Boots & Sabers

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1322, 22 Jul 20

Can State Close Schools?


“The way that our government is set up, the constitutional basis is for the state to be the primary unit, especially on education,” Dresang said.

However, a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in May struck down DHS’ attempt to extend the state’s safer at home order.

The resulting interpretation is that the executive branch’s powers to make statewide changes to how schools operate during the pandemic are now limited to the rulemaking process and legislation, both of which require Democrat Governor Tony Evers and Republican legislative leaders to come to an agreement.


Dresang says the primary power over back-to-school plans still resides with the state, albeit through the more complicated processes that would force the governor and state lawmakers to work together.

“If the state says do something or don’t do something, that takes precedence over everything,” Dresang said.

That “more complicated” process is called representative government. The state can dictate to schools how and if they open. The state has that power. I don’t think they should, but the state can do it. What the court said is that the executive branch does not have the sole authority to issue orders. It takes a legislative process for rule and law making.

I continue to marvel at how stupid – yes, stupid – some people remain about how government does, and should, work. We used to support things like checks and balances, independent branches of government, and the division of government powers.


1322, 22 July 2020


  1. Randall Flagg

    It should be up to individual school districts to determine how to open, in conjunction with local governments.  There are too many variables from district to district to make a statewide, one-size-fits-all approach.

  2. dad29

    Randall, we agree.  Mark your calendar.

  3. jjf

    “Standardizing curriculum without standardizing resources creates inequities.” ~Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

  4. Jason

    Randall,  as you can now see some people just cannot control their impulses, even when they lie to your face and say they can.

  5. jjf

    Even if you might agree with local control and expectations for local school districts, don’t you need to admit they have different resources available to them?  A tiny district faces big challenges.

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