DPI

Emily Files / WUWM

Gov. Tony Evers wants to increase state special education funding by $600 million. The dramatic proposal follows a decade of flat state funding, despite rising costs to serve students with disabilities.

Right now, the main state support for special education only covers about a quarter of school districts’ costs. It’s up to local districts to make up the difference.

Courtesy Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

 

Carolyn Stanford Taylor is Wisconsin’s first African-American superintendent of schools. She was appointed last week by Gov. Tony Evers to take over his former job leading the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

Stanford Taylor has firsthand experience with America’s deep-seated education inequities. As a 9-year-old, she was one the first black students to integrate schools in her hometown of Marks, Miss.

She says her mom posed the question to her and her siblings one day on the walk to school: do you want to go to the black school or the white school? 

Emily Files

It's been an interesting year for education in Wisconsin. With 2018 coming to a close, let's look back at some of the biggest education stories in the state.

Education was a central topic in the contest between incumbent Scott Walker and challenger Tony Evers.  Walker called himself "the education governor."

"In the last budget, we gave the largest actual-dollar investment in K-12 education in the history of this state," Walker said in his first debate against Evers. 

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Emily Files

Is state special education funding in Wisconsin unfair? School districts from Eau Claire to Oak Creek say it is. They see inequity between public schools and a relatively new voucher program.

The Special Needs Scholarship Program is another chapter in Wisconsin’s storied school choice movement. It provides an approximate $12,000 scholarship — or voucher — for students with disabilities to attend private school. The state pays for the vouchers by decreasing aid to public school districts where the students live.

Emily Files

State education chief and gubernatorial hopeful Tony Evers wants to put an additional $1.4 billion into public education over the next two years. The proposal is part of the Department of Public Instruction’s request for the 2019-2021 state budget.

Evers, a Democrat, heads the agency as state superintendent. The spending plan comes in the middle of a tight race between Evers and incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican.

According to test scores released by the Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin students overall have improved in math and reading.

State schools Superintendent Tony Evers says private schools that accept taxpayer funds must be part  of a statewide accountability system. A proposal pending in the state legislature to do that, is getting resistance from some private schools because of the power that would be granted to Evers' office. Tony Evers delivered his "state of education" address in Madison yesterday.  Evers also said he favors Wisconsin's use of the common core curriculum and says it sets higher standards than ever before.

According to the Dept. of Public Instruction, 88% of (1,910) schools met or exceeded expectations in 2012, while three percent (58 schools) failed to meet expectations.

Despite a state order and an appeals court ruling, the Mukwonago School Board has voted 8-1 to keep the district's nickname, Indians.