The Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families held an event at the Concourse Hotel in Madison on Wednesday. The purpose of the meeting, according to the event details, was to “celebrate a year of success, say thank you to our champions and learn how and why we need to work together in the coming months to ensure that our kids are not shortchanged.”
After the break for lunch, the “Rock Star of Education Reform” award was given to the “Surprise Guest.” Governor Scott Walker arrived to accept the Rock Star award. Walker received a standing ovation when he came out.
In his speech, Walker thanked the legislators present who were also recipients of “Legislative Champion” awards from the WCVSF. In attendance were Senators Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa), and Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), and Representatives Andre Jacque (R-Bellevue) and Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac). Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and Representative Don Pridemore (R-Hartford) were unable to attend.
Walker went on to say, “Overall, we want to make sure that every kid in this state…has access to a great education.” He also stated that the reforms in the budget for public schools were made “so that those schools can operate more like our virtual and our charter and our choice schools.” He stressed the importance of being able to choose where children go to learn. “We figure, we don’t know the best choice.”
More videos are available below.
[accordion title=”Click here for more videos”]
Like most events Walker attends, this was not open to the public. Registration was open in the morning, but for a limited period of time. The group Walker spoke to was made up of mostly children. Former state senator Bob Welch, who currently works as a lobbyist for the WCVSF, and Brian Pleva, government affairs director for the school privatization organization American Federation for Children, attended the event as well.
The MacIver Institute also played a large role in the celebration. Brian Fraley, communications director, ran the show while Bill Osmulski, investigative journalist, filmed from the back.
Walker spoke with the children briefly after taking pictures with them, telling the group that he had to leave to go to Marshfield, WI. He chose to go out the back door that day when he left. There was a small group of citizens there to greet him. One of Walker’s security team deemed it necessary to put his hands on one of these citizens who was standing next to the building.