special education

Emily Files

In Wisconsin, all eyes have been on the state budget and the question of what Gov. Tony Evers will do with Republicans’ version of the two-year spending plan.

But that’s not the only work happening in the Capitol. Last week, the Assembly advanced a handful of bills that would impact schools and teachers.

Maayan Silver

There’s been a new opportunity at two MPS schools this year for students with special needs: the chance to learn drumming. The goal of a new "adaptive drumming" class is to make percussion accessible to all students.

The two schools offering the drumming classes are Frederick J. Gaenslen K-8 School in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood, and Neeskara Elementary School in Washington Heights.

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

What does the 300-student Plum City School District have in common with the 20,000-student Kenosha district? Both think an increase in special education funding is overdue.

special-needs-voucher-wisconsin-state-funding
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.