As Governor Scott Walker announces his education reform plan at a Wisconsin Association of School Boards convention in Milwaukee, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers says he’s a little disappointed that he hasn’t seen the proposed legislation, even though he participated in all the taskforces. “We wanna make sure that we have to be true to the fidelity of the process, that that legislation reflects what everybody agreed to.”
Among other things, according to Governor Walker, the legislation would implement a package of education reforms that will improve accountability in schools, improve teacher training, and measure student achievement while laying the foundation for kids to succeed. “And I wanna particularly highlight and thank Dr. Tony Evers … because while he and I, in the past, have disagreed on an issue here or there, I think we both have a shared interest in making sure that every kid — every young person in this state no matter what zip code they come from, no matter what their background, no matter where they live, no matter what their parents do — every kid in this state has access to a great education.”
Evers has worked on a wide array of education reforms over the past year and while he and the governor don’t agree on everything, they do agree on the recommendations of the reading taskforce. “We’ve agreed that it’s important that we have a different way of preparing teachers to teach reading in our schools … provide more professional development for teachers around reading instruction … an early screener for the kids going into kindergarten. All these things we agree on, how that looks in legislation is a whole different matter.”
Walker stresses the importance of reading, saying it is the fundamental building block of education. “From kindergarten to third grade you learn to read; from fourth grade on you use your reading skills to learn. You go from learning to read to reading to learn.”
Evers says it’s important to make sure any action is transparent. Also, he says, education reforms must be fully funded because schools are already dealing with cuts to funding. “We’ve got some good ideas on the table; they have to translate accurately into legislation that reflects those good ideas. That’s my only concern now.”
Evers says overall it was a positive meeting, still, many board members and administrators are concerned about the future.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 2:33