Dr. Holtz on: Letting Parents and Communities Decide

Advance and Embrace Local Control

DPI has failed our communities by serving the federal government and agreeing to take away local control by pushing the Common Core agenda to our Wisconsin schools.  The current State Superintendent of Public Instruction not only allowed the imposition of Common Core, he has fought tooth and nail for the implementation in all public schools in Wisconsin.

I have seen and experienced firsthand the power that local control has in finding the best opportunities for children.  Over twenty years ago, working with the teachers in the elementary school I led, I fought DPI’s opposition to local control and implemented a new system to meet the needs of all of the students in that school. Our collaboration and ability to decide what was best for our students led to an increase in test scores and decreased the achievement gap. At every school and district I have served, I have supported parents who prefer their children opt out of their children participating in standardized testing.

Common Core lowers the bar and is not good for our children who are expected to compete, not just on the state level, but on the national and international levels as well. I will do everything in my power to eliminate Common Core, along with the federally imposed/DPI supported student identification system.  Did you know that right now, under the current incumbent’s leadership, DPI is collecting information about children participating in public and voucher schools? They are collecting for the federal government a list of

  • Every public and voucher school your child attended
  • Every class your child has taken
  • Each grade that your child earned
  • Discipline files of your child
  • Health records of your child
  • All extra-curricular clubs and activities in which your child has participated
  • Any special needs which have been identified in your child
  • Standardized test achievement scores your child earned

Who has access to these records? Not teachers. Not administrators. Not even parents! We are told that it is being securely stored in a database somewhere. Haven’t we heard that securely stored in a database from our government before?

DPI has failed to serve our business community by failing to collaborate with business leaders to create the workforce of the future. We need to take back local control for the future of our children. We need to have the freedom to partner with local businesses to develop educational programs that meet their workforce needs. Tony Evers has blocked that effort, even though superintendents pleaded with him not to do so. I have experienced and have implemented those strong education/business partnerships.  It is good for business and industry. It is good for our students. It is good for our community.

DPI has failed our families by fighting school choice; often times the only opportunity children have for success. Quite frankly, I am a proponent of collaboration and friendly competition.  I believe parents should have a choice in deciding what is in the best interest of their child.  I have no problems with the concept of a voucher in every backpack.  Public Schools, parochial schools, private schools, choice schools, and charter schools can all thrive in a competitive, yet supportive environment.  The only schools that need to fear that concept are the schools that are currently failing our children.

No one administrator can fight DPI or change DPI on his or her own. Please help me lead the fight against more top down mandates from DPI and the Federal Government. Let’s stop wasting money and restore a climate and culture of collaboration, transparency, and respect focused on success for EVERY student.  Let’s give educational choice and control back to our local communities and parents… WHERE IT BELONGS!