While Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly fast track their bill, the state Senate is also working on school accountability legislation. There are already two key differences between the proposals. The Assembly version would place sanctions on failing schools, and allow partisan legislative leaders to appoint member of the board which would give letter grades to schools and impose sanctions on them.
State Senator Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee), who has taken the lead on the issue, favors allowing the governor and state schools superintendent to appoint the board. “A position like this, I don’t know if we need the input from the different leaderships in the legislature,” Farrow said. He also believes there needs to be further discussion on sanctions.
Democrats – like state Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd of Milwaukee – have their own concerns, like “making sure that Milwaukee especially is not being picked apart.”
“What we’re all looking for is making sure that we’re holding the schools accountable,” said Farrow. “We’re giving all three sectors – the public schools, the independent charter schools and the voucher programs – an opportunity to correct some faults that might be happening.”