Parental Options for Wisconsin Enable Results

[Brookfield…] Wisconsin will see improved educational outcomes if and only if universal, informed parental choice in education is established for every family across the state.

In a major policy paper released today, Common Sense Wisconsin is calling for bold initiatives that wrest control over education from decision-makers in  Madison and instead put parents fully in control of their children’s opportunities.

“Parents are not the enemy of education policy, they are the engine,” said Bill McCoshen, chair of the CSW Policy Board and one of the four authors of the POWER policy paper. “In the wake of the pandemic, parents across the state saw –many for the first time– the strengths and weaknesses of our k-12 education system in Wisconsin and many were not happy. Moving forward, they hold the key to changing things for the better.”

Common Sense Wisconsin Executive Director, former State Representative Joe Handrick, said the POWER agenda is built around three Pillars of Reform.

We need to trust parents and empower them with options and information; We need to provide equal educational support and opportunities to all kids; and teachers and administrators need the freedom and tools to improve educational outcomes,” Handrick said.

Among the policies the POWER  paper recommends:

  • Promoting the existing open enrollment process to inform parents of their options
  • Providing curriculum transparency so parents can enroll or transfer with full understanding of what’s being taught
  • Eliminating the per-pupil funding disparities between choice, charter and brick and mortar students
  • Expanding school choice to all areas of the state and eliminating the income limits for participants
  • Permitting alternative licensure, and loan forgiveness/reduced tuition for Education students who teach in Wisconsin

Along with McCoshen and Handrick, the paper was authored by educational reform advocates George Mitchell and Rose Fernandez, both of whom are Common Sense Wisconsin policy board members.

“We need to give every Wisconsin family the right to choose the schools best for their children,” said McCoshen. “All kids must have a choice from among all options, whether they are traditional public,  private, home, charter, or virtual schools. And, all kids must have the option to attend their local public school in-person, in the setting that best suits them.”