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Senate Republican Olsen speaks out against report cards for public schools


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The head of the Wisconsin Senate’s education committee says the new report cards that were given to public schools last summer don’t tell the whole story.

At a committee hearing Thursday on the proposed state budget, Republican Luther Olsen said the state’s evaluations do not reflect what he called the “toxic stress” youngsters face in schools with the worst grades.

He said many of those schools have high rates of students in poverty, homelessness, and a lack of ability to speak English.

State Superintendent Tony Evers told Olsen and others on the Joint Finance Committee that it would take 7 to 8 years for the report cards to reflect the challenges the students face.

But GOP finance chair Alberta Darling said the state and its kids cannot wait that long.

Walker’s budget would put the new school grading system to use right away, by giving parents the choice of sending their kids to private schools with tax-funded vouchers in places with the lowest public school grades.

The governor also wants to use those grades to reward the highest-performers with additional state aid.