MTEA: Bad deal between Governor Evers and Republicans fails to fully fund kids’ public schools


High Stakes 3rd Grade Test is an Attack on Wisconsin 8 Year Olds

MILWAUKEE – A deal announced yesterday by Governor Evers and legislative Republican leaders would continue a decade-long trend of Wisconsin government failing to keep public school funding up with the rate of inflation while making enormous increases to the amount of public tax dollars Wisconsin taxpayers are forced to give to unaccountable private voucher schools. 

“It is an insult to every public school student, worker and taxpayer to see the $7 billion surplus that was built on their backs result in yet another budget that fails to adequately fund Wisconsin’s public schools,” said Amy Mizialko, President of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA). “While public school students would see a meager increase that fails to keep pace with inflation, this deal would increase taxpayer payments to private voucher schools by 13% for K-8 voucher schools and 33% for private voucher high schools.” 

Another piece of the deal announced by Evers and Republicans would require high stakes standardized testing for 3rd grade children that could result in thousands of Wisconsin 8 year olds being held back. Before the broader deal was announced yesterday, DPI Superintendent Jill Underly announced her opposition to a standalone literacy bill that included the retention policy, saying it would be “harmful to our learners, families and communities.” Holding students back to repeat a grade will disproportionately punish Black, Latino and Native students and English learners. Notably, private voucher schools would be exempt from the high stakes retention policy.

“It is shameful that Governor Evers and Republican leaders would threaten to fail thousands of Wisconsin 8 year olds if they do not perform to expectations on one high stakes, win or lose standardized test,” said Mizialko. “Wisconsin elected Governor Evers, a former public educator, to fully fund public schools and stand up for our students in the face of right-wing attacks. Where is that governor?”

The deal would also force Milwaukee Public Schools to hire 25 police officers as School Resource Officers (SRO) at a reported cost of more than $1 million per year with no new appropriation from the state.

“The data is clear that SROs do not make students safer,” said Mizialko. “Instead of forcing an ineffective, unfunded mandate on MPS, the governor and legislature should confer with MPS and MTEA on how to most effectively ensure the safety of students and workers in our public schools.”