(Benjamin Yount | The Center Square) – The latest school choice plan in Wisconsin would break up Milwaukee’s public schools.
Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, introduced the plan.
“Wisconsin was the first state to give parents more say in their children’s education and future. We have an opportunity to build on our reputation and reclaim our status as a national model for reforming K-12 education,” Darling said in a statement.
Her proposal would split Milwaukee Public Schools into four to eight smaller districts. Parents would then have a choice as to which school they want their kids to attend.
Darling’s plan also includes an expansion for school vouchers and other choice programs in the state.
“I’m proud of how School Choice empowers parents and gives kids a chance to succeed no matter where they live,” Darling added.
School leaders in Milwaukee say the idea is a non-starter.
Milwaukee School Board President Bob Peterson told the Journal Sentinel that says Republicans have proposed doing away with Milwaukee schools before.
“It’s reminiscent of the previous failed attempts to take over the Milwaukee Public Schools and it’s destined to be a losing proposition,” Peterson said.
State Superintendent Jill Underly said the plan from Republicans is “divisive.”
But CJ Szafir, president of the Institute for Reforming Government, said Darling’s idea is worth debating.
“Wisconsin’s K-12 education system is broken. Taxpayers spend billions every year on a public school system that gives more power to bureaucrats than to parents. It is no surprise that roughly two out of every three fourth-graders in Wisconsin are not proficient in reading, and Wisconsin ranks last in the country for reading proficiency for black students,” Szafir said Friday.
“The visionary K-12 education reform package would help transform Wisconsin education so that all students have the opportunity for a brighter future. By expanding school choice options, holding school districts accountable for unnecessarily closing schools over the pandemic, and finally breaking up the failed Milwaukee Public School district, these lawmakers are putting children and parents ahead of bureaucracy.”