The Trump-endorsed, MAGA Republican candidate for Governor of Wisconsin Tim Michels was recently caught on tape admitting, “I am not an expert on education.” The revelation from Michels, while not a surprise, calls into further question the merits of his education proposal that would defund public education in Wisconsin.
Education is a top concern of voters ahead of this fall’s election, the most recent Marquette University Law School Poll found that 88% of respondents were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about public schools in the state.
Incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers has proposed using $2 billion from the state’s projected $5 billion budget surplus to improve public education in the state. The state’s K-12 schools are back in the top 10 nationally during Evers’ term, an improvement from 18th in the country when he took office. Evers’ served as the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction before becoming Governor.
Michels has proposed dramatically expanding the state’s voucher school program, which subsidizes unaccountable private schools, through a ‘universal school choice’ program. Critics of the voucher program have long noted that diverting state tax dollars to private schools means fewer dollars are available for the state’s public schools.
Amid growing concern over learning loss during the pandemic and a teacher shortage impacting every region of the state, MIchels’ admission that he’s not an expert on education is a curious choice given the impact his education proposal would have on state schools.