Across Wisconsin, kids have returned to classrooms as the new school year kicks off. Whether your kids are excited or nervous, I know parents throughout the state are eager to support their children as they return to school.
With the new school year comes new challenges, and with the challenges and uncertainty of the past few years, we know there are still some obstacles to overcome. I am proud that the Legislature is putting kids first throughout this session. I have advocated for the needs of our students, from targeted investments in our schools in areas where we know kids need the most help to support more parental involvement and choices in education.
However, the Governor shut down our state and kept our schools closed—in some communities for more than an entire school year—it caused lasting damage to our children. Many of our kids continue to be behind academically and suffer from the mental and emotional damage caused by social isolation and stress from the lockdowns.
That’s why Republicans targeted funding for mental health programs in our schools, with nearly $20 million in new state funding for mental health. We doubled mental health aids and increased mental health collaboration grants, which enable schools to work with community partners to provide mental health services to students. These programs and billions of dollars in the new state and federal funding for K-12 education are critical to helping our kids overcome the challenges of the past two years and thrive in the future.
These closures are also why Republicans doubled down on a position I’ve always supported—ensuring parents are involved in their child’s education and allowing them to choose the schools with the best learning opportunities for their kids. No child should be forced to attend a failing school. Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed legislation that would have affirmed parents’ rights to information and involvement in their child’s education and legislation that would have given more families educational choices. I firmly believe that all children should be given the best possible educational opportunity regardless of their zip code.