Both Democrats and Republicans on the Assembly Education Committee take issue with the way school accountability legislation (AB1) is being handled.
Committee chair and bill author Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) is making changes to the bill, many of which haven’t yet been revealed. Representative Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains) calls Thiesfeldt “courageous” for holding the meeting without a complete bill. “This is my seventh term in the legislature. I have never been on a committee where we have a hearing on a bill that doesn’t exist.”
When asked whether there will be a hearing on the new version, Thiesfeldt said he wouldn’t commit to that.
AUDIO: Pope says the changes are not AB1; it is a “hugely different” bill. :37
Representative John Jagler (R-Watertown) questions a move that would eliminate the “DPI-heavy” academic review board responsible for giving letter grades on school performance; that revision would give authority to the state Department of Public Instruction. “You said basically just wipe out the board and put DPI there. For those people that are concerned that it’s DPI-heavy … I’m a little confused as to that will alleviate their concerns if now there is no board and it’s just DPI.”
Thiesfeldt says the board is “just another level of bureaucracy that is not necessary.”
His revised legislation would strengthen local control, requiring all school boards to declare which academic standards their districts plan to use, but it doesn’t have to be Common Core. The Assembly package still contains sanctions for failing schools that receive taxpayer dollars.
AUDIO: Thiesfeldt explains a little about the bill as it relates to the Common Core standards, local control, and the academic review board. 2:05
AUDIO: Pope makes reference to school funding, saying accountability is not a one-way street. :42
An overflow crowd attended the public hearing at the Capitol Wednesday that started at 10 am and continued into the evening.
Thiesfeldt says a substitute amendment will likely be introduced by the end of the week.