The official version of SB22, seen in this link, creates a “corporate-style”(my words) oversight board that reports only to the Governor – with virtually no Legislative, Public, or Educational oversight. The bill vastly alters the licensing process for charter teachers, and these schools would be run by “non-profit” corporations – not municipal districts accountable to taxpaying voters. The bill also eliminates accountability for school performance by altering the effects of testing to track student performance. It is important to note that Senator Kapanke withdrew his co-authorship of the bill recently – hopefully a sign that reason may yet prevail – don’t hold your breath.
The importance of this cannot be understated. Through the Governor’s version of the budget, a charter school could be created to compete directly with Public Schools, teaching curriculum NOT approved or structured by any educational entity, with teachers not licensed through DPI, and not accountable to any public oversight – only the Governor’s. These schools have no limit on money available to them, at the same time as Wisconsin Public Schools are having their budgets decimated in this biennial budget. Let’s be clear – public schools with less money from the state, being held to higher standards by that state limiting their financial ability to do their job; would now have charters opening in an unlimited capacity to attract any student, with virtually unlimited resources and no public accountability. Under authority from the Governor, lest we forget, the newly appointed powerful DPI Secretary could take “any steps necessary” to fiscally manage the Department – including closing “failing” (even financially) schools.
This policy, coupled with the other Education cuts (see previous blog “Sacrificing Children and Families, part 1”) would give Governor Walker’s Administration the authority to close public schools with no public accountability, to be replaced by newly opened Charters, performing under criteria only set by the Secretary of DPI, under the auspices of the Governor. If you think this is far-fetched, read the bill and follow the money. As set forth by the A.L.E.C. “toolbox” (see previous blog with link to American Legislative Exchange Council pdf), this is very much about privatization, and ideological progression. This bill, and the scenario of decimating Wisconsin’s once great Public School System, follow that plan. Unless we make our voices heard. SB22 needs to be resisted and fought back as hard as the loss of Collective Bargaining Rights -lest there be no Public Schools left to work in, and educate our children.
Coming in the next few days – an analysis of the literal propaganda being proferred by the right wing “corporatists”, and the facts to confound them. One more day, Wisconsin.