Wisconsin is home to the oldest private school voucher program in the entire country. What began in Milwaukee now serves low income and special needs children throughout the state. WILL has always prioritized school choice and will continue to provide legal services and high-quality research on Wisconin’s private school choice programs.
For all of the conversation around education, student proficiency and academic outcomes can often take a back seat. Worse, the conversation can be shrouded in myths and bad data. WILL has authored the Apples to Apples report to provide true comparisons about academic achievement across school sectors. And WILL continues to make the case for policies that will place academic outcomes and student proficiency as a top priority.
Current school funding is a complex combination of state, local and federal aid. Funding in districts is largely based on antiquated revenue limits that have cemented in place funding gaps for 25 years. Students are worth more, or less, depending on where they happen to live, or whether they attend a choice or charter school. WILL’s priorities for K-12 finance include public school spending transparency, student-centered funding models, and closing the funding gaps between school sectors.
Curriculum transparency legislation would arm parents and taxpayers with the ability to access and review controversial curriculum material in public schools.
During the Obama administration, the federal Department of Education began an unprecedented intervention into America’s classrooms. Federal bureaucrats issued guidance to, and threatened investigation of, state and local school officials to force changes in schools suspension policies in order to combat racial discrimination. Since 2017, WILL has examined the impact of these policy changes on Wisconsin schools.
The COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the United States in early 2020 – quickly disrupting every element of American life. K-12 education seemingly changed overnight. School buildings closed and students and teachers were forced to arrange virtual learning on the fly. The federal government passed massive relief bills that pumped millions of federal dollars into K-12 schools. And teachers unions and parents fought over in-person learning and the careful balance between health and education. WILL boldly entered this new and uncertain policy environment and provided groundbreaking research, polling, and advocacy.
Our Policy Reports on K-12 Education
WILL is urging the adoption of curriculum transparency legislation to arm parents and taxpayers with the ability to access and review controversial curriculum material in public schools. WILL recently issued identical open records requests to nine large Wisconsin school districts and experienced, first-hand, the cost, time, and difficulty of accessing curriculum material.
This study estimates that spring 2020 school closures and incomplete curriculums could cost Wisconsin students more than $7 billion in lifetime earnings losses. The staggering cost serves as a stark warning about the effects of learning loss due to school building closures in the 2020-21 school year.
New study profiles open enrollment program, examines school district impactThe News: With the approach of National School Choice Week, January 24-29, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) provides a
Amidst statewide enrollment decline, schools that opted for virtual learning see largest declines The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) published a new study that reveals that school districts that started the 2020-21 school […]
Local presence of COVID-19 not predictive of district decisions The News: A new study from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) found that the presence of a teachers union and the politics of a particular region, not necessarily the […]
WILL Policy Brief revisits how state law was thwarted by local actors for the last five years The News: A new Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) policy brief reveals how a state law passed in 2015 intended to make vacant Milwaukee schools […]