Thiesfeldt: School Accountability Deal Appears Unlikely

Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), the chairman of the Assembly Education Committee says it appears unlikely that a deal can be reached with the state Senate to pass a school accountability bill this session.

His comments came Wednesday in response to Sen. Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) scheduling a vote on a new version of his proposal (Senate Substitute Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1) that doesn’t include sanctions for failing schools. That is something Thiesfeldt and other Assembly Republicans have maintained they want included in the bill.

Thiesfeldt says he doesn’t see Republicans in the Senate ever compromising with Assembly Republicans to reach a deal and that the Legislature may decide to wait and see what direction comes from Congress.

Gov. Scott Walker has also opposed sanctions on schools, saying he wants to instead give parents as much information as possible.  It is important to note that the governor’s accountability provisions are currently still included in the state budget and it would take an affirmative vote in the Joint Finance Committee to remove it.  These include replacing the current performance categories with letter grades and allowing private schools using taxpayer-subsidized vouchers to choose alternate assessments.