Wisconsin school leaders release policy wish list at odds with GOP agenda

Erin Richards

The next legislative session doesn’t start until Jan. 5, but lines are already being drawn around education policy initiatives.

In one corner: the GOP-led Legislature, emboldened after key wins in the midterm elections, and soon-to-tilt farther right with the retirement of key Republican moderates in the Senate.

Their priorities are a new comprehensive school accountability system, revisiting Wisconsin’s academic standards and likely an expansion of programs that send taxpayer money to private schools.

In the other corner: Wisconsin’s K-12 administrators, who publicly released their own policy agenda wish list Wednesday, in hopes that lawmakers would embrace evidence-based practices as they shape the state’s education landscape. They want more funding for programs that research shows helps kids, and an end to “ideology-driven reforms” pursued by conservatives, especially over the past two years.

Is there any middle ground? Or will the next state budget increase the friction between lawmakers and district and school leaders?