IRG Action Alert: Governor Vetoes Historic K-12 Legislation

April 15, 2022

Today Governor Evers vetoed a slate of education reform bills supported by IRG Action that would have given kids everywhere a true chance at a great education. That’s why hundreds of parents from all over the state have urged lawmakers to support the proposals. Combined with his previous education vetoes this session, it’s becoming all too clear that Governor Evers is more interested in defending the failed status quo than working on transformational education reforms.

Chris Reader, Executive Vice President at IRG Action Fund, had this to say following the vetoes:

“Because of Governor Evers, the future for children in Wisconsin is less bright today. Instead of standing with kids and families, he stood with the failed status quo and the education establishment. Now Wisconsin families will not have additional options on where their children go to school, students will not have access to new exceptional courses and materials, and the status quo will continue to perpetuate the failing Milwaukee Public School District. It’s a sad day for Wisconsin.”

The bills vetoed by Governor Evers today include:

1. School Choice for All (AB 970) This would have eliminated the income and enrollment restrictions in the school choice programs in the state, and would create a program to help public school students take courses not offered at their school. Read our testimony from the public hearings here and testimony from Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist here.  

2. Splitting Milwaukee Public Schools into smaller school districts (AB 966) The Milwaukee Public School District has failed the kids of Milwaukee for far too long. This bill would abolish the district and start over with smaller districts that are closer to the families and communities they serve. Read our full testimony here and testimony from AEI Senior Fellow Howard Husock explaining the positive outcomes from breaking up urban school districts here.

3. Parental Bill of Rights (AB 963) This bill enshrines rights of parents into state law, including in many aspects relating to education. IRG Action helped over 200 parents sign a letter in support of this legislation here.

In addition, Gov. Evers already vetoed the following education reform bills this session. Taken together with today’s vetoes, he has a clear pattern of standing against needed education reform. 

Expanding Independent Charter Schools (AB 967 & AB 968) Read our full testimony here on these important bills that would make it easier to start new charter schools in Wisconsin.

End DPI Manipulation of School Report Cards (AB 965) This bill would reverse DPI’s manipulation of the school report cards from last year.

Microschools (AB122) This bill would formalize the use of microschools in Wisconsin.

Parental Opt-Out of Face Coverings, Requiring In-Person Learning (AB 995) AB 995 would put parents in control of decisions on face coverings for their kids, while also requiring public school districts to offer an in-person full time option.

Classroom Transparency (SB463) This bill would have required school boards to publish all learning materials and education activities used for instruction online for parents, taxpayers, and all to review.

Reading Readiness (SB454 & AB446) This bill would establish ways to identify students in early grades who are falling behind in reading, and require action plans to assist those children. 

Thankfully, because of the leadership of Sen. Darling, Sen. Roth, Rep. Thiesfeldt, Rep. Wittke, and the other authors of these bills, our state has started a needed debate on education reform, and these bills will certainly be coming back for further discussion in future years.