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Wisconsin Gov. Walker Proposes Upheaval of Public Education

Walker's new budget proposal would allow a school board to transform all of its public schools into charter schools.

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Part of Wisconsin's right-wing Governor Scott Walker's budget proposal for 2013-15 features a frontal assualt on public education, Erin Richards reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

A March 2011 gathering decrying Gov. Walker's plans, including cuts to public education. (Photo: marctasman/flickr) While some of his proposals, like a tax cut he touts as as middle-class relief that benefits the rich, have received attention, some of the most controversial education proposals have gone under the radar. 

One of these, Richards reports, would allow a school board to transform all of its public schools into charter schools.

Other controversial proposals in Walker's budget, as Richards reports:

• Establishing a Charter School Oversight Board, attached to the Department of Public Instruction, that would approve more nonprofit entities around the state to authorize more independent charter schools.

 • Creating a special license that would allow professionals with subject-matter knowledge but no formal teaching background to teach in charter schools.

 • Granting district-authorized charter schools sole discretion over the school's budget, curriculum, staff training and hiring.

 • Increasing the annual per-pupil amount for independent charter schools to $7,852 in the first year of the budget and $7,931 in the second year of the budget, up from a current $7,775 per-pupil annually.

Walker's school privatization plans are also seen in his expansion of school vouchers, which would provide state funds to send students to private schools.