Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Waukesha legislators, parents and students believe every kid deserves a great school

Hundreds of students, parents and educators are headed to Madison today to remind them of the importance of virtual schools. Among them are a number parents and students from Waukesha who support virtual schools like Waukesha's IQ Academy.

In an effort to try and save virtual education in Wisconsin, a delegation of parents, students and school district leaders from Waukesha plans to converge today with hundreds of other state residents on Madison to voice support for legislation that would overturn a recent court of appeals ruling in Ozaukee County.

If the legislation isn’t passed, supporters say it will force 3,000 students in the state to be kicked out of a learning environment they thrive in.

“We have a great deal of support, so I’m very hopeful it’ll be passed very soon,” said Rose Fernandez, president of the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families. “There was a similar bill in 2006 that had bipartisan support and was passed only to be vetoed by (Gov. Jim) Doyle.”
How long will Governor Doyle and the Democrats in the legislature stand in the virtual school house door?
Two bills were introduced to change state law and save online schools in Wisconsin, one by state Rep. Brett Davis, R-Oregon, and one by state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine. Fernandez and Waukesha Superintendent David Schmidt said they support the Assembly version because Lehman’s bill puts unnecessary mandates on the district and restricts local control.

The Assembly version has also received support from state Reps. Don Pridemore, R-Hartford, Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford, Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, Stephen Nass, R-Whitewater, Rich Zipperer, R-Pewaukee, and Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa.
Lehman's bill would actually gut virtual schools. Local Republicans are standing up for better schools. It would be nice if the teachers union and their Democratic allies actually believed "every kid deserves a great school."