Madison – Parents need and deserve a larger say in their children’s education. On Wednesday, Senator Alberta Darling, Senator Roger Roth, along with Representatives Robert Wittke, Jeremy Thiesfeldt, Rick Gundrum, and other education leaders in the Legislature introduced seven bills that will put children and parents first and reform our state’s education system. Senator Darling, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, says the legislation will build on Wisconsin’s reputation for innovation.
“Wisconsin has a reputation for reform. It’s time we regain our status as a national leader and innovator for education reform,” Darling said, “We are putting parents and their children first, we are going to increase transparency and accountability, and we will be funding students, not systems.”
- Parental Bill of Rights – Establishes several parental rights relating to decisions regarding a child’s religion, medical care, records, and education, and creates a cause of action for the violation of these rights. Allows a parent to bring a suit if those rights are violated.
- School Choice Expansion – Opens school choice to all Wisconsin families by removing state enrollment caps, family income limits, and grade entry points – marking the beginning of true school choice for all our students and families.
- Milwaukee Public School Reform– Establishes by 2024, MPS will be divided into smaller community districts that are more manageable and accountable to parents and their communities. The new community district boundaries will be developed by a commission made up of elected officials with a vested interest in the community, including the Mayor of Milwaukee, the Governor, and the State Superintendent.
- School Accountability Reports – Establishes uniform standards for school accountability reports. Our state’s educational accountability system relies heavily on the state school and district report card. This bill improves the accountability reports to provide a consistent assessment of student success.
- High-Performing Charter Replication and Creation of Statewide Charter Board – Charter schools are public schools that operate with less red tape. This bill will streamline replication for the highest performing charter schools in our state and will increase opportunities for more students and families statewide.
- Property Tax Credit after Virtual School – Increases the school property tax credit for residents of school districts that are closed to in-person instruction for more than 10 days of instruction during the second half of the 2021-22 school year. Many working families were left last minute to find options for their children, and this money will help offset some of those incurred costs.
“I welcome the debate from those who want to protect the status quo and support decades of failing students. The time is now to put children and families first because we can no longer afford to lose a generation of students.” Darling said, “We are going to do what is right for kids, parents, and the future of Wisconsin.”
Senator Darling represents portions of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha Counties.