Walker Announces Education Funding Plan for Wisconsin

As part of his effort to improve the quality of education in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker announced that $475.6 million will be invested in the state's public school system and additional education opportunities for Wisconsin students. The proposals, which are a part of the upcoming budget plan, will focus education reform efforts in the coming year on accountability, student performance and teacher training.

In announcing the education portion of his budget proposal, Walker said that it was about making sure that no matter which part of the state students come from, they all get access to the best academic opportunities Wisconsin has to offer. That means that teachers, schools and districts with proven success records should be rewarded, recognized and given the chance to replicate their results in other parts of the state.

The Governor's budget will make this significant investment aimed at transforming education to equip our students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Initiatives will reward successes and provide incentives to drive achievement and accountability.

The press release accompanying the budget proposal points out that Wisconsin's education system has some ground to make up, as the latest National Assessment of Education Progress report shows that it ranks 38th in reading and math of the 41 states that have submitted a complete data set. The report covers the years between 1992 and 2011.

Among the programs that will get funding in the coming year are:

Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) Performance Funding: In addition, the budget will phase in performance funding for all of the state aid given to technical colleges. It will begin at 10 percent in 2014-15 and would eventually total all $88.5 million general aid through performance by 2020. This would be roughly one-tenth of WTCS school operational budgets. The funding formula would be developed by WTCS with DOA oversight. The formula would be required to have a focus on job placement and programs focused in high demand fields.

Educator Effectiveness System: Provides $13.5 million to implement the system for evaluating all teachers and principals statewide, cover Department of Public Instruction (DPI) implementation, and approximately $80 per teacher to districts to purchase and implement the system.

The plan will also provide funding for a previously announced programs Explore, Plan, ACT, WorkKeys, which will be used to measure high school students' readiness for college or the workforce in 11th grade.

The plan doesn't leave out higher education, as it outlines a number of funded initiatives that will benefit the public university system, including $20 million for the Incentive Grant Program which will aim to address employer needs when it comes to providing proper training to ensure a skilled workforce.

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