Spotlight on Locals: Janesville Education Association

In her latest Spotlight On Locals column, WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen highlights the many successes of the Janesville Education Association, from working to elect quality school board members to instituting a new salary schedule to holding the line on insurance costs. “While we don’t have the leverage we once did, creating a friendlier environment that is working in the spirit of cooperation is making a difference for us,” says JEA President Dave Groth.

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Judge Rebecca Dallet wins Supreme Court race

Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet – recommended by the WEAC Board – won a 10-year seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday. WEAC had cited Dallet’s 10 years of judicial experience, support for the role of unions in the workplace, and support for public education as a core value. Dallet will be seated in August. Voters also decided to keep the State Treasurer’s Office, a position supported by public education advocates. And they approved the five largest school referendums in the state.

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Under court order, Walker schedules special elections to fill vacant legislative seats

After losing three court rulings, including one by the State Appeals Court, Governor Walker on Thursday reluctantly called special elections to fill two vacant legislative seats, and Republican legislative leaders dropped their efforts to circumvent current law in an attempt to delay the elections to November. As a result of the Wednesday and Thursday developments, general elections will be June 12 to fill seats that were vacated in late December when Walker appointed Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, and Rep. Keith Ripp, R-Lodi, to administrative positions.

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Students’ 50 Miles More march from Madison culminates with rally in Janesville

An estimated 200 concerned citizens joined students at a rally for common sense gun laws Wednesday in Janesville at the culmination of a 50-mile march by about 40 students. The students marched from Madison to the hometown of U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, demanding that he support gun laws that might help prevent another school shooting like the one that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida. The 50 Miles More march was an extension of last weekend’s national March For Our Lives rallies.

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Spotlight on Locals: Cudahy Education Association

In her latest Spotlight On Locals column, WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen talks with leaders of the Cudahy Education Association, who have found that focusing on building relationships is a key to success. “Our success comes down to three things — persistence, continual communication, and positive collaboration,” said CEA Co-President Christine Janusiak.

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Federal Commission on School Safety excludes voices of students, educators

The Federal Commission on School Safety met for the first time Wednesday behind closed doors at the White House without students, teachers or parents at the table and away from the public’s scrutiny. The National Education Association, which represents 3 million educators working in America’s public schools and on college campuses, was not invited to attend the meeting. “The commission’s clear purpose is to push an agenda that is focused on a dangerous and misguided plan to put more guns in schools by arming teachers and other school personnel,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Our students need fewer guns in schools — not more of them — and bringing guns into our schools does absolutely nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence.”

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Assembly passes school safety package and sends it to the governor for his signature

The State Assembly on Thursday passed a package of school safety measures and sent it to Governor Walker for his signature. The measures would establish a new Office of School Safety at the state Department of Justice and give it $100 million to provide one-time grants to school districts for security measures. The bill also requires public and private schools to conduct annual school violence drills and requires reporting of school violence threats by teachers, school administrators, counselors, other school employees, physicians, and other medical and mental health professionals.

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Survey results show mixed picture for Wisconsin youth

Results from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) provide both promising and troubling news about the status of high school students in Wisconsin. On one hand, the vast majority of students are passing their classes, feel they belong at their school, and have a supportive teacher or other adult that they can go to with problems. Rates of sexual activity; smoking; alcohol use, including binge drinking; and marijuana use are all in decline. However, students also sleep less, are on their devices more, and are more likely to feel sad or hopeless, and to consider and plan suicide. Nearly 50 percent of girls and 30 percent of boys report anxiety.

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