Summary of SAA Legislative Agenda

Full report available from SAA website


  1. Early Childhood
    1. Wisconsin should commit to the goal of providing universal access to four-year-old kindergarten.
    2. Expand rewards for quality care measures, including reversing the large cut some money for the Wisconsin Shares program, promoting childcare centers' accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and exploring the development model of early childhood provider assessment and support.
    3. Promotes coordination of state agencies, such as Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, as well as coordination between public schools and childcare providers, to link them with early childhood programs.
    4. Provides that these state agencies should publish an annual report detailing Wisconsin’s goal of providing the opportunity for every Wisconsin child to participate in a high-quality preschool program and share exemplary models of coordination at the local level.

  2. Children’s Mental Health
    1. Create a school-linked mental health grant program, modeled after a successful initiative launched in Minnesota. The initiative would offer five-year grants for funding start-up costs for providing services to children who are uninsured. Grants would also be used for coordination between school, county and mental health providers.


  1. Educator Preparation
    1. Create a statewide initiative to identify and recruit talented candidates into teacher and administrator preparation programs, with an emphasis on diversity.
    2. Conduct a review of teacher and educational leader preparation programs and make recommendations on how best to prepare and support educators (i.e., through formal residencies as done in Finland and other high-achieving countries).
    3. Ensure that training programs prepare educators for the Common Core State Standards and the Educator Effectiveness process.

  2. Educator Effectiveness
    1. Continue funding the Educator Effectiveness implementation, particularly for an external evaluation to assess validity and reliability and school district capacity to maintain these systems over time and for ongoing training and support.
    2. The WDPI should:
      1. Continue to engage school districts to explore alternative approaches to teacher evaluation that address capacity issues while maintaining overall system quality and fidelity.
      2. Continue to monitor emerging research and policy implications from other states around teacher and school leader evaluation, including “early adopter” states, such as those receiving federal Race to the Top funding.
      3. Implement the TEACH 2.0 recommendations to address school district needs related to broadband, digital learning content, and high-quality professional development to realize the potential of technology in improving student learning.


Three areas of focus: 

  1. personalized teaching and learning,
  2. potential modifications to the traditional calendar
  3. rigorous research on charter schools to identify and disseminate innovative practices shown to improve student learning.
  1. Personalized learning
    1. Allow students to achieve success while moving along a learning continuum with the end goal of becoming independent, life-long learners.

  2. School Calendar
    1. The WDPI should be promoting instructionally focused innovations that address summer learning loss, extended learning opportunities to close achievement gaps and more effective opportunities for staff development.

  3. Charter Schools:
    The innovative strategy should provide for five-year grants for school districts to pilot promising innovations related to:
    1. Developing and modeling personalized learning that includes data-rich learner profiles, customized learning paths, and proficiency-based progress (rather than “seat time”).
    2. Developing and modeling evidenced-based school calendars (e.g. calendars that address summer drop, extended-learning opportunities, and teacher professional development).


  1. Increase the annual per pupil adjustment under revenue caps by the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index. (CPI).

  2. Adopt State Superintendent Tony Ever’s Fair Funding for Our Future Plan

  3. Act to provide meaningful support for educating students in poverty, students with exceptional educational needs, English Language Learners and for transportation for students attending geographically large, sparsely populated rural school districts.

  4. Maintain a “rainy day fund” to buffer state finances during economic recessions.


  1. Request the legislature create an Office of Mental Health, School Safety and Violence Prevention within WDPI.


  1. Establish a State Academic Standards and Assessment Review Council that would be charged with reviewing the adoption and adaptation of the state’s academic standards and assessments, as well as provide input on effective state interventions aimed at improving low-performing schools.