As independent Wisconsin business owners, we recognize that public schools are the heart of our communities. We feel a responsibility to stand up for our employees, their families, and the schools that ensure a bright future for our state.
We adamantly oppose Senate Bill 286. If passed, it would require every single year that five percent of the schools in Wisconsin be identified as “failing” — whether they are or not. Those schools could be closed and the children sent to for-profit, unaccountable charter schools.
The next year, the bill requires a new five percent — or another 100 schools — to be identified as failing, again whether they are actually failing or not.
At the rate of five percent a year, this will eventually spread to each and every school district in the state. Once all the Milwaukee schools that “qualify” are closed, who’s next? Probably Madison, Racine, Kenosha, and Beloit. Once those schools are closed, who’s next? Green Bay? La Crosse? Wausau? Remember, the bill says that five percent of Wisconsin’s schools must be designated as failing every year, regardless of whether they are actually failing or not.
“Perhaps most concerning, the bill arbitrarily requires that five percent (or about 100 schools) must receive an F grade, regardless of the actual scores of those schools. Nowhere in the bill would schools or students be offered any kind of support to improve performance.”
– State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers
SB286 is a give-away to private corporations that are trying to profit off taxpayers’ investment in public education. We urge all concerned citizens to contact their state legislators to voice their support for our schools and their opposition to SB286.
UPDATE from Institute for Wisconsin’s Future: Don’t be fooled by reports that the bill might not make it through the legislative session. That rumor should have us more worried than ever. A year ago, there was a moment we thought voucher schools would not be expanded. Then overnight they went statewide. We are at a similar moment with SB286 and must communicate our concerns as clearly and quickly as possible. We’ve been told there will be no further public hearing, but that does not mean we can’t — and shouldn’t — make our voices heard. In fact, we should all be motivated to speak out now more than ever. When legislators craft bad policy behind closed doors, it is our obligation to speak out and hold them accountable.