WEAC and AFT-Wisconsin presidents join Democrats in blasting Walker’s latest TV ad and DeVos’ visit to state

WEAC President Ron Martin joined the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Tuesday in a media call in response to visits from U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to the state. “I’m an eighth grade social studies teacher who has a long career dedicated to students,” Martin said. “It’s unbelievable that Betsy DeVos, who has dedicated her life to dismantling public schools, would show up in Wisconsin for a photo op. In Wisconsin, we believe all children have a right to a top-notch public education. Betsy DeVos doesn’t share that vision with us. Secretary DeVos, President Trump, Scott Walker – they’re all politicians who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. Photo stunts and millions of dollars of slick ads won’t change that fact.” 

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DPI announces mental health grants, says much more is needed

The Department of Public Instruction on Monday announced a series of new grants totaling $3.2 million for mental health services in schools, but State Superintendent Tony Evers and advocacy groups said much more is needed. “In a given year, one in five students faces a mental health issue, with more than 80 percent of incidents going untreated,” Evers said. “Those students who do get help, more often than not, receive it through their school.”

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‘Dear first-year teachers’: Listen to great advice from these veteran educators

In this short video, veteran educators provide valuable – and inspirational – advice for first-year teachers who are about to enter the classroom, starting with “Welcome to the best profession EVER.” … “There’s so much that you’re not going to be prepared for, and that’s OK!” … “Believe in yourself and believe in the impact that you bring to your class and to your students every day.” … “Find an amazing teacher to mentor you. No one gets through this alone.” … “If you hang around positive teachers in the school building, you’re going to be a positive first-year teacher.” … And finally, they all agree, “You got this!”

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‘Local activism around public education may just transform Wisconsin’s political culture’

The Progressive Magazine this summer took a close look at the history of Governor Walker’s attacks on public schools, educators and students. In an article that recounts the devastating impact of the Act 10 law that undermined collective bargaining, as well as deep cuts to state funding of public schools, author Jennifer C. Berkshire finds reason for optimism in a state known for its fighting spirit and strong support for public schools. “But there is another, more hopeful story to be told about Wisconsin, seven years after Walker officially kicked off his war on labor,” Berkshire writes. “It involves parents and teachers and local grassroots activists coming together to fight for the public schools in their communities.”

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Spotlight on Locals: Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association

“Our members understand that the union is them,” and that is why Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association members are always ready to take action on behalf of students and schools. That is what MTEA President Kim Schroeder told WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen as she interviewed MTEA leaders for her latest Spotlight on Locals column. “Wisconsin educators are writing labor history,” added MTEA Vice President Amy Mizialko. “Scott Walker doesn’t write the last chapter. We write the last chapter with our parents, our students, our members, and our community.”

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Article focusing on Arena, Wisconsin, examines the deep challenges and heartbreak faced by rural schools and communities

A New York Times article focusing on the closing this week of Arena Community Elementary School in the River Valley School District examines the heartbreak felt by students, parents and the community as they lose not only their school but the centerpiece of their community. “Administrators say that unforgiving budgets, a dearth of students and an aging population have made it impossible to keep the school open. For the first time since the 1800s, the village of Arena has no school,” the article states.

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Democrat Caleb Frostman wins Senate District 1 seat

WEAC-recommended candidate Caleb Frostman won election to Senate District 1 in a special election Tuesday. His victory attracted national attention because Frostman, a Democrat, won in a district that went for Donald Trump by more than 17 points two years ago and for Scott Walker by 23 points in 2014. The district has been held by Republicans for over 40 years.

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Northeast Wisconsin Technical College ESS Local wins recertification election, second time around

A new recertification election has proven successful for the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Educational Support Specialists Local. The initial recertification election in April failed by 2 votes. However, the unit experienced voting difficulties in the first 24 hours of the voting period April 5-6. All of the Social Security numbers were incorrectly entered into the AAA database, but were corrected on the second day of voting. However, some people who reported having difficulty subsequently did not log in to vote. The union challenged the outcome and a new voting period was approved. The new election for the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Educational Support Specialists Local was held May 18 – June 7, and this time certification was easily approved, with 125 yes votes of 187 eligible voters.

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Spotlight on Locals: Dodgeville Education Association

The Dodgeville Education Association has worked for years building relationships with the school board, the administration and the community, and it has paid off. In her latest Spotlight on Locals column, WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen visits with leaders of the DEA, who credit their success as an association in part with working collaboratively with their pro-education and pro-educator school board. “There’s a small town part of this,” said Dodgeville EA Treasurer Joan Davis. “We know each other, we talk with one another outside of school, and school board members ask us for our input.”

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