By Ola Lisowski, MacIver Institute, September 11, 2017
As children all across Wisconsin head back to school, it is time for the MacIver Institute's annual examination of our educational system. To make sure we're all set for the semester, let's take a look at what's going on with our students.
First, we'll touch on recent developments at the State Capitol, followed by a rundown of how our kids are doing on a slew of exams and other metrics. We'll also examine different indicators of a healthy educational ecosystem - such as the state of school choice and how the state is addressing failing schools - before wrapping up. Let's start off with an update on the 2017-19 Wisconsin State Budget.
A Busy Budget Summer
To understand the context of Wisconsin's state of education, we have to start with the 2017-19 biennial budget. We've been covering those issues from the fourth floor of the Capitol all summer long.
The state's Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) agreed to a budget plan for K-12 schools that sends $693.3 million more to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) over current funding levels. JFC's plan sends $8.9 million less than Gov. Scott Walker proposed in February, but the increase is still considerable.
Included in the budget: more funding for schools across the board in the form of per pupil categorical aid payments, more flexibility to raise property taxes for low-revenue school districts, and more access to choice and charter schools statewide. Changes to the Special Needs Scholarship Program will allow approximately 250 more students to participate, effectively doubling the program.
After three years of changing students' standardized tests three different times, Wisconsin is stuck with the Forward Exam. That's a clear win for students and the rest of the public, as we'll soon have another yardstick to compare student growth year over year. READ the REST
The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy's State of Education - 2017 Edition
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