Rep. Pope: Gov. Walker plays politics with children’s futures

Contact: Rep. Sondy Pope
608-266-3520

Madison, Wisconsin – Yesterday, Governor Walker rejected a plan submitted by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), which would put Wisconsin in federal compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The ESSA Equity Council has been discussing the plan since August 2016 and is comprised of nearly 30 education stakeholder groups, and includes members of the legislature and a member of the Governor’s administration.

“It is clear that this is nothing more than a petty political stunt by Governor Walker. He had a chance to sit on the ESSA Equity Council and had every opportunity, including sending a representative from his office to weekly meetings, to submit ideas and weigh in on this process,” said Rep. Pope. “Walker’s so-called bold reforms are nothing new and have been in Wisconsin for 27 years. And, the ‘innovations’ in Tennessee he pointed to, are actually failing and several states are now moving away from them.”

In his rejection letter, Governor Walker claims that the plan submitted “does little to change the status quo” and labels it as a “bureaucratic proposal.”  He concludes with a recommendation that instructs DPI to submit a new proposal “that allows our schools to innovate and our students to succeed.”

“This is yet another example of a power-hungry politician claiming to know better than the educators on the front lines.  Rather than working with the nearly 30 stakeholders, who represented a diverse demographic of students and education professionals, Governor Walker chose to use this opportunity to attempt to score points against a political opponent,” Rep. Pope said.  “I fear that the only plan Governor Walker is likely to accept is one that would further open up our public schools to privatization and one that would ensure profits for the governor’s rich, pro-voucher donors.” 

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