Effective Educational Program Ends Due to Governor Veto
“Governor Evers chose to play politics with school children.” 

October 2, 2019

An effective educational program officially came to an end because of a gubernatorial veto in the 2019-2021 state budget. September 30th was the deadline for Wisconsin schools to submit claims to the Department of Public Instruction for the Personal Electronic Computing Device Awards. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, every public school that was eligible for the program applied for the matching grant.

“Despite widespread need and interest in the technology grants, Governor Tony Evers eliminated funding for the program, saying that districts should invest in technology through other means,” said Speaker Vos.

Assembly Republicans have taken a comprehensive approach to tackling the digital divide across the state by expanding internet access and implementing the one-to-one computer initiative. The goal was to ensure every high school freshman in the state had access to their own device. The matching grants in the previous state budget also allowed for the purchase of curriculum software and staff training. It was intended to be a five-year pilot program with an evaluation upon conclusion.  

“Access to technology should not be a barrier to a student’s success,” said Speaker Vos. “It’s clear that this program should be reviewed and revisited in the near future.”

The Pew Research Center reported more than a third of teens often or sometimes complete assignments on their cellphone. According to a recent newspaper account here in Wisconsin, a southern school district reported its implementation of the one-to-one computing initiative solved “more equality gaps than anticipated”.

The digital divide is increasingly common in rural areas with unreliable internet and fewer devices. A recent study found that a higher percentage of rural students only had access to one device at home compared to students in non-rural areas.

“One-to-one initiatives should be a state priority as school districts work to close achievement gaps,” said Speaker Vos. “Governor Evers, the former superintendent of education, should know the facts, but instead he chose to play politics with school children.”