Citizens overwhelmingly want their legislators to support public education

A recent Marquette University Law School poll showed a whopping 80 percent of Wisconsinites believe we should invest more money in public education. So as legislators address the education portion of the state budget in the coming weeks, it’s important to focus on what educators, parents and communities have repeatedly said they want: More funding for neighborhood public schools. It’s time for elected leaders to deliver, with a budget that restores funding for the majority of students, a budget that reigns in exploding private voucher spending, and a budget without last-minute surprises that have never before seen the light of day, much less a public hearing.

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NEA’s Eskelsen García says DeVos is ‘throwing students under the bus’

In testimony before Congress Wednesday, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused to say she would deny federal funding of private schools that discriminate against students. That, and other responses from DeVos to questioning by members of a House appropriations committee during a review of the Trump administration’s education budget proposal, prompted NEA President Lily Eskelsen García to tweet that DeVos was “throwing students under the bus.” Eskelsen García tweeted that DeVos is still unqualified and still using alternative facts. “We should invest in what makes schools great, the things that build curiosity and instill a love of learning,” she tweeted.

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Racine Education Association asks for audit of all standardized testing

The Racine Education Association is asking the school board to conduct an audit of testing in the district, including an inventory of all standardized tests, the purpose of the tests, time spent taking each test, and time spent on test preparation. “Beyond the social and emotional damage high-stakes standardized tests have on children, there is also a definite fiscal impact — whether it be the costs of the tests themselves, time lost on teaching and learning, use of technology, etc. — that should be considered as well,” said REA President Angelina Cruz.

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WEAC Region 6 member Nick Meinel says Whitewater school closed the achievement gap by believing in its students

Thanks to the efforts of educators like WEAC Region 6 member Nick Meinel, Washington Elementary School in Whitewater has made huge strides in closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students, one of the ongoing goals of public education. The school motivates students, Meinel says, “by making this their positive place … by letting them know that no matter what happens here, we still believe in them. We still care.”

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Legislative Update and Action Alerts – May 19

This week’s Legislative Update includes Action Alerts to contact your elected officials and ask them to support full funding of public education over private charters and voucher schools, and to protect the Wisconsin Retirement System from unnecessary changes. Other topics include special education funding, school board candidate signatures and campus speech.

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San Diego schools combat rising Islamophobia

Responding to a rising number of bullying incidents directed at Muslim students, the San Diego Unified School District is adopting a multi-tiered approach to combatting Islamophobia. According to the Los Angeles Times, elements of the plan include: administrators and teachers will have calendars showing Islamic holidays, students will learn more about the religion in social studies classes; and safe places will be created on campuses for Muslim students.

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Trump’s plan to slash federal education funding is ‘reckless and wrong for students,’ NEA says

Responding to reports that the Trump administration plans to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, NEA President Lily Eskelsen García called President Trump’s priorities “reckless and wrong for students and working families.” According to the Washington Post, the cuts would come from eliminating at least 22 programs, including “$1.2 billion for after-school programs that serve 1.6 million children, most of whom are poor, and $2.1 billion for teacher training and class-size reduction.”

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Rather than closing low-performing schools, officials should invest in them, research project concludes

Investing in low-performing schools is a better way to benefit students than closing those schools, according to a new research report. “Closing schools based on academic performance is not a promising solution for turning around low-performing schools,” according to the new policy brief by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). “School closures negatively impact student achievement and well being, especially among students living in low-income and underserved communities.”

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WEAC President Ron Martin awarded eagle feather

WEAC President Ron Martin, of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is recipient of an eagle feather for his work for Wisconsin’s public school students, educators and schools. The feather was presented to the Eau Claire eighth grade teacher by a Menominee Nation elder in a surprise ceremony at the WEAC Representative Assembly.

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