Saturday, December 1, 2012

Governor Walker education transformation plan may move toward more accountability

From WASB news:

Walker Hints About Education Reform in California Speech

In a recent speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California, Gov. Scott Walker said he plans to tie education funding to student performance. While details were lacking, the speech is in line with Walker’s identification of “transforming education” as one of his five major budget initiatives he has discussed recently.

According to news accounts, the governor said he plans to tie education funding to performance, ranging from kindergarten-through-12th grade schools, which now are evaluated by state-required report cards. He said the proposal will also include the technical college and University of Wisconsin systems.

"What we’re going to do is not just put money in ... we’re going to make investments that are driven off of performance," Walker said. Both Florida and Pennsylvania have similar educational funding structures.

"We’re going to tie our funding in our technical colleges and our University of Wisconsin System into performance and say if you want money, we need you to perform, and particularly in higher education, we need you to perform not just in how many people you have in the classroom,” Walker said in the speech. Walker again noted he will push to expand the state's voucher program for private schools and further streamline the state's rules and regulations.

In a speech to the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce this week, Walker said putting money in general school aids doesn’t help focus on correcting specific problems. Instead, Walker said putting money in categorical aids, awarding schools for good performance, and helping manage the schools that are failing will result in better results statewide.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) said, “I think it’s pretty much consistent with what we have been saying. I’m excited about it. I think that Gov. Walker joins a cohesive group of Legislative Republicans who are all heading in the same direction. I hope the Democrats will take our hands and work with us to try to find some common ground."

"He’s laying out a good first step," Vos said, "which is to put the agenda out there and involve the public early, and now we’ll have an opportunity for the Legislature to get involved."

If history is any guide, the administration will begin revealing select budget proposals over the next two months. It is anticipated the Governor will introduce the 2013-15 biennial budget sometime in February. Republicans will control the budget process, holding a 60-39 advantage in the Assembly and an 18-15 margin in the Senate, and a 12-4 majority on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee.

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