What a privilege to be part of such a successful Wisconsin Advocacy Day! In contrast to Maine, Wisconsin passed a charter school law 20 years ago, but it is weak, and does not allow autonomy for true chartering. Wisconsin charter supporters are on a mission to strengthen that law and they have a good chance to do just that this year!
I was delighted that my visit to Wisconsin was sponsored by Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) of Wisconsin led by State Director Jarett Fields (right), as I’m a DFER too. As in Maine, few Democratic policymakers in Wisconsin are supportive of chartering, despite the fact that the leading pioneers were all Democrats, from Minnesota legislators to Governor Bill Clinton. That’s why I was pleased that DFER—Wisconsin provided my book, Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story to every conference attendee. Charter supporters can share the origins with lawmakers and dispel the myths around chartering.
The Wisconsin Charter Schools Association is led by Executive Director Carrie Bonk, an impressive leader who is revitalizing the work of the Association. She stands with me and Association board chair Keith Glasshof, who himself was a founding member of a charter school in Eau Claire. Keith received the first “Political Action Award” from the Association—a most deserving recipient!
My keynote speech was recorded by Wisconsin Eye, the “CSPAN” of Wisconsin. To listen to the “CSPAN” interview, click here. I’m pleased my message can continue to support their advocacy efforts. Look for breakthrough legislation by mid-summer to improve the ranking of Wisconsin’s charter school law now at 37th of 43 to a new ranking that will support robust chartering in the Badger state!