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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Legislative Update – July 18

Senate Republicans today released their own budget proposal. In it, the Senate GOP includes all actions taken by the Joint Finance Committee mid-June, along with some areas of K-12 funding that have been agreed upon by the Senate and Assembly. Senate leadership is hoping the plan will prompt Assembly Republicans to engage on the outstanding issues holding up the budget, and that the finance committee would move swiftly to move a budget through.

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Many teachers struggling with low pay and high student debt, survey finds

In addition to being underpaid, many teachers are struggling to pay off hefty student loans, leaving them feeling overloaded and trapped, according to results of a new survey by NPR Ed. On a scale of 1 to 5, with five being “terrified” 28% of respondents said they were indeed “terrified,” while another 24% selected “4”, meaning a majority of teachers surveyed were either “terrified” or just shy of being “terrified.”

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Barb VanDoorn of Lake Holcombe is winner of a major national Award for Teaching Excellence

Lake Holcombe school counselor Barb VanDoorn is the winner of a prestigious California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence, the NEA Foundation announced Monday. She will receive the award at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala next February in Washington, D.C. “Barb explains it is the job of educators to identify the strengths and needs of each student, and believes the counselor’s role is to take it one step further — advocating for each student in the classroom, the community, and in realizing each student’s future goals,” said WEAC President Ron Martin, who nominated her for the national award.

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Legislative Update – July 17

Senate Republicans announced they will release their own budget proposal Tuesday, something Capitol insiders have been speculating about for some time. The state budget is currently two weeks overdue. According to statehouse insider WisPolitics, a spokeswoman for Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the document was still being drafted by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

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NEA video honors Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin

A new NEA video pays tribute to Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, winner of this year’s Mary Hatwood Futrell Award at the annual NEA Convention. “There is no greater champion of women’s rights, worker rights and the middle class,” it says. At the end of the tribute video, WEAC President Ron Martin accepts the award on Baldwin’s behalf because she could not attend the ceremony because of her duties in the U.S. Senate. Baldwin was nominated for the award by the WEAC Human and Civil Rights Committee.

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Federal Health Care Action Alert!

The revised Senate health care bill converts Medicaid to a system of capped payments to states and pegs future adjustments to the consumer price index instead of medical care costs – which generally rise faster. The result? It is estimated federal Medicaid outlays will decrease 26 percent by 2026. This endangers all students, especially the most vulnerable children, and the public schools that serve them. Contact your senators now!

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Why millennials should lead the next labor movement

Millennials can’t stand by and watch as the unions continue to decline and the middle class disappears, Janesville native Kashana Cauley writes in a New York Times article. “People like me, who have mental museums filled with memories of the stability that came with our parents’ union jobs, could be the perfect leaders of the next labor union renaissance,” she writes.

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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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