As the candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction endorsed by the state teachers’ union, Jill Underly likely will be one of two top vote-getters in the February 16 primary election.

While Underly’s opposition to school choice programs is a given, her ignorance of how they operate and the results they achieve is stunning.  

In a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story on Wednesday, Underly echoed erroneous information on her campaign website, which includes the following:

Private choice schools “should take the Forward Exam… and they should have the same accountability report cards.”

In a similar vein, the Journal Sentinel reported:

Underly said…private schools accepting public vouchers should…[use the state] Forward Exam standardized test..and [be] more transparent with school performance metrics.

In fact, private voucher schools have been required for years to administer the Forward Exam and other standardized tests used by public schools.  The results are completely disclosed through DPI report cards.  

The following is from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau:

Private choice schools [in the choice program must administer the examinations adopted or approved by the State Superintendent to all pupils…

Choice schools are also required to administer the 3rd grade standardized reading test developed by DPI to all choice pupils in that grade.

Choice schools…must also administer all tests in reading, mathematics, and science that are required for public school pupils under federal law…

Underly’s ignorance of widely known, longstanding testing requirements means she is unaware of the favorable results, summarized here.

The Journal Sentinel story failed to call out Underly’s erroneous claim, an unsurprising omission in light of the newspaper’s blackout on reporting voucher school results.

George Mitchell was a prominent leader in the movement for school choice in Wisconsin.