Wisconsin Senate Bill 95 Testimony

TJ Mertz:

Thank you for this opportunity to testify on Senate Bill 95.

Due to time limitations — both the time allotted here and the very, very short time between the release of the Bill on Friday and the scheduling of this hearing for today — I will be confining myself to only two of the topics covered in this wide ranging measure. Those are the dilution of the Student Achievement Guaranty in Education (SAGE) and the use of student standardized test scores as a determinant of educator employment conditions. I will note that I believe every section of this Bill should be thoroughly sifted and winnowed.

Before directly addressing the proposals on SAGE and the use of student standardized test scores, I’d like to say a few things about the broader trend in educational thinking and policy in Wisconsin.

Not too long ago Senator Olson chaired a Special Committee on Review of State School Aid Formula. I sat though most of the meetings of that committee. Although little came of it, there was a sense of optimism and ambition in the work of that committee, a sense that we can and should do better. This spirit was captured in the title of the presentation by Professor Alan Odden “Moving From Good to Great in Wisconsin: Funding Schools Adequately and Doubling Student Performance,” (paper of the same title here) . It should be added that Doctor Sarah Archibald, who is anow dvising Senator Olson, was part of that work.

Much more on Wisconsin Senate Bill 95, here.