimony here.
5. APPROVED – Empowering parents to send children to schools that stay open (AB 995)
“The bill also requires each school district to offer full-time in-person options to all enrolled students. This important clarification ensures that schools do not lock the doors to in-person learning again. Wisconsin families work hard and know what is best for their families. Parents count on their local schools, which they pay for with their hard-earned tax dollars, to remain open and operational so that their children can prepare for their future.”Read our full testimony here.