Wisconsin Gov. James E. Doyle unveiled an ambitious education agenda in his State of the State address Jan. 30, focusing on higher education and calling on lawmakers to “make Wisconsin a place where anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and work hard … can afford to get an education.”
But lawmakers from both chambers who assembled to hear his speech will have to wait until the Democrat releases his budget later this month to learn how he plans to pay for it.
Central to his education plan, Gov. Doyle said, will be the Wisconsin Covenant, which he unveiled in last year’s address and which the state legislature later approved.
The program will offer free tuition at University of Wisconsin campuses to students who finish high school with a B average and strong conduct records, starting with high school freshmen this fall. The governor, who won re-election in November, pledged to include “a major increase” in financial aid in his fiscal 2008 budget to support the initiative.
“I don’t want any high school kid to think college isn’t for them, or that it’s only for rich people,” he said. “I want every boy and girl to know … with the Wisconsin Covenant, college is within your grasp; just reach for it.”
He also urged lawmakers to strengthen the college-readiness plan by adding a third year of mathematics and science to high school graduation requirements.
Among the other proposals in his upcoming budget, Mr. Doyle said, would be funds to reduce class sizes in grades K-3 and triple the state’s support for the school breakfast program.
A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 2007 edition of Education Week