School Report Card, Academic/Career Plan Mandates Restored in Senate GOP Budget Plan

Two mandates that were initially proposed by Gov. Walker and subsequently removed by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) as non-fiscal policy have been restored in the budget plan released by the state Senate GOP.

These provisions require school districts to compile and include on school report cards various career-ready indicators and include “success sequence” information in academic and career planning services.

The first mandate requires school districts to collect and report the following on each district and high school report card:

  • the number and % of students participating in the early college credit program;
  • the number and % of students participating in youth apprenticeship;
  • the number of community service hours provided by pupils;
  • the number of AP courses offered and credits earned by students; and
  • the number of students earning industry-recognized credentials through a tech ed program established by the school board.

The WASB supported the JFC decision to remove as non-fiscal policy and take up as separate legislation.  While we support the use of a framework of multiple valid and reliable readiness indicators to more accurately assess students’ college- and career-readiness to succeed in life, certain of these items are things that school districts are not currently required to track thus creating an unfunded mandate.

We believe any benefit obtained by solely reporting this information (it does not factor into scores) could be outweighed by the cost to districts and staff resources to collect/compile the information.  We think more discussion should take place regarding whether these are the most accurate and appropriate measures that should be used.  That discussion is most likely to occur in the context of separate, stand-alone legislation that can have its own hearing and debate.

The second requires DPI and the Department of Children & Families (DCF) to develop instruction and materials on the “success sequence” which is defined as the idea that economic success is more likely if an individual follows three norms:

  1. graduating from high school;
  2. maintaining a full-time job or having a partner who does;
  3. having children while married and after age 21, if the decision is made to become parents.

Every school board would then be required to include this information in their academic and career services beginning in the 2019-20 school year.  Under current law, every school board is required to provide academic and career planning services to all students enrolled in grades 6 through 12, beginning in the 2017-18 school year.