By Benjamin Yount
(The Center Square) – Supporters of the latest plan to spend nearly $2 billion in federal stimulus money on schools in Wisconsin say kids in the state can’t wait any longer.
The Institute for Government Reform on Thursday announced a broad coalition of groups, including the state’s largest business group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, that supports spending the state’s stimulus money directly on kids who need to catch-up from a year of lost learning.
“Our children’s education is at stake,” IGR President CJ Szafir said. “Wisconsin families know what’s best for their children, and policymakers should work to give them the ability to choose courses that best suit their children’s needs.”
Szafir says the size of the coalition shows how much support there is for helping kids. The Wisconsin Federation for Children, School Choice, Wisconsin Action, ExcelinEd in Action, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, the Badger Institute, FreedomWorks, and Building Education for Students Together are all part of the coalition.
The centerpiece of the Institute’s plan is to send money to parents, and allow them to pick a summer school or afterschool program that best fits their kids’ needs. Public schools, charter schools, and even universities could qualify as summer schools or afterschool programs, and schools would be required to actually teach in order to get their money.
“As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis explained, the failure of so many school districts to open this school year ‘will go down as one of the biggest policy blunders of our time,’” Szafir warned. “All of Wisconsin’s previous education problems – achievement gaps, struggling rural and urban schools – will be exacerbated from last year’s learning loss.”
Szafir said the key to the coalition’s strategy is to let parents decide how to spend Wisconsin’s billions in federal aid, and not Gov. Evers and the bureaucrats at the Department of Public Instruction.
“Parents notice the stress on students and the regression in learning. With so many students taking classes at home, parents have been forced to spend more time helping their children with classwork,” Szafir told The Center Square. “Parents know the status quo is no longer acceptable.”
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.