One Wisconsin candidate for governor has been vocal about his campaign’s top priority: universal school choice.
Since winning the Republican primary on Aug. 9, candidate Tim Michels has announced several policy priorities, including reducing crime, expanding the workforce, and banning critical race theory from public schools.
But the highest priority of Michels’ campaign is to bring competition into the state’s education system by introducing universal school choice.
“Competition is a great motivator. In our business, if we’re not innovating every day, we’re losing,” Michels told a crowd in Green Bay last month. “We are going to create competition. We are going to improve education. And we are going to make sure that future generations of Wisconsinites have the skills to be leaders in this state.”
Education is a top priority for voters in the state. A poll last week by Marquette Law School found 89% of voters are either “somewhat concerned” or “very concerned” about the state of public education in Wisconsin.
“Tim will deliver school choice for all families to empower parents with options and ensure that all children have access to a great education, regardless of where they live or how much their parents make,” a Michels campaign spokesman told NBC15.
Michels’ opponent, Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers, has opposed school choice expansion. He vetoed Assembly Bill 970 last spring, which would have expanded the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program by eliminating income and enrollment limits.
“I am vetoing this bill because I object to the drastic impact it could have on families,” Evers wrote in his veto message. “It is remarkable to me that many supporters of this bill, who commonly express concerns about property taxes when it comes to supporting more than 800,000 public school children in our state, are apparently unfazed by the fiscal impact this bill could have on families due to the way these programs are funded.”
In a debate with Evers, Michels addressed that argument, saying, “Every parent is a taxpayer, so they should all equally have the benefit of those tax dollars to educate their kids.”
Michels and Evers are polling neck-and-neck, with 47% of likely voters backing Evers and 46% backing Michels, according to the same Marquette poll.