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MADISON, Wis. - Failing Wisconsin public schools would not be forced to turn into independent charter schools under an alternative accountability bill from Senate Republicans.

That is a major difference from a bill introduced last week by Assembly Republicans, setting up a conflict among the two houses on one of the first issues the Legislature is addressing this year.

Senate Republican leaders unveiled their approach to the school accountability issue on Tuesday.

Unlike the Assembly bill, theirs would require all schools to use the same test to see how students are performing. The Assembly would allow up to four different tests.

"The goal of this whole bill is to improve education in the state of Wisconsin. It's not to punish anybody or take anybody's power away," Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, said. "It's to make sure we can close the achievement gap in the state of Wisconsin and we feel we have done that."

The Senate version also creates a separate board to oversee public schools in the voucher program.

A public hearing is set for Wednesday on the Assembly version of the bill.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Senate bill has no sanctions for failing public schools

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