Jan 25, 2018
Tell me more. Wisconsin legislators are considering a bipartisan bill that would reward academically gifted students from low-income families with “educational savings accounts” of up to $1,000. To receive an account, a student would be chosen by their school or score in the top 5 percent on state exams, and be eligible for reduced-fee or free lunches. Students’ families could then spend the money on private tutoring, school materials, and other educational opportunities, say the bill’s proponents.
What’s the catch? The bill is hugely popular with conservative-leaning organizations, like the American Legislative Exchange Council (a major player in promoting school voucher programs nationwide), which support charter and private schools – and opposed by public education advocates and teacher unions, who see the accounts as another attempt by the current Wisconsin government to undermine public schooling. Wisconsin Association of School Boards president Dan Rossmiller says the accounts may be “well intended,” but he fears they will lead to a further “eroding [of] resources for public schools in favor of channeling them to private providers and private schools services.”
Is nothing ever easy? No.
The bottom line for tutors… Tutors will likely benefit if Wisconsin and potentially other states adopt educational savings accounts for gifted students. The consequences for public school funding are important and should not be overlooked. However, one upshot of the Wisconsin proposal is that legislators are actively thinking of new ways to connect vulnerable students to the resources, like tutoring, they need to thrive at school.