POSTED: Thursday, September 15, 2011 --- 5:40
For months concerns have been raised about the quality of education in Wisconsin after cuts in funding.
We sat down with the State Superintendent Tony Evers one on one today and asked him a simple question, "Can you provide a quality education for kids with all that's transpired over the last few months.?"
He said it would be tough
Evers is quick to point out the positives. Noting that Wisconsin public schools are once again leading the nation in graduation rates and libraries are national leaders in patron use and system collaboration.
But 6 months after protesters, many of them teachers, swarmed to the capitol the first thing drawing applause at Evers' state of education address is a political shot
Evers cited a "toxic" political environment and said, "This is not the Wisconsin I know or the Wisconsin I love."
When we sat down with Evers after the speech his opinion became clear. The state of education is in some trouble.
He said, "I'm skeptical about the fact that we won't have any problems in our schools. I think there will be. Quality can't be enhanced when you take that much money our of the equation."
Evers makes no secret that he was not happy with the decisions lawmakers made earlier this year but he says for the kids sake the two sides must work together.
He says, "I could spend the next two years lobbing grenades up King Street and accomplish absolutely nothing, so we need to work together and that's my plan of action."
You could hardly blame a parent for being concerned.
Evers says, "It's difficult, no question."
But Evers adds that he's confident teachers and staff will rise to the occasion and meet the challenges of educating our kids despite saying they have less resources to do it.
Evers says, "It's going to be a balancing act but we need to monitor it because we can't allow 10 years from now to say what happened here."
Evers says the plan is to focus on four questions: What should kids learn? How do we know if they learned it? What do we do when they don't? How do we pay for it?