Tommy Thompson on Education
Former Secretary of H.H.S.; former Republican Governor (WI)
Mark Neumann: Yes
Tommy Thompson: Yes
Eliminating illiteracy will require the dedicated effort of us all -- from parents to teachers to employers and churches. There’s no greater legacy we can leave our next generation.
Students should be advanced to the next grade level based on academic performance that meets local expectations, not based on their age or social skills. Under the governor’s plan, local districts would be required to adopt policies prohibiting social promotion and establish standards by which this is accomplished using the fourth- and eight-grade tests. The locally developed academic standards will allow schools to gauge student performance against a set benchmark. Students who do not meet local criteria will not be advanced to the next grade.
This philosophy spawned some of the nation’s most innovative education reforms. Charter schools. Public school choice. Private school choice for Milwaukee. Charter schools operated by the city of Milwaukee, UW-Milwaukee, and MPS. Nowhere in America does a parent have more choices than in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And it’s making all the difference. Parents are now more involved in their children’s lives. The public schools are rising to the challenge of competition. There is no doubt in my mind that Milwaukee will become the national model for renewing urban education in America within a few years.
In 1990, Thompson created the nation’s first private school choice program. This initial program allowed low-income parents in Milwaukee to send their children to a private non-sectarian school if they chose. This program was an important first step to providing low-income families the same educational opportunities available to families with greater resources.
In 1995, Thompson expanded the private school choice program to include religious schools-another national first. The expansion gave parents a true choice in schools, including more schools in walking distance of their homes. Thompson believes it makes no sense to bus poor Milwaukee children to a failing school across town when a very good school exists down the street.
To be eligible for the program, a student must come from a family whose income is at 175% of the poverty level or below - about $29,225 for a family of four.
After the religious school choice law passed just weeks before the start of school in 1995, about 3,000 low-income parents moved quickly to sign their children up for the religious school choice program. “Religious values are not our problem,” Gov. Thompson said. “Drop-out rates and low test scores are.”
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Retiring as of Jan. 2013:
Senate elections Nov. 2012:
CA:Feinstein(D) vs.Emken(R) vs.Lightfoot(L) vs.
CT:McMahon(R) vs.Murphy(D) vs.
DE:Carper(D) vs.Wade(R) vs.Pires(I)
FL:Nelson(D) vs.Mack(R) vs.
HI:Hirono(D) vs.Case(D) vs.Lingle(R) vs.Pirkowski(R)
MD:Cardin(D) vs.Bongino(R) vs.Sobhani(I)
ME:King(I) vs.Dill(D) vs.Summers(R)
MI:Stabenow(D) vs.Hoekstra(R) vs.Boman(L)
NJ:Menendez(D) vs.Kyrillos(R) vs.Diakos(I)
NY:Gillibrand(D) vs.Long(R) vs.Noren(I) vs.Clark(G)
TX:Cruz(R) vs.Sadler(D) vs.Roland(L) vs.
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