Jill Underly Flunks School Choice 101
Candidate for state school superintendent is clueless about state requirements.
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:
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.”
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.