Press Release: Education Excellence

For Immediate Release Contact: Chris Lato
Thursday, February 25, 2010 (608) 219-7231

Gubernatorial candidate proposes action to boost performance; calls on GOP to take similar stance

WAUKESHA, Wis. - Feb. 25, 2010 - With a goal of ensuring Wisconsin has the best-educated young people in the world, candidate for Governor Mark Neumann today unveiled a series of proposed education reforms and encouraged the Republican Party of Wisconsin to formally commit to education excellence.

Neumann sent a letter to RPW Chairman Reince Priebus urging him to focus on education in the party platform.

“Ultimately, the strength of Wisconsin’s education system is vitally important in spurring job growth and improving the economy,” Neumann said. “I ask my fellow Republicans to join me. As a state we must redouble our efforts to provide a world-class education to Wisconsin’s kids.”

Neumann’s commitment to education is grounded in personal experience. With an undergraduate degree in Math/Education and a Master’s Degree in Supervision and Instructional Leadership, Neumann has done post Master’s Degree work at UW Madison and taught four years in the public schools, as well as in the UW System and at a private college. He has also served on a private college’s board of regents, chairing thefinance committee for several years.

In addition, seven years ago Neumann and his wife Sue co-founded their first choice school in Milwaukee. Currently, four schools with nearly 1,000 students are being educated in the 501c3 not-for-profit organization, three of which are choice schools in Milwaukee.

Neumann said that as Governor, he would support the following:

  • Promoting successful public schools and using them as a model to help struggling and failing districts identify ways to modify practices and, ultimately, become successful.
  • Giving public school districts the ability to ensure that tax dollars are directly benefiting the classroom. That means removing rules, mandates and regulations that are costing districts more and more money, and empowering local action to control costs.
  • Enacting policies that help Wisconsin’s workforce access higher education opportunities, such as a tax credit for businesses that pay a portion of the tuition costs for its workers to attend a tech college or college for further education toward a degree or certificate.
  • Expanding choice and charter school options in areas where public schools are failing.
  • Keeping K-12 education funding as Wisconsin’s top budget priority and fixing the broken state budget process to ensure public schools and the UW System receive necessary funding.
  • Strengthening the state government partnership with public school boards, concentrating on enacting policies that ultimately demand excellence and accountability, while ensuring schools are safe and nurturing places for kids to learn.
  • Embracing innovation, including fine-tuning and expanding Wisconsin’s virtual school program.

“I am a strong supporter of the public schools and the University of Wisconsin System,” Neumann said. “As Governor my door will always be open to discuss ways that, together, we can improve education.”

Neumann also recognized that changes to the school finance system merit serious consideration.

“The complaint we hear is that more money is needed, but the reality is that too much money is being spent on other things and the kids are suffering as a result,” Neumann said. “We must take numerous factors into account, including teacher compensation, revenue limits, declining enrollment, high-cost busing and thegeneral school aid distribution formula.

“One cannot wave a magic wand and fix what ails Wisconsin schools,” Neumann added. “What we will do is commit ourselves to providing an education system that is a model for the nation and the world and stand up for that commitment every single day.”