States

Wis. Court Ruling Clips Gov.'s Wings

By The Associated Press — November 06, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A portion of a Wisconsin state law that gives the governor the power to approve or block new education rules and policies is unconstitutional, a state judge has ruled, although Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is vowing to appeal the ruling.

Dane County Circuit Judge Amy Smith said last week that the statutes give the governor more power over schools than the superintendent of public instruction, a violation of the state’s constitution. The ruling restores Superintendent Tony Evers’ ability to design policies affecting everything from teacher-licensing requirements to voucher programs without going through the Republican governor’s office.

It also marks another legal setback for Gov. Walker and Republican legislators. Two other Madison judges already have blocked a GOP-authored law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, and a third overturned a major chunk of the governor’s signature legislation stripping most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights.

The governor’s office is appealing all those decisions, and Gov. Walker’s spokesman Cullen Werwie promised the administration would appeal the latest ruling as well. “We’re confident we’ll win on appeal,” Mr. Werwie said.

Mr. Evers, meanwhile, issued a terse statement saying he was pleased with the judge’s finding.

“I have been consistent in my opposition to this legislation on constitutional grounds. ... My concerns are validated by this ruling,” he said.

The dispute centers on statutes Republican lawmakers passed in May 2011 that require state agencies to get gubernatorial approval before they can proceed with drafting new administrative rules. Gov. Walker said the changes would provide a greater check on agency rules that go too far.

Opponents decried the law as a naked power grab. The presidents of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s largest teachers’ union, and Madison Teachers Inc., the union that represents Madison teachers, and a number of parents filed a lawsuit a little more than a year ago alleging the law can’t apply to the department of education.

A version of this article appeared in the November 07, 2012 edition of Education Week as Wis. Court Ruling Clips Gov.'s Wings

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States Does a Ten Commandments Display in Classrooms Violate the Constitution?
Louisiana is poised to become the first state to require all schools to post the Ten Commandments in classrooms.
7 min read
Human hand holding a magnifying glass over open holy bible book of Exodus verses for Ten Commandments, top view
Marinela Malcheva/iStock/Getty
States Q&A 'Politics Does Not Belong in Education,' Says a Departing State Schools Chief
Improving student outcomes requires finding common ground, says Missouri's long-serving education commissioner, Margie Vandeven.
9 min read
Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven talks to students participating in Future Farmers of America during an event in February 2024, in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven talks to students participating in Future Farmers of America during an event in February 2024, in Jefferson City, Mo. Vandeven is stepping down from her position after more than eight years on the job.
Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
States Should Voters Decide What Schools Teach?
Californians may vote to require a new high school finance course. Critics argue it sets a bad precedent.
6 min read
A man stands behind a row of electronic voting machines covered with yellow privacy shields as he uses a touch screen to vote.
A lone voter casts his ballot for Super Tuesday at a polling station in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles on March 5, 2024.
Richard Vogel/AP
States Is Bipartisan Education Policy Still Possible?
It's still possible to forge cross-party education policy coalitions, advocates said.
5 min read
Image of a small U.S. flag in a pencil case.
iStock/Getty