One of my top priorities is reinvestment in Wisconsin’s public education system. Our children’s success is our community’s success. Some ways we can ensure every child has equal access to a quality education include eliminating school voucher programs, implementing universal K-3 education programs, reducing class sizes, and fostering community engagement.
In order to improve our public schools, we must first eliminate the failed and costly school voucher program. Scott Walker’s state budget, with the help of a Republican controlled Senate and Assembly, has forced the burden of funding two school systems onto the taxpayers.This is bad public policy and bad for our public schools. The 2014-2015 school year saw cuts in public school funding while private school parents received annual tax deductions of up to $10,000 per student. Unjustly siphoning money out of our public education system in order to subsidize private interests is wrong, and, as evidence has shown, has failed to be a solution to our city’s education crisis.In 2011, the Department of Public Instruction found that Milwaukee Public School students outperformed voucher school students in math, reading, and science at the 4th, 8th, and 10th grade levels. These results are not unique, but many voucher schools are not held accountable while public schools, especially MPS, take a hit.There are simple changes that could be made to level this playing field: universal accountability, fixing a funding flaw that charges MPS at an uneven rate for private school vouchers, requiring more uniformity of chartering processes, the return of local control, and keeping public money in public schools.The Voucher Tax on Milwaukee has not worked. It is time to put this 24 year failed experiment to an end.
We need to implement universal pre-K through 3 education programs. These promote health, nutrition, and parent involvement, enrich family relationships, foster physical and emotional well-being, and help develop stronger cognitive skills.Universal pre-K through 3 is the answer to improving our students’ performance in math, science, and reading. In addition to these benefits, pre-K through 3 education programs allow the social and economic gap to be closed, giving minority and low-income students equal access to education and setting students up for success throughout their academic careers.My plan for public education is to reduce class size and encourage community engagement. Relationships between students, teachers, and parents are vital to ensuring optimal educational success. Smaller class sizes are effective in allowing students to get the individualized attention they deserve as well as in raising achievement levels, especially for low-income and minority children. Community involvement, building partnerships, and open communication are essential for moving this vision forward.
With these changes, Wisconsin’s education system can get back to providing our children with all the necessary tools to succeed in school and in their future careers.