Wisconsin DPI should let all schools count online learning

CJ Szafir and Libby Sobic:

The latest attack is from Gov. Tony Evers’ appointed successor at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Carolyn Stanford Taylor, who is refusing to allow private schools in the choice programs to count online (“virtual”) learning toward annual class-time requirements. She is doing so even though DPI has permitted public schools to use virtual learning for a variety of reasons, including to make up for class cancellations caused by Wisconsin’s winter weather.

This is unfair and wrong. We also believe it is illegal. Last month, attorneys at our organization, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), sued Taylor and DPI in Waukesha Circuit Court on behalf of School Choice Wisconsin Action, a membership organization of private choice schools.

This winter has been brutal for Wisconsin’s schools. With unprecedented snowfall, temperatures frequently below zero and mass flooding, Wisconsin K-12 schools have been forced to cancel classes at an extraordinary rate. Because of a state law that requires students to attend more than 1,000 hours in the classroom, many schools are having to make up class time by extending minutes in their school day or by adding days to the school year.