The Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center has released the April 2012 edition of our e-newsletter, Your ACCESS to the Region. As always, the newsletter updates recent progress on state work in Illinois and Wisconsin. This newsletter focuses on the importance of early learning and the need to support states in making early childhood education a priority. In the future, the regional comprehensive centers likely will be providing more support in helping states plan their early learning initiatives. The feature article discusses the importance of collaboration between the education systems (early childhood and K–12) to help children transition smoothly between the two systems and learn what they need to know to succeed.

Recently, a new education reform Bill was introduced by the Wisconsin education legislative chairs, Representative Kestell and Senator Olsen and is based on the work of the Read to Lead, Educator Effectiveness, and Accountability Task force work which took place during 2011.

The major elements of the bill include:

  • Establishing a Read to Lead Development Council
  • Identifying struggling reading and ensuring teachers are prepared to serve those students
  • Creating a fair evaluation system for teachers and principals
  • Aligning legislation with elements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Waiver

Governor Walker and Superintendent Evers released announcements on the progress made with the proposed legislation.

Over the last year Great Lakes West supported DPI in all three task forces by facilitating the task force meetings and bringing experts to the table. Great Lakes West congratulates Wisconsin on creating a collaborative process which led to high quality recommendations, and will continue to work with Wisconsin DPI as it transforms education in the state.