Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is sneaky…instead of taking his privatization agenda out into the open for discussion and debate he tossed some education policies into the budget bill where they could remain hidden until it was too late.
…at least 46 non-budgetary items have been slipped into the proposed 2013-2015 budget, including ALEC-connected proposals limiting local school board oversight for charter schools, expanding “voucher” programs, and creating new teaching licenses for individuals with no education background.
Hoosiers who followed the work of the Indiana Legislature earlier this year will find those items familiar…
Wisconsin created a “Charter School Oversight Board.”
One budget provision creates a “Charter School Oversight Board” that would approve nonprofit entities as independent charter school authorizers. It tracks the general ideas in the ALEC Next Generation Charter Schools Act.
Currently, only local school boards, elected by the community, can authorize a charter school; in Milwaukee, the Common Council and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are also authorizers.
The same legislators who scream bloody murder when the federal government wrests local control away from the public are here voting for the state to do the same.
“There would be no local control here,” Mead says. “It would wrest control from school boards, and likewise from the community that elects those school boards.”
Indiana already has that…
…two years ago, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that created a statewide board that could also accept applications for charter and approve applications for charter schools to open anywhere in Indiana.
And…to add insult to injury…
Seven schools whose charters were revoked by Ball State University in January would be absolved of payments along with another school which did not seek to renew its charter. The Indiana Department of Education loaned the money to the schools to help them with startup costs.
What about the $300 million that the state sucked out of the school budgets during the Great Recession?
The plan is to spend more money on the voucher program like the one in Milwaukee which hasn’t worked for the last 20 years.
The budget also expands the school voucher program that diverts taxpayer dollars away from public schools to subsidize private and for-profit schools, not only by increasing funding for vouchers, but also by requiring voucher programs in any district with more than two schools deemed “failing.” The private school accepting the student would receive the aid for the student and the former school would lose it. This reflects the principles in the ALEC Education Accountability Act.
It took last-minute changes and precisely-timed legislative maneuvering to complete passage of the voucher expansion bill on the last day of the session. As I left the Statehouse at 1am Saturday morning after both the voucher bill and the budget bill had passed…
Bad teachers are causing public schools to fail, so we lower the standards for becoming a teacher…
Another budget provision would create a new teaching license for individuals with no formal education background but subject-matter experience to teach in charter schools. This reflects the ALEC Alternative Certification Act.
Lower the standards to improve the profession?
The legislature recently created a new educator effectiveness evaluation system that ratchets up state oversight over teachers by creating performance criteria based on student performance and other standards. But at the same time, with this bill, Republicans are simultaneously reducing requirements for becoming a teacher
In Indiana, it’s not just teachers who don’t need to know anything about education…but principals and superintendents, too.
Last month the no-nothings on the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE) decided — in the face of substantial public objection — to allow anyone with a college degree to teach the subject of their degree area in the public schools of Indiana…no education training necessary. The idea that you have to know your subject to teach apparently trumped the idea that you have to know how to teach.
The new rules also reduce the teaching experience needed for a person to get a principal’s license from 5 years to 2.
Superintendents: Unqualified – Unbelievable
…the [Indiana] House passed the bill saying that neither a teacher license nor a superintendent license are needed to be a superintendent in Indiana…
So…now you can open a charter school and hire a principal with only 2 years of teaching experience…a superintendent with none…and teachers for your classrooms…all with absolutely no education training at all.
…between Indiana and Wisconsin?
In true ALEC style, Governor Walker is stealthily pushing for radical change…by putting anti-public education items in the budget bill to avoid public discussion.
In Indiana we elected legislators and a governor who didn’t even try to hide the steps they took this year to starve public schools and de-professionalize the education profession.
*References to charters generally imply corporate, for-profit charter schools. Quotes from other writers reflect their opinions only. See It’s Important to Look in a Mirror Now and Then.