“If the students are performing at or better than they were in the schools they came from, then that would be a compelling case to offer more choices like that to more families across the state,” Walker said. “If the majority are not performing better, you could make a pretty compelling argument not to.”
Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said work on an accountability bill is wrapping up and he hopes it will begin circulating for sponsors by the end of this month. He hopes hearings will be held in late summer and early fall with a bill sent to the governor by the end of the year.
“I hope that everyone comes away happy that this is the right thing to do,” Olsen said. “The voucher people want a bill like this because they’re only as good as their weakest school.”
Olsen said the bill will not only apply the report card system to schools participating in the voucher program, it will also make changes to the report card for public schools.
The report card released last fall didn’t measure high school student growth, because it was based on one test taken in 10th grade. The state budget the governor signed Sunday expands high school testing to grades nine and 11. The accountability bill will ensure future report cards include those tests, Olsen said.
Democrats have been skeptical that Republicans will follow through on holding private voucher schools accountable. Earlier this year Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, compared talk of a bill to Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown.
In February, Walker told the State Journal editorial board that he hoped to sign a voucher school accountability bill before the budget was approved. That didn’t happen, but Walker said there was push back from the Legislature.
Much more on vouchers, here.