School accountability and common core bills scheduled for a vote on Thursday were postponed.
The last-minute decision to delay a vote on accountability in schools funded with tax dollars was announced at the start of the Assembly Education Committee.
Representative Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake), chair of the committee, says amendments are being drafted. “We just want to make sure that the details are what we believe them to be; we want to make sure that people have a chance to understand the legislation before we vote on it.”
Lawmakers are trying to reach a compromise. The Senate version of a bill that would help grade student performance isn’t as strict as the Assembly version, which could close failing schools or require radical changes. “In conversations with Senator Olsen over the last few days, they’re taking a look at our final product and saying ‘you know what, that doesn’t look so bad.’” Kestell says, “And so there’s an opportunity, I think, if we take our time to get everybody on board.”
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) has said that he does not believe an accountability bill that includes sanctions would be able to pass through his chamber.
A bill introduced just this week giving lawmakers the final say on public school academic standards, or Common Core, was also scheduled for a vote, and also postponed. Kestell cites too much “confusion and misinformation” among opponents and supporters of the bill.
State School Superintendent Tony Evers disapproves the changes to Common Core. He says, “We will have legislators writing standards for our kids in our schools across Wisconsin.”
Kestell says Evers’ depiction of what the bill does is an “exaggeration.” He says, “I understand, you know, why the superintendent might not like some details in the last bill, but it’s not Armageddon, either.”