As families get ready to wrap up the school year and prepare for another Wisconsin summer, a new report highlights troubling facts about the future of public education in the state under Scott Walker.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported last month that spending on public elementary and secondary schools declined by $5 billion nationally in 2012, the first time since 1977 expenditures have fallen.
According to the report, Wisconsin spent less per pupil in 2012 than at any point during the previous decade -- the largest drop in the country. Spending per pupil fell 6.2 percent from $11,774 to $11,042.
Wisconsin has always been recognized for its excellence in education, but Scott Walker's radical budget cuts show that he no longer values the kind of investments in public education that made Wisconsin a national leader in educating the workforce of the 21st century.
Scott Walker and his Republican Party undermined education and our economy by issuing the largest cut to public education in Wisconsin's history, slashing $800 million in K-12 education funding and claiming it was necessary to balance the budget. At the same time they increased taxpayer funding to unprecedented levels for unaccountable voucher schools, creating a secondary and unsustainable education system that serves only as an expensive entitlement program.
Investing in K-12 education is one of the best ways to cultivate our state's future and allow more families the chance to achieve the American Dream. That's why Mary Burke plans to 'Invest for Success' and put money into our schools. Burke believes Wisconsin schools can be among the best in the nation, but historic cuts aren't the way to get us there.
The fate of Wisconsin rests in the hands of girls and boys from Ashford to Platteville; ensuring future generations have the skills and basic competencies to participate in our society and workforce should have been a top priority for Walker during his first term. Instead, he and Republicans chose an opposite, destructive path.
"Public education is the sharpest tool we have in the shed when it comes to creating a strong middle class in Wisconsin. That tool is being blunted by Scott Walker and Republicans who rather carry water for big special interests who seek to destroy our education system," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Monday. "For so long, we invested in education and it made Wisconsin a model for the rest of the nation. It's time we put the money back into what works for the people of our state."