Email your Members of Congress and tell them to VOTE NO on the GOP leadership’s disastrous tax plan!

Over the weekend, the Senate approved along party lines a massive tax giveaway to the wealthiest and corporations paid for by students and working families. In addition to adding $1.5 trillion to the national deficit, the Senate voted to partially repeal the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, which would leave 13 million Americans uninsured and result in drastic spikes in insurance premiums for millions more. The bill also expands an education tax loophole that would further benefit the wealthy and allow them to set aside money for private school expenses—essentially a voucher program for wealthy families. Contact your Members of Congress today and tell them to vote NO on this disastrous tax plan.

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Voucher schools lack accountability and put students with disabilities at risk, federal study finds

Private schools funded through the taxpayer-financed voucher program generally fail to notify parents of students with disabilities that they are forfeiting rights and protections when they transfer from public schools, according a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The report says vouchers schools lack accountability and transparency, and put students with disabilities – whose parents often don’t know they are giving up federal protections by enrolling in private schools – at greater risk.

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Charts detail financial impact of private school vouchers on state’s public school districts

An organization called School Funding Reform For Wisconsin has compiled a series of informative charts that summarize the financial impact of taxpayer-funded private school voucher programs on public school districts throughout the state. The charts are grouped by Senate district.

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Private school voucher enrollment up 8 percent, cost to taxpayers is $270 million

Enrollment in Wisconsin private school vouchers programs increased nearly 8 percent this year and cost state taxpayers $270 million, an increase of $25.5 million over last year, according to figures released Monday by the Department of Public Instruction. Across the three programs – Milwaukee, Racine and statewide – a total of 36,249 students received a voucher to attend one of the 238 participating private schools. This is an increase of 2,684 students and 29 schools across the three programs compared to the prior school year.

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Review exposes faults in Walton family study calling for more private charters

A new analysis strikes down a Walton Family Foundation report that supports expanded public funding of private charter schools. The National Education Policy Center says the Walton study is flawed and based on biased data. In fact, privately run charter schools in most cases fall behind public schools when it comes to student performance despite the fact that public schools are open to students of all backgrounds.

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Expansion of unproven, unaccountable private school vouchers harms public schools and raises taxes, analysis finds

School voucher programs – including the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) – divert much-needed funding away from public schools when they are expanded, according to a new policy memo by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. In response to the report, WEAC President Ron Martin said, “If policymakers are really interested in improving education, they should invest in the public schools that serve all students.”

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ALEC conference continues group’s focus on undermining public schools, Rep. Chris Taylor says

State Representative Chris Taylor, a Democrat from Madison, just got back from another American Legislative Exchange Council conference, and concluded: “The issue of the moment for ALEC is public education — that is, undermining it.” … “For ALEC, it is all about tearing down our public-school infrastructure so corporate privatization efforts can move in and make a buck,” she writes in a column published by The Progressive.

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NAACP calls for elimination of for-profit charter schools

In a highly anticipated report, the NAACP Wednesday called for elimination of for-profit charter schools and more equitable funding for all schools serving students of color. “No federal, state, or local taxpayer dollars should be used to fund for-profit charter schools, nor should public funding be sent from nonprofit charters to for-profit charter management companies,” the organization says in its report titled Quality Education for All: One School at a Time. “The widespread findings of misconduct and poor student performance in for-profit charter schools demand the elimination of these schools. Moreover, allowing for-profit entities to operate schools creates an inherent conflict of interest.”

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Legislative Update – July 20

More on the Senate Republicans’ budget proposal unveiled earlier this week has been unpacked, including provisions that would impact voucher schools. The Senate proposal does not include the governor’s idea to move to lifetime licenses for teachers and administrators, but instead calls on the DPI to ease the process in a few ways. The Senate proposal also increases the score needed on a civics exam to graduate and changes parameters of Teach for America grants.

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Sequanna Taylor of Milwaukee elected to ESP seat on the NEA Board

WEAC member Sequanna Taylor, from Milwaukee, has been elected to an Education Support Professional At-Large seat on the National Education Association Board. Sequanna, who is president of the Milwaukee Educational Assistants’ Association and sits on the Executive Board of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, was elected by an overwhelming vote of delegates to the NEA Convention in Boston. The Convention concluded over the weekend.

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