Joint Finance Committee approves several education proposals - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Joint Finance Committee approves several education proposals

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 MADISON (WKOW) -- The state Legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted on several education-related proposals early Wednesday morning.

The Joint Finance Committee approved a plan to increase public school funding and voted to get rid of the enrollment cap in the private voucher program.

The state's budget-writing committee voted with all Republicans in support and Democrats against after five hours of debate, according to the Associated Press.

The proposal will be added to the two-year state budget that is expected to be finished next week.

Governor Scott Walker proposed getting rid of the 1,000-student enrollment cap for the program.  Walker's plan would lower the amount of the taxpayer-funded voucher that students received for their private-school education.  The Joint Finance Committee voted on a different funding approach that would keep the vouchers at the same level.  It is expected to cost public schools about $48 million over two years.

The plan would allow students with disabilities into the voucher program.  This will be the first time.  It would also rate schools on a five-star system and require high school students to pass a civics test.

Democrats were against the voucher expansion, saying it would take money away from public schools that lose students.

Wisconsin schools would also be able to hire people who don't have a bachelor's degree to teach subjects like math, science, technology, and engineering.  That proposal to create a new alternative track for people with real-life experience to get licensed to teach early Wednesday morning.

Governor Scott Walker's proposal prohibit the state superintendent from forcing local school districts to adopt Common Core academic standards has also been approved by the Legislature's budget committee.

Another proposal that they approved was to rate Wisconsin schools on a five-star system.  The proposal would also call for the state to seek a waiver from the federal government to allow for schools to choose between three and five standardized tests to measure student performance.

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