Column: Celebrating School Choice Week in Wisconsin

January 21-27, 2024 is National School Choice Week and I am a proud to celebrate giving more opportunities in education here in Wisconsin!

I strongly believe that parents know what is best for their children, especially when it comes to their education. We all learn in different ways and the freedom for children and parents to decide what the best method of education is important. This also includes our K-12 schools.

Public education has been the dominant place for parents to send their children for decades. But Wisconsin has many other options for parents to choose from: public charter schools, private, online or even homeschooling. We should be focused on how to best set our children and future generations up for success, not just one education system over another.

This legislative session, I was proud to support an additional $1 billion in the state budget for public K-12 schools which included a per-pupil increase of $325 each year. I also supported an increase in funding for special education aid and for K-12 reading initiatives. Because of these investments into public K-12 education, choice and charter schools also received a significant investment in state funding. This was the largest expansion of school choice programs in Wisconsin history.

I fought, and will continue to fight, to fund high-quality education for all students in Wisconsin. I believe a high-quality education is a strong foundation for a successful life. However, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, over 67% of Wisconsin fourth graders can’t read at a proficient level. This statistic should be alarming for everyone.

Instead of parents being told by the government where they should send their children, I believe the best choice is giving an equal opportunity for every child in Wisconsin to attend an educational environment that best suits them. I also believe we should work at trying to solve the problem of low proficiency outcomes in our state. That is why I supported AB 321, now Act 22, which establishes an Office of Literacy within the Department of Public Instruction and creates new science-based literacy curricula for grades kindergarten through third.

I believe in Wisconsin’s future generation and giving them the best education in our nation. This week, join me in supporting School Choice Week and giving every student in Wisconsin the best educational opportunities our nation has to offer!