Madison, WI – Wisconsin Republicans passed no fewer than 16 bills related to K-12 and higher education in today’s Senate floor session, including what can best be referred to as a Book Burner’s Bill of Rights. Not one of these bills do anything to improve learning outcomes for our children, and range from bits of needless bureaucracy to lab-generated mystery meats of public policy that, if enacted, would make administering K-12 education in our state next to impossible.
Giving in to the demands of a vocal fringe who claim to represent parents with legislative proposals hatched in right-wing think tanks, Senate Republicans abdicated any claim as good stewards of our public schools. With the estimated $577 million increase in property taxes their voucher expansion bill would create, they’ve proven also to be poor stewards of public resources. Finally, these anti-education bills represent yet another attack by Wisconsin Republicans on the maxim of local control.
Hours after refusing Governor Evers’ call to special session to fully fund our schools, support caregivers, and return some of the $3.8 billion budget surplus to taxpayers, Republicans instead chose to shift more money into unaccountable private schools, create unfunded mandates for our public schools, and give any individual parent veto power over an entire district’s curriculum. All of this while forcing segregation into Milwaukee Public Schools, Wisconsin’s largest district, by creating 4-8 smaller, segregated school districts in their place without offering any additional resources to fund them.
Thanks to pro-education Governor Tony Evers, none of the Republicans’ mean-spirited education proposals will become law in 2022. By making these bills their final act of this year’s legislative session, they’ve made it clear that if the GOP had their way, we would see the end of public education in Wisconsin.