Assembly Bill 1 Attempts To Force School Accountability
By Johnathan Erickson
In past years, the high school has been having some trouble on their school report card issued by the Department of Public Instruction. Last year the school received a 67.1, which is a “C.” The two years before, the school has received a 62.9 (2011-12) and a 60.8 (2012-13) which, according to DPI, is meeting few expectations and failing.
To provide publicly-funded schools with the incentive to perform better, the state is looking at new legislation focused on school accountability. Assembly Bill 1 (AB1), presented in the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate Bill 1 (SB1), presented in the Wisconsin State Senate, both aim to establish clearer sanctions on schools not meeting state standards.
Under these bills, if a school is chronically failing for three consecutive years, the state has the authority to implement new curriculum, instructional design, professional development programs, personnel changes or adopt accountability measures to monitor the school district. Under AB1, if a school continues failing, following the state taking action, it will be converted into an independent charter school, which would receive public funding but operate outside of the state school system.
Superior School District Superintendent Janna Stevens said that she thinks that SBI, as currently written, is fair. She, however, doesn’t agree with the idea of converting a school into a charter school.
“In my opinion, taking over a public school that is struggling and putting it out for bid to an independent company with the hopes that it will miraculously turn into a fabulous school is lunacy,” Stevens said.
If a school is converted into a charter school, it is likely to face less standards and a cut in funding. Stevens thinks that a more effective solution would be to target specific problems and insert proper interventions.
Superior High School, having received low scores the past couple of years, has been working to improve its scores by focusing on math and reading.