The Contrarian

Jill Underly Flunks School Choice 101

Candidate for state school superintendent is clueless about state requirements.

By - Feb 22nd, 2021 12:36 pm
Jill Underly. Photo courtesy of Underly for Wisconsin.

Jill Underly. Photo courtesy of Underly for Wisconsin.

As the candidate for state school superintendent endorsed by the state teachers’ union, Jill Underly’s opposition to school choice programs is a given.

Underly’s unfamiliarity with those programs is rather stunning. Her campaign website includes the following:

Private choice schools “should take the Forward Exam…and they should have the same accountability report cards.”

In that vein, a Journal Sentinel story before the recent primary election reported:

“Underly said…private schools accepting public vouchers should…[use the state] Forward Exam standardized test..and [be] more transparent with school performance metrics.”

As it happens, however, private voucher schools have been required for years to administer the Forward Exam and other standardized tests used by public schools. The following is from a report by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau:

“Private choice schools…must administer the examinations adopted or approved by the State Superintendent to all pupils…who are attending the school through the choice program.

“Choice schools are also required to administer the 3rd grade standardized reading test…to all choice pupils in that grade.

“Choice schools…must also administer all tests in reading, mathematics, and science that are required for public school pupils under federal law to all choice pupils in the relevant grades.

“The Wisconsin Forward exam is used to assess Wisconsin pupils, including choice pupils, in 3rd through 8th grades in English language arts, math, and science. Pupils in grades 9 through 11 participate in assessments developed by ACT, which test skills including reading and math.”

Underly’s unfamiliarity with these widely known testing requirements means she also is unaware of the favorable results for choice schools summarized here by School Choice Wisconsin.

The Journal Sentinel gave Underly a pass by failing to call out her erroneous claim. This is unsurprising in light of the paper’s blackout on reporting voucher school results.

4 thoughts on “The Contrarian: Jill Underly Flunks School Choice 101”

  1. GodzillakingMKE says:

    For profit and religious schools should not be allowed in the choice program.

  2. paulsother says:

    Dear Urban Milwaukee, George Mitchell should have to reveal that he and his wife have been among the top donors to Underly’s opponent. This should be noted in the article or highlighted at bottom.

  3. Mingus says:

    If parents and their church congregations choose not to support their religious schools, why is it the responsibility of tax payers to fund these schools? The Archdiocese of Milwaukee does not have money to support their schools because they have paid out millions of dollars to settle claims for priests who sexually assaulted children. The problem is solved with a government funded bailout through the School Choice program.

  4. SFGiants58 says:

    Paulsother is correct. My wife and I support Deb Kerr.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us