Following is a letter sent by Rep. Steve Naas of Whitewater in response to an MPS parent’s letter criticizing the Walker plan for public education. This is the mentality we are dealing with in the State Legislature.
Thank you for sharing your views regarding public education in Wisconsin. I support giving the families of this state the opportunity for a high quality education. I support the right of parents to make educational decisions for their children regardless if those choices involve a public or private school.
Our state is confronted by two major challenges. First, the state is struggling to deal with a $3.6 billion deficit in the 2011-2013 biennial budget (the most current deficit in a string lasting more than 10 years). Second, our educational systems (K-12 through higher education) are struggling with serious problems caused by inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the bloated bureaucracies that manage these institutions.
The problem isn’t just about money. We have been living off the past laurels of our educational system and blinded to the increasing lack of performance by our children and educators. In recent years, parents have become more vocal about the quality of the education being offered to their children at all levels. The common refrain has been poor curriculum, lack of accountability, unresponsiveness administrators and educators, and vastly too much power in the hands of educational unions.
Many parents aren’t waiting for the necessary reforms. They are taking action to address these issues for their own children by opting for open enrollment to another public school, enhanced use of private tutors, switching from public to private schools, enrollment in high achieving charter schools, enrollment in virtual schools and some parents home schooling.
At every turn, the professional education bureaucracy stands to defend the status-quo and maintain their power at the expense of the education being offered to our children. Frankly, the public educational system has become a social welfare agency and a jobs program for public sector unions. These two agendas have overtaken the real purpose of our public schools.
I will continue to fight for reforms that replace indoctrination with education and prioritize funding for real classroom learning activities, instead of public sector union benefits. The taxpayers and parents of Wisconsin are willing to finance an educational system that reflects their values and enables real educational outcomes.
31st Wisconsin Assembly District