In a piece at Urban Milwaukee, Steve Walter posits 12 Key State Budget Decisions with brief descriptions from Governor Walker’s 2017-2019 biennial Wisconsin budget and asks if we are for or against. I will take a stab at each one…one at a time:

8.Required hours of instruction: Walker wants to repeal requirements that public-schools must offer specific hours of instruction annually – kindergarten, 437 hours; grades 1 through 6, 1,050 hours, and grades 7 through 12, 1,137 hours. Walker says the emphasis should be on the quality of instruction, not counting hours. Yes/No

This is similar to yesterday’s item. It is policy so it doesn’t belong in the state budget. Should it even be state law or should it be a rule that comes out of the Department of Instruction? I would lean towards the latter but with a Democratic leaning State Superintendent of Public Schools at the head of DPI there is no chance this will leave the control of the governor and legislature. So on the face of it I cast a NO vote since this isn’t a budgetary item.

But what if it came up for a vote separately as a policy item in its own bill? I still think I would oppose it. There can’t be quality without a certain level of quantity in education. You can’t improve the learning process to such an extent as to shorten the time needed to learn.

And we still have a really hard time defining quality education in this state. Graduation rates and certain skill levels at a couple of grades give us some insight into success but isn’t the whole sum of the experience. And we don’t hold all schools who get public money to even these rudimentary success factors.

What this proposal smells like is a chance to allow voucher schools to improve their financial positions by cutting their expenses through reduced salaries for the shorter hours for instruction. Another money grab by the governors contributors.

Previous posts:
Yes or No on Walker budget items #7
Yes or No on Walker budget items #6
Yes or No on Walker budget items #5
Yes or No on Walker budget items #4
Yes or No on Walker budget items #3
Yes or No on Walker budget items #2
Yes or No on Walker budget items #1

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