• School Accountability

A letter to the editor:

Sit up and pay attention!

Pardon me. I just used what my son calls my school teacher voice. It’s that important, neighbors. On January 14th the Wisconsin legislature holds hearings on the so called school accountability bill (A co-sponsor is Assemblyman Jarchow).

ClassroomI urge you to watch carefully as the party of small government takes more control away from our local school boards. The plan is for a 13 member academic review board established by the legislature to oversee and grade public schools, for-profit schools, and private voucher schools. Sounds good, right? So far, of three education sectors receiving taxpayer funds, only public schools are held to a high standard. Public schools require teacher licensing, background checks for teachers and administrators, graduation standards, open records, and quality educational opportunities for disabled children. But did you know that private charter/voucher schools don’t have to “bother” with all of this?

In the past four years, public school funds have been systematically raided by legislative actions while for-profit and private voucher schools have received our tax money with virtually no oversight or consequence for abusing tax money with waste and fraud. In one instance when a for-profit tax supported school was under question for fraud, it simply closed its doors and moved – – – and left the local public school to pick up the pieces.

The old adage, “follow the money” marks the reason many think school “accountability” is the very first bill of the dominant party in 2015. According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the education industry has funneled more than 4.5 million dollars (“bribes”?) to elect Wisconsin candidates who favor privatizing education.

democracy and schoolsLabeled with favorable language, the bill to establish a 13 member board is stacked against public education. Our representatives supports this, it seems. But by now, we have all learned that the worst things can be sugared with sweet words. Torture is enhanced interrogation; uncounted civilian deaths–collateral damage. “School accountability” another false representation.

We would do well to contact Assemblyman Jarchow and let him know we want more support for public education, not less. He answers to us and not to the people who profit if public education gets an F by the review board.

Trust me folks. The public school, one of the pillars of our rural communities, is on a new path and, from what I’m learning, it will not bode well for us. Another old saying: “more will be revealed”. We need to pay attention before it’s too late.


Marilyn Brissett-Kruger

St. Croix Falls, WI