One of Governor Jim Doyle’s proposed education reforms has gotten little attention, but is now on the fast track at the Capitol. The Assembly Education Committee holds a public hearing on the bill (AB 534) today.
The idea is to give the state Superintendent of Public Instruction more authority to turn around struggling schools. Doyle was asked whether that isn’t better left to local school districts. “No,” said Doyle. “Not if a school is failing, and failing, and failing. And in fact, under federal law, eventually that decision gets taken away from the local district.”
Doyle would like to see the DPI superintendent be able to direct local school boards to order curriculum changes in specific schools, and even order personnel changes, subject to collective bargaining. Doyle believes this would actually be less severe than what can happen currently. “The tool that we have had before, is to just withhold funding from the school or the school district,” he said, adding that “that never made much sense.”
As defined by the federal No Child Left Behind law, there are currently 79 schools and two districts are identified for improvement in Wisconsin.