If you thought the budget bill which stripped $834 million from the budget for K-12 education was bad for schools and children, IT ONLY GETS WORSE. In summary, SB 22:
- Creates a 9-person authorizing board for charter schools: 3 appointed by the governor, 3 by the senate majority leader, and 3 by the speaker of the assembly. This limits legislative oversight and allows Walker's cronies, who have no experience in education, to make influential decisions about schools.
- Changes current law that limits organizations to opening only one charter school. SB 22 permits one organization or company to open multiple charter schools which allows non- and for-profit franchised Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) to enter Wisconsin.
- Modifies teacher licensure requirements so that teachers in charters do not need certification.
- Lifts cap on and promotes virtual (online) charter schools
What are the risks of passing this bill?
- Public $ siphoned to private hands and away from local communities as schools outsource services to private companies and consultants
- Traditional public schools become further strapped for funds
- Decreased power of elected school boards
- Increased segregation in schools
- Students who are seen as “difficult” to educate are often pushed out of charters into under-resourced public schools.
- Because charter schools rely on competition, and competition must be measured, charter school district reform often leads to increased focus on testing and teaching to the test.
- Most charter schools do not have agreements with unions. Many CMOs have high teacher and school leader turnover.
- There is NO EVIDENCE that charter schools do a better job at educating young people! In fact, there is evidence that, in terms of test scores, the majority of charter schools do no better or worse than public schools.
What are the other alternatives?
- Stop routing resources away from public schools!
- Maintain high standards for teacher certification!
- Permit only one charter per organization to keep out charter franchises!
- Support and promote high quality neighborhood schools!
- Support social services that alleviate childhood poverty!