WEAC Win = Wisconsin’s Loss in Ed Funds Fight

Wisconsin Educational Policy Analyst Asserts State’s Failure in Race to the Top Predictable, Avoidable

[Madison Wisc..] Wisconsin’s failure in the Educational Race to the Top is tied to policy makers’ reluctance to buck the will of the powerful Wisconsin teachers’ union.

Christian D’Andrea, an educational policy analyst with the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy in Madison, says the state doomed its application when it failed create a strong tie between teacher compensation and student performance, a position long-opposed by the Wisconsin Education Association Council.

“Many of the proposed changes lagged behind the Race to the Top standards,” said D’Andrea. “Wisconsin’s reluctance in adopting more strenuous and nationally-recognized student testing likely dropped the state in the rankings, that and their reluctance to adopt a centralized longitudinal data system to track both students and teachers meant Wisconsin’s failed to measure up to competitors.”

D’Andrea said the staggering achievement gap between student groups was also likely a key player in this year’s failure, as the lack of educational progress between students was no doubt a troubling figure for the application’s reviewers.

“The bottom line is other states are pursuing a vigorous reform agenda that includes tying teacher compensation and discipline to student performance and Wisconsin policy makers would not be that bold,” said D’Andrea. “WEAC successfully fought off attempts at more sweeping reforms aimed at increasing teacher accountability, and Wisconsin lost out on these one-time funds.”