The real winners tonight are Wisconsin’s 860,000 public school kids -- the 8 year old girl in Tomah who needs just a little bit more help with her school work, the 5 year old who will learn to read this year in Green Bay, or the 12 year old in LaCrosse who loves music but is worried his school may cut the program due to funding.
Tonight is a victory for the kids, parents, teachers and Wisconsin’s public education system — and I am proud of where we are today. We have high graduation rates, suspensions are down, attendance is up, and the number of kids earning college credit in high school is at an all-time high.
Despite these successes, we have serious challenges facing our schools. A larger share of our kids live in poverty, one in five students has a mental health need, and we have a growing teacher shortage that is furthered by divisive rhetoric. Rural schools are facing declining enrollment and are struggling to keep the lights on.
We have a broken funding system that does not fulfill the promise of lifting all kids up through education. Funding public schools is not a Republican or a Democratic issue, it is our society’s moral obligation to care for our children. Education gives kids a ladder of opportunity, and every child, not just some, deserve the resources Wisconsin should invest in them: kids with two parents and a white picket fence, kids with special needs, kids of color and kids who come to school hungry.
I believe in Wisconsin’s public schools, and I believe that I’m the only candidate who voters can trust to put kids first each and every single day.