State Policy Report Card

Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst gave out state grades and Wisconsin got a D+.

Wisconsin has begun to improve its education policies, but it still has much work to do. The state has adopted meaningful educator evaluations, but it must take the next step and link student performance, educator performance, and district personnel and salary decisions. Wisconsin must also prohibit seniority from driving layoff decisions. Wisconsin parents have options available, including an opportunity scholarship program for low-income students, but public charter schools are significantly restricted and accountability is weak. The state should also empower parents with meaningful school performance information so they can make better choices. Wisconsin would also benefit by expanding state and mayoral authority to intervene in low-performing schools and districts. Finally, the state should no longer lock teachers into the existing outdated pension system and should instead offer a more attractive, portable retirement option.