Proposed education reforms are on the fast track at the Capitol.
The Senate Education Committee is expected to approve a package of bills today that would help the state access federal stimulus money under the “Race to the Top” program. State Senator John Lehman (D-Racine), who chairs the panel, says the bills are part of an effort to help the state claim up to $5 billion in funding.
Lehman says the key piece of legislation in the package would allow standardized test scores to be used to evaluate teacher performance. He says that bill is a crucial part of Wisconsin’s application for Race to the Top and is an absolute requirement for the state to access the money.
Other bills in the package would set new standards for establishing charter schools, allow the state to pursue new grants, and foster more cooperation between DPI and the state’s higher education systems.
The Racine Democrat says time is running out for lawmakers to act on the bills, with the fall session scheduled to end next week. However, Lehman believes they have the support needed for approval, especially since the state teacher’s union has signed on the measures.
Assembly action on the bills is also expected soon.