On Sept. 28, the Sun Prairie Star published an editorial (“Wisconsin schools need a passing grade in civics and history,” Our View) asserting the need to improve student performance in civics and U.S. History. The basis for this assertion was research conducted by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an associate member of the right-wing State Policy Network as well as a member of conservative legislative lobby group ALEC.
For the record, I am a staunch supporter of a rich and well-designed curriculum to instill a deep understanding of civics and the fullness of U.S. history.
However, Assembly Bill 563, coming hot on the heels of legislation that seeks to restrain how history is taught in classrooms, simply adds to the mix of wrong-headed policy from Wisconsin Republicans in Madison.
In fact, one suspects that almost no thought was put into this bill by the representatives who ostensibly wrote it since it is lifted, nearly word for word, from Florida Statute Title XLVIII, Chapters 1003.42 and 1003.44. Who knew that when Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Republican legislators pushed and passed their civics education bill in June of this year that they essentially did so for Wisconsin as well.
Bill 563 is another example of legislation that did not arise organically from constituents.
Bills composed so thoughtlessly will not do anything to improve educational outcomes for our children. Representatives Barbara Dittrich (R- Oconomowoc), William Penterman (R-Columbus) and Cindi Duchow (R-Delafield) need to spend more time listening to, and engaging with, their constituents and less with highly-paid lobbyists. Wisconsin Republicans need to do better.
Our children certainly deserve better.