February 7, 2008
Taylor Circulates Bill to Ensure Quality Teachers
MADISON – On Wednesday, State Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) began circulating LRB 3718/1, the Quality Teacher for Every Student Act. The bill requires teachers in schools under the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) to maintain the same certifications as teachers in charter schools operated by school districts around the state.
“Kids enrolled in MPCP have the same right to a quality education as other students around the state,” said Taylor. “This bill makes sure that the men and women charged with educating our young people are qualified to do so. It’s all about making sure that our children get an education that will serve them well in the future.”
Unlike teachers in charter schools around the state, teachers in MPCP schools are not required to have a college degree or licensure. In fact, many MPCP teachers lack degrees. Milwaukee parents have raised concerns that the lack of a college education inhibits teachers’ abilities as effective educators.
“Parents deserve the comfort of knowing that their kids are being taught by qualified individuals,” explained Taylor. “By placing the same requirements on MPCP schools that we place on charter schools around the state, we ensure that students in MPCP are getting the education they deserve.”
MPCP allows students who reside in Milwaukee to attend private schools at state expense under certain conditions. Schools in the MPCP program are the only schools receiving state tax dollars where adherence to the Department of Public Instruction’s licensing guidelines is not legally mandated.
“Taxpayers are footing an increasingly substantial part of the bill for these schools,” said Taylor. “We in the Legislature have a duty to see that their dollars don’t go to waste on meaningless educations. This bill makes sure that all students, regardless of where they attend school, will get an effective, functional education.”
As written, the Quality Teacher for Every Student Act will take effect beginning in the 2009-2010 academic year. Representative Sondy Pope-Roberts (D-Middleton) is currently drafting the Assembly companion legislation for the Act.