Education bill designed to increase accountability

State Senator Luther Olsen (RRipon) and State Representative Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake) the Chairmen of the state Senate and Assembly Education Committees have released comprehensive school accountability legislation (LRB 2020/2).

“Parents have more educational choices than ever and that is a good thing” said Sen. Olsen. “This is about enhancing the growing choices parents have for educating their children.”

“We want parents to have the best information possible while at the same time making sure all of their choices are quality options,” added Rep. Kestell.

This bill will ensure the public has access to useful information on the performance of all schools receiving taxpayer money: traditional public schools, public charter schools, and private schools participating in the parental choice program. It also establishes an accountability system for schools and school districts that is more meaningful than the accountability system under No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

The framework for this bill began two years ago with the School Accountability task force quad chaired by Governor Walker, State Superintendent Evers, Senator Olsen and Representative Kestell, and was further developed working closely with all the sectors – traditional public, public charter, and private schools in the parental choice program. This bill is the culmination of that collaboration.

“This bill has been two years in the making,” said Rep. Kestell. “We worked closely with all stakeholders to develop a system that is reliable and fair to all different types of schools.”

For the first time this bill establishes a flow of data from schools participating in a parental choice program to the Department of Public Instruction for the purpose of calculating scores on school report cards for choice schools.

The school and school district accountability system in this bill includes the following components:

* pupil achievement in reading and math,

*growth in pupil achievement calculated using a value-added methodology,

*a rating scale (0-100) placing schools’ and school districts’ performance in one of five categories ranging from Significantly Exceeds Expectations to Fails to Meet Expectations,

*a set of consequences for schools and districts in all sectors – traditional public, public charter, and private schools participating in the parental choice program – appropriate to its sector – whereby continuing to underperform over a time period greater than three years results in significant restructuring, closure, revocation of charter, or removal of the private school from the parental choice program,

*requires an annual analysis and report by the Legislative Audit Bureau to ensure that the fairness and integrity of the school accountability system is maintained.

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