Category Archives: Education

State DPI Wants More Money

Um… no. There are fewer and fewer kids in public education. Ergo, the budget for it should decline with the number of kids we are educating.

MADISON, Wis. — The state Department of Public Instruction wants $1.6 billion more included in its budget over the next couple years than the last budget, but that might not be a request the Republican-led finance committee will grant.

The department is asking for a total of $7.4 billion in 2021-22 and $7.7 billion in 2022-23, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. This compares to $6.7 billion in 2020-21.

Mike Thompson, the deputy state superintendent, said the extra money will go toward initiatives in special education, equity and mental health aid.

“We think it’s a realistic budget,” he said. “We think it’s a budget that prioritizes what the citizens of Wisconsin want for educating their kids. It makes investments in kids, and what better investment can we make than in children?”

West Bend School District Sees Dramatic Decline in Enrollment

Huh.

On Friday, the district also had released its third Friday count to determine the full time equivalent of district membership.

WBSD serves more than 5,900 students. There are 312 students in early learning, 1,760 students in 5K through fourth grade, 835 students in fifth and sixth grade, 899 students in seventh and eighth grade and more than 2,000 high school students.

The district’s 2019 3rd Friday count was 6,388.91 FTE. If it’s 5,900 now (that appears to be a rounded number), then that’s a decline of almost 500 kids, or 7.6%, in a single year.

This is sharply down from the enrollment projections that the district released in November of 2019. In those projections, it forecasted an enrollment of 5,727 students (not including 4K). The actual looks to be about 5,494.

The enrollment  confirms what we have known for some time. The West Bend School District is in for a long term enrollment decline before it levels off. This is being driven by demographic trends and the proximity of several outstanding private/parochial schools in the area. COVID19 may have played a part this year, but given the district’s hybrid approach, I don’t think it has as much of an impact enrollment as in some other districts.

UW Implements Furloughs AND $15 Minimum Wage

So if you’re lucky enough to keep your job, you’ll make more. Of course, more people could keep their jobs if UW didn’t set an artificial wage floor, but that’s how the minimum wage works.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will implement more furloughs for spring semester to help offset revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. The first round of unpaid leave, announced in August, ends this month.

Furloughs will begin Jan. 1 and last through June 30 to allow time for employees’ pay to return to normal, Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in an email Monday. They will have the same graduated structure as the current furloughs, ranging from three monthly furlough days with a 2.5% pay reduction to six monthly furlough days with a 4.6% pay reduction.

The university estimates that revenue between March and the end of this fiscal year in June 2021 will be about $320 million less than anticipated, Blank said. Some of the shortfall was offset through cost savings efforts, such as $27 million in savings from furloughs and salary reductions.

[…]

UW-Madison will also continue moving forward with its commitment to a $15 minimum wage for all hourly employees. Though it temporarily halted the plan earlier this year, Blank said it will go into effect Jan. 17, mainly affecting custodial, animal care and food-service employees.

Government Employees Monitoring Homes

Many people have a government employee monitoring their homes throughout the day. I say that a little glibly, but only a little. This implications are widespread.

HealthChristi Brouder had finally gotten her 10-year-old daughter settled on the hallway floor with a laptop and signed into a video class on Google Meet when the girl’s 6-year-old brother leaped over computer the screen “in his birthday suit” to get a juice box.

To Brouder’s surprise, a social worker from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families called her later that day; someone had reported an adult male exposing himself during the class. That was followed by a visit from a police detective sent by the school to do an in-person wellness check.

Brouder explained that her son has epilepsy and autism and sometimes takes his clothes off to feel more comfortable and the inquiry ended there.

But the experience left the mother in the city of Haverhill incensed, and underscores the challenge on educators to make judgments based on fleeting scenes or sounds from a webcam.

“The teachers never asked to speak to me. Nobody said anything” during the class, Brouder said.

Child protection laws require school personnel, along with health care workers and other professionals, to report any suspicions of neglect or abuse. The coronavirus pandemic and virtual instruction have only raised the stakes; in the absence of daily in-person school and extracurriculars, a teacher’s video contact may offer the only window to spot potential problems in students’ lives.

Wisconsin Public School Enrolment Declines 3%

Ouch

Enrollment in public school districts dropped 3 percent from September 2019 to September 2020, compared to a 0.4 percent drop in the previous 12-month period.

School enrollment in Wisconsin, and in other parts of the country, has been on the decline since the late 1990s, when the children of baby boomers — who themselves drove record enrollment numbers — were in their peak schooling years. However, amid uncertainty and near-constant changes in plans because of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools around the country have been seeing larger enrollment drops, especially in 4K and kindergarten classes.The 4K enrollment drop is particularly significant, as the introduction of 4K programs at more Wisconsin schools helped offset the decline in enrollment numbers for many school districts during the post-millennium decline. September 2020 numbers show a 15.8 percent decline in4K and preschool special education, as well as a 4.9 percent decline in kindergarten enrollment.

Because attendance is not legally required for4K and kindergarten, DPI School Financial Services Director Dan Bush noted the drop in enrollment for those two age groups could reflect more families choosing to keep kids home, possibly out of health or school safety concerns surrounding COVID-19.

The enrolment data indicates that a lot of parents are choosing to keep their kids home or just get them out of traditional public schools.

Independent charter schools saw an increase in enrollment, but a smaller one than previous years. Enrollment was up 1.6 percent in September 2020, compared to 2.8 percent the year before. Their 4K enrollment decreased by 16.7 percent, while kindergarten enrollment decreased by 0.1 percent. Grades 1 through 12 drove the increase, with enrollment growing 3.9 percent from the preceding year.

Wisconsin has four private school parental choice programs, which reported a 5.9 percent increase from September 2019 to September 2020, compared to 8.3 percent from 2018 to 2019. Enrollment increased by 2,577 students and 26 schools over last year. Like the independent charters, they saw a drop in 4K enrollment by 3.5 percent, though kindergarten enrollment increased by 5.1 percent. Grades 1-12 saw a 6.7 percent increase.

Appleton Public School Sees Enrolment Decline

We’re seeing this all over. What we are seeing is parents make choices for their kids based on their learning style.

APPLETON, Wis. (WLUK) — It has been a frustrating start to the year for many parents in the Appleton School District.

The district says enrollment is down almost 400 students this year. Some parents say it’s because of the district’s decision to continue all virtual learning.

George Brown and Keith Doszak say all-virtual learning wasn’t working for their kids.

“We felt we had to do something,” Brown said. “Now, she’s enrolled at Little Chute, and it’s been a complete 180.”

[…]

According to the Appleton Area School District, 916 open enrolled students have transferred out of the district.

[…]

Overall enrollment dropped from 16,067 students last year down to 15,690 this year. The district says 220 of these students are in 4K.

1,000 Students Leave Madison Public School District

Utterly predictable. And yet another 1,000 or so families who are paying taxes for schools they aren’t using. We need more School Choice.

The Madison Metropolitan School District has 1,006 fewer students this year than last.

Projections before the COVID-19 pandemic anticipated a drop of only 51 students from the 2019-20 school year to 2020-21, but a survey this summer indicated it was likely to be much larger. The count of 25,877 students is based on the annual “third Friday count,” which is taken on the third Friday of September to determine state aid.

Elementary and 4-year-old kindergarten enrollments account for 90% of the overall decrease, according to a memo to the School Board, which will discuss the budget and enrollment Monday evening. In 2019-20, 1,717 students enrolled in 4K, but that number is down to 1,415 this year. The elementary school total was 11,789 last year, but is down to 11,173 for 2020-21.

That fits with a national trend of declining kindergarten enrollment this year, as many districts nationwide remain virtual.

UW Schools See Declining Tuition Balances with Declining Enrollment

This is just going to continue. The demographic shift is being accelerated by traditional colleges that undermine their own value proposition by shifting to virtual learning. Better to get control of the spending now. Small adjustments early are preferable to massive adjustments late.

Balances in tuition reserve funds across the University of Wisconsin System are at their lowest levels since 2008. Without a significant cushion, some campuses are cutting spending and staff to address financial problems caused by declining enrollment, the coronavirus pandemic and eight years of frozen tuition.

[…]

Within the UW System, some of the tuition fund balance declines were significant. UW-Stout reported a negative balance of $133,181 at the end of June. The campus had more than $8 million in reserves three years before. UW-Whitewater saw its tuition balances drop from more than $15.5 million to under $3 million in that same period, a decline of more than 81 percent.

UW-Stout lost more than 1,200 students between 2016 and fall of last year, according to the UW-System’s Accountability Dashboard, which works out to a near 13 percent decline. This year, enrollment has fallen again by around 5 percent from fall of 2019, meaning the campus will take in nearly $2 million less in tuition revenue than expected.

[…]

UW-Stout is the third regional campus to submit a savings plan to the UW System’s central finance office in the past year, following UW-Stevens Point and UW-Oshkosh.

In December 2019, UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt announced the university had to reduce its budget by 7.5 percent through 2021 or it would “simply spend more money than we will bring in,” without enough reserves to cover the difference. Leavitt said at the time that the university would use retirement buyouts to cut an estimated 70 staff positions.

As of June, UW-Oshkosh had nearly $11 million in tuition balances, which a campus spokesperson said works out to 4 percent of its overall budget and represents half a month of operating expenses.

After three years of significant enrollment declines, UW-Stevens Point made national news in 2018 when Chancellor Bernie Patterson announced up to 13 degree programs would be cut to save money. Ultimately, the plan was dropped.

That same year, the campus developed a financial recovery plan with the UW System, which runs through 2022 and included $8 million in cuts. A campus spokesperson told WPR the university has reduced its staff by 58 employees over the last two years through early retirement buyouts, leaving vacant positions unfilled and laying off a small number of people.

 

Racine School Board Allows Public Comments for First Time in Six Months

Just notice how quickly some government bodies lock out the public when they have an excuse to do so. I would point out that many, many other school boards were able to find a way to accommodate public access while conducting virtual meetings. This was a choice by Racine because they didn’t really want to hear from their constituents as they made unpopular decisions.

Monday was the first time the School Board allowed public comment during one of its business meetings in around six months. Board President Brian O’Connell previously said this was due to logistical issues as the board had been hosting meetings via Zoom since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. There were a few technical issues during the comment period on Monday that caused some minor delays.

Out of the 11 people who commented during the meeting, either in-person or via email, nine of those implored the board to get students back into classrooms.

Teacher Fired for Insubordination

Heh

(CNN)A Texas teacher was fired for continuing to wear a Black Lives Matter face mask after school officials asked her to stop.

Lillian White, an art teacher at Great Hearts Western Hills, a public charter school in San Antonio, began wearing a face mask that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is Violence” after the charter school reopened in the summer for in-person workdays amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, students were not on campus.

White said she wore the mask to demonstrate her support for Black students and faculty, but also to advocate for an anti-racism action plan and a more diverse curriculum.

Great Hearts Texas Superintendent Daniel Scoggin said in a statement to CNN that school policy forbids faculty from displaying messages on their face masks.

“Great Hearts enacted, in this unprecedented pandemic environment, a policy that face coverings have no external messages,” Scoggin said.

The art teacher, who has worked in education for more than 10 years, continued to wear the mask despite receiving multiple requests from school officials to stop.

“I immediately knew it was time for me to make a decision, and I didn’t think twice about it. This is a human rights issue and I did it for my students who experience racial injustice in school. I refused to back down,” White said.

“If you’re scared about what parents are going to say because a teacher is supporting equal rights, you need to reevaluate the kind of people you’re catering to. By staying silent, Great Hearts is only supporting racist parents.”

Three comments…

1) Notice how it wasn’t the message on the mask. It was the fact that there was a message at all. The school’s policy is clear. It is designed to prevent teachers from abusing their position of power to advocate personal opinions and to ensure that the school is a welcoming place for families of all backgrounds and perspectives. This teacher refused to adhere to the policy. The administration worked with her for weeks to get her to adhere to the policy. She left them no choice.

2) Notice the false paradigm. If you don’t support HER political and social views and support HER advocacy of such, then you are a racist. The administration is racist for wanting to keep all messages off of masks. And the parents who might not want to see such messaging on their kids’ teacher’s mask are racists. The teacher has an incredibly selfish and closed mind. It’s a good thing she isn’t teaching kids anymore.

3) Is anyone else amused that her name is Lillian White… Lily White? No? C’mon, man…

West Bend School District Responds to Trump Mask Allegation

From the Washington County Insider.

There was recently a post on social media about face masks that claimed middle school students in the West Bend School District were being asked to remove some political masks and not others.

Superintendent Jen Wimmer was asked about the allegations regarding the masks and responded.

“We have been made aware of a person posting information on a local Facebook group page that alleges a staff member at Badger Middle School told a student to remove a face mask because it featured a political candidate. The Badger administrative team, supported by our Director of Human Resources, is conducting a thorough investigation.

As that investigation takes place, families and the community can be assured that the West Bend School District believes students have the right to exercise non offensive and non disruptive free speech. Supporting a political candidate or advocating for a group (i.e. BLM, Blue Lives, flag, military, etc. as Ms. Kellom notes) is allowed in our schools. There is no policy or practice that would discourage this (unless as part of that message it included offensive language or imagery).”

The commoditization of a college education

Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week. Yes, I do use “college” and “university” interchangeably because the content applies to both but it gets wordy to keep saying “colleges and universities.” Enjoy!

Wisconsin’s colleges and universities have begun their fall semesters with a variety of plans for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Students throughout the state and nation are living through an unpredictable whipsaw of experiences as colleges change the rules depending on the latest COVID-19 test numbers. These changing experiences are perhaps forever changing the fundamentals of the college experience and the value proposition of a college degree.

As a parent of three kids who are currently in college and one college graduate, the value of a college education is something that I have always considered undeniable. Both of my parents had college degrees and I was reared to believe that a college education is the golden ticket to the middle class. The mere possession of a sheepskin opens doors and careers that are otherwise unavailable.

While the actual education is the most important part of college, the campus experience is also a key part of shaping a person for the larger world. Being physically on a college campus is the first time away from home for many people and is where they learn to interact, socialize, work, collaborate, and play with people from vastly different backgrounds and experiences. It is also where one forms bonds and relationships that can help one get started and progress in their careers.

In more recent years, the value proposition of a college education has been eroding. Greased by easy money from the federal government, the cost to attend college has increased far faster than the ability of most people to pay for it. At the same time, the rise of lucrative careers in technology and the global commercial reach of the internet have made a college degree less important as a ticket to wealth. There will always be careers that will require a rigorous advanced education, but a bright kid can do very well for him or herself with a couple of key technical certifications or a catchy online business.

As the perceived worth of a college degree has been slowly declining for many people and the cost of that degree has been increasing, traditional colleges have been investing more and more into the campus experience. To visit some college campuses is to visit monuments to extravagance. Dormitories look like modern upscale apartments. The workout facilities are expansive and beautiful. Lecture halls and classrooms are equipped with the most sophisticated technology. The shared spaces are littered with study nooks, coffee shops, entertainment distractions, movie theaters, restaurants, and more.

All of those campus amenities cost money — a lot of money — and they are part of the reason for the ballooning cost of college. What happens when students are paying for all of those amenities but do not get to use them? That is what is happening for college students all over the state and nation as college administrators decide to lock down campuses, quarantine entire dorms, and move classes online.

Families and their college students might have been a bit more forgiving in the spring when colleges precipitously closed in the face of an unknown virus with scary predictions of millions of dead. Now we are entering a new phase. Colleges are demonstrating how they will react to any future health concern and creating uncertainty that students will ever be able to rely on having a true campus experience.

When a traditional college decides to close the campus and provide all of their education online, they are changing the value proposition of the education they are offering. The students are still paying for all of the amenities that sit empty and unused. The only thing that the students are getting for their money is the education provided through a computer screen as they sit alone in a dorm, apartment, or at home. If that is the case, then why are they paying so much? How is the education provided by UW-La Crosse or Marquette University any better than the education provided by tenured online universities like Capella University or the University of Phoenix? If universities are to be judged solely by the quality of the education they are providing through their online portals, then many traditional universities will struggle to differentiate themselves without being able to use their beautiful campuses to lure students.

The longer that universities forgo access to their campuses and deliver learning only online, the more students will shop around for their college experience. While a student may not be able to put a proper price on sitting on UW-Madison’s Memorial Union Terrace tapping out a research paper with an eclectic guitar player strumming nearby, that student can certainly put a price on sitting in their bedroom listening to a lecture on their computer.

The great commoditization of education happens when the intangibles of campus life are squeezed out and students are left to simply decide if taking Math 240 from Online University A is better or worse than that offered by Online University B. As traditional colleges underwrite the move to online education and close off their campuses, they are hastening their own decline.

 

The commoditization of a college education

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a little snippet.

When a traditional college decides to close the campus and provide all of their education online, they are changing the value proposition of the education they are offering. The students are still paying for all of the amenities that sit empty and unused. The only thing that the students are getting for their money is the education provided through a computer screen as they sit alone in a dorm, apartment, or at home. If that is the case, then why are they paying so much? How is the education provided by UW-La Crosse or Marquette University any better than the education provided by tenured online universities like Capella University or the University of Phoenix? If universities are to be judged solely by the quality of the education they are providing through their online portals, then many traditional universities will struggle to differentiate themselves without being able to use their beautiful campuses to lure students.

The longer that universities forgo access to their campuses and deliver learning only online, the more students will shop around for their college experience. While a student may not be able to put a proper price on sitting on UW-Madison’s Memorial Union Terrace tapping out a research paper with an eclectic guitar player strumming nearby, that student can certainly put a price on sitting in their bedroom listening to a lecture on their computer.

The great commoditization of education happens when the intangibles of campus life are squeezed out and students are left to simply decide if taking Math 240 from Online University A is better or worse than that offered by Online University B. As traditional colleges underwrite the move to online education and close off their campuses, they are hastening their own decline.

Black Boy Suspended For Playing With Nerf Gun in Own Home

So the schools force the kids to learn virtually and then impose ridiculous rules in their homes? Nuts to that.

A 12-year-old boy in Colorado Springs was suspended from school for five days for playing with a toy gun during a virtual art class – an infraction that resulted in Grand Mountain school sending a police officer to the pupil’s home.

The boy’s parents, Curtis Elliott Jr and Dani Elliott, say the police visit terrified them and put their son Isaiah in danger.

“I never thought, ‘You can’t play with a Nerf gun in your own home because somebody may perceive it as a threat and call the police on you,’” Dani Elliott told the Washington Post.

Isaiah Elliot was not charged but he now has an entry on his disciplinary record saying he brought a “facsimile of a firearm to school”, and a record with the El Paso county sheriff’s office. Another boy who was studying at Elliott’s house was also reportedly suspended.

[…]

The Elliotts have decided to pull their son out of school, hoping to find a place at a school adapted to working with students with attention deficit disorder. His mother said she told administrators: “Black children cannot have that sort of thing on their record. You are reducing his chances at success.”

Good for the parents.

Principals Report No Outbreak at High Schools

Good news.

The email states that as of Thursday, 31 students had been placed in quarantine after having contact with a positive case.

Upon closer examination of contact proximity and exposure time, Superintendent Jen Wimmer confirmed that the number was reduced to 24 students.

Graf and Schlass added there have been no transmissions of COVID-19 during the first week of school, which began Sept. 1.

Bear in mind, there will be an outbreak at some point. That is not the question. The question is how are we all going to react. Panic? Fear? Shut down? Or take reasonable actions and carry on with the duty to educate?

More Families Homeschooling

Maybe a long-term benefit of so many schools abandoning their duty to educate. More families spending more time together and educating their kids with their values. Stronger families. Smarter, more independent kids. Promising future. Heh.

The effect of the Wuhan virus crisis is obvious in the responses: Parents reported declining participation in every institutional school option, with the exception of “charter school.” Still, the decline of “public school” was the most notable, falling from 83 percent to 76 percent.

Given the fact that this poll measured families, not children, the percentage of home-schoolers among the overall student population could be even higher. Samantha Spitzer, a certified teacher and home-schooling parent, believes this to be the case. Spitzer has been hosting “how to home-school” workshops throughout her local region of West Virginia this August. She’s seen dozens of first-time home-schoolers showing up at each forum.

“I talked to someone at my county school board office,” Spitzer said. “She left on a Friday evening, Aug. 7, and by Monday morning she had 175 notices of intent to home-school on her desk — all from brand-new families.” Based on public school enrollment numbers, Spitzer estimates that in one local county, as many as one-fourth of K-12 children might be homeschooled this year.

Verona’s New High School Campus is Done (and empty)

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. If kids ever go back to school, they might like the building and facilities.

But remember that they will put the same teachers in there who are churning out results where 51.2% of the high schoolers are less than proficient in Language Arts and 55.2% of the kids are less than proficient in Math. In other words, less than half of the kids in this school are proficient at either math or English language arts. But hey… the facilities are cool. I’m sure that will help.

VERONA — A cathedral-height atrium will bathe students in sunlight as they eat lunch, small conference rooms attached to classrooms and the large “social stairs” are designed to promote collaboration, and floor-to-ceiling windows in the library pull a view of the rolling countryside inside the new $150 million Verona High School.

After two years of construction — and more years of preparation and anticipation — the project to transform farm fields on the edge of the growing city into a modern high school is complete.

[…]

The 592,000-square-foot building occupies a seven-acre footprint on a 162-acre parcel just southeast of where Highway 18-151, West Verona Road and Epic Lane meet. Parking lots and new athletic facilities, such as turf football and soccer fields, baseball and softball diamonds, and tennis courts, surround the building.

[…]

Perhaps the most striking space in the school runs the length of two football fields through the center of the building.

A large atrium features three-story-high ceilings lined with windows at the top. Throughout the ground floor and a second-floor balcony of the atrium, restaurant-style booths, high-top tables and conventional dining tables offer spots for 1,000 students to eat at one time, and nine lunch lines will provide a variety of food options. Three “bridges” on the upper floors divide up the expansive space.

Expansive atrium
A central atrium of the new school draws in an abundance of light to a space that spans two football fields and can fit up to 1,000 students for lunch.

The space acts as the backbone of the school as most instructional spaces ring the atrium.

Classrooms for core subjects like English, math and science line the hallways of the second and third floors around the atrium. Some have windows looking outside, and others provide views looking down into the atrium.

In the classrooms, there are no rows of stale wooden desks. Instead, each room has brightly colored seating of three styles — regular chairs, barstool-height chairs and “comfy furniture,” such as sofas — to accommodate student preference, Hammen said.

Washington/Ozaukee Health Department Issue School Opening Guidance

SMH…. way to be on top of it… schools are opening NOW. It is August 28th. And NOW the health department decides to offer some guidance? School Boards should remember that they serve the voters in their districts and take this guidance for what it is… one more unelected official’s opinion.

WEST BEND — The Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department recently published guidance for a COVID-19 decision-making framework for schools. The department also added data for burden by zip code and schools.

The decision-making framework will provide guidance to school districts and school boards for understanding COVID-19 risk. It will also “help districts determine when to implement virtual, hybrid (blended learning), or inperson instruction for the 2020-21 academic year,” according to the framework.

Final determinations will be made by school boards and district administration.

The framework data is based on the burden of COVID-19 cases, which is the number of COVID-19

cases in a 14-day period computed as a rate per 100,000 people, allowing for comparison between communities.

Risk level is placed into one of five categories: low, moderate, moderately high, high and critical.

Less than 10 cases per day per 100,000 people would constitute an area as low burden. An area with at least 350 new cases per day would fall into the critical category.

The Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department recommends that areas with a low burden host inperson classes five days a week.

Areas in the moderate or moderately high category are recommended to use a hybrid or in-person model with physical distancing.

Defund government schools

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

The problem we have in America is not in the collective support for education. We have proven time and time again that we, as a people, will dig deep into our pockets to support education. The problem we have is that we have put our trust in too many government schools that routinely fail in their duty to provide the education for which we are paying.

For decades, we have seen educational outcomes remain static or decline as the taxpayers continue to shovel more and more cash into the flames. We are spending more than ever on government schools and our kids are getting a worse education than their parents or their grandparents. Now as COVID has laid bare the priorities of the people who lead our government school systems, we see why. Providing in-person classroom teaching is proven to be the most effective method for educating most kids, but when push comes to shove, educating kids is less of a priority than servicing the political clout of government employees. 

[…]

One cannot claim to support education and then continue to support government schools that are refusing to provide a quality education. We must put our money where our hearts and mouths are and spend our money on people and schools that are striving to educate kids despite the obstacles. We should lavishly fund true educators and cut off those who would continue to collect a paycheck while cowering in their virtual basement.

Wisconsin was an innovator in creating school choice for families to choose better schools for their kids even when their economic circumstances would not allow it. School choice was a conscious acknowledgment that wealthier families have always had the choice to send their kids to better schools and the taxpayers should enable the same choice for all families. The politicians have shackled Wisconsin’s three school choice programs with income restrictions, onerous deadlines, and enrollment caps. The decision by some government school districts to intentionally provide a substandard education provides ample justification to unshackle our school choice programs and allow every family to make the choices that wealthier families are already making.

If we truly believe in the power and importance of education, then we must stop supporting government institutions that have long since demonstrated that they are incapable, and in recent revelations, unwilling to provide the education that our kids deserve. We must redirect our hard-earned and painfully taxed dollars to people and institutions who value education for kids as much as their parents do.

Billions for education. Not one cent for tribute.

Missing School More Dangerous than Virus

Yup.

Children are more likely to be harmed by not returning to school next month than if they catch coronavirus, the UK’s chief medical adviser says.

Prof Chris Whitty said “the chances of children dying from Covid-19 are incredibly small” – but missing lessons “damages children in the long run”.

Millions of pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are due to return to school within weeks.