Governor Tony Evers continues to try to his prop up his sinking re-election bid by announcing today he will throw another $2 billion into a failing education model here in Wisconsin that he refuses to address.
“When Governor Evers ordered schools closed in 2020 and forced public schools to mask children in 2021, decades of learning loss were the direct result, affecting some of the most at-risk children in our state the most,” said RPW Executive Director Mark Jefferson.
The plan announced by Evers today is essentially aimed at attempting to fix some of the problems he created through his response to COVID, his refusal to address the root causes of declining rates of literacy and math achievement, along with poor test scores, particularly in Milwaukee.
Here are just a few examples of how Governor Evers and his administration have failed to address some of the key issues, even with additional funding.
- In November 2021, Evers vetoed a bill that would have tripled the number of literacy tests young students take in school and require educators to create a personalized reading plan for every student identified to be an “at-risk” reader.
- In Wisconsin, fourth graders are on average not scoring high enough to be considered proficient in reading. About 35% of the Wisconsin fourth grade students scored at or above proficient in reading – a proportion that has barely changed since 1992. Almost 50% of this time period Tony Evers was directly in charge of education in Wisconsin.
- The state Department of Public Instruction (DPI) failed to send food assistance to tens of thousands of poor children who were supposed to be getting extra help because they were learning at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Additionally, DPI had not determined whether nearly 500 schools were holding classes virtually – even though the state promised to do so months earlier. Surveys were sent to each school principal in January and in March 2021 to determine how they are conducting classes, but 495 schools didn’t respond to the survey. Students in schools that didn’t respond to the surveys were considered initially ineligible for the food assistance benefits, even though they may have qualified.
“Rather than trying to fix a broken education system, Tony Evers is pushing out a plan to throw massive amounts of money at a problem, partly of his own making, that he has no idea how to solve,” said Jefferson.
Tim Michels knows that reading is key to success in school and in life. That’s why literacy is a key part of his education plan, along with empowering parents to be more involved, investing in technical education and apprenticeships. Those are just some of the key initiatives as part of his education blueprint to get schools back to teaching the basics, and students back to achieving high levels of success in the future.