Gubernatorial Candidates Weigh in on School Accountability - WBAY

Gubernatorial Candidates Weigh in on School Accountability

Appleton -

Thursday is expected to be the last day this session for lawmakers in the Wisconsin State Assembly. That means time is running out on an effort to hold public and private schools accountable under the state's school voucher program. 

The Senate already agreed on a bill that would hold schools receiving tax money accountable, but Republicans in the Assembly have a different idea that includes stricter sanctions for some schools.

The Assembly must vote Thursday and the Senate needs to agree or there could be no change.

The school voucher program in Wisconsin has always prompted plenty of controversy, but there is one thing that most Democrats and Republicans agree on, schools receiving taxpayer money should be held accountable.
"We have to have the accountability around it to make sure that the choices that parents are getting are good choices," said Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke.

Assembly lawmakers will vote Thursday on a bill that would impose sanctions for schools deemed low-performing.

Governor Walker is pushing some form of accountability. 

"My goal is to have every kid in the state, no matter what zip code they come from, no matter their background, have great education," said Walker.

Under a plan pushed by Governor Walker and approved by lawmakers, the voucher program will expand next year to include 1,000 students statewide.      

The governor's presumed opponent this fall, Democrat Mary Burke, said, if elected, she wouldn't expand the program she'd end it. 

"We should not have rolled this out statewide when the research proves that currently students in voucher programs perform no better than students in the public schools," Burke said.

But Governor Walker defended the expansion Wednesday.

"What I think as governor, is I should be focused on helping parents and families find as many options as possible that are best suited for their sons and daughters."

If the Assembly passes the bill, the Senate would have to take it up on April 1.

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