Spotlight on Locals: Owen-Withee Education Association

The strength of the Owen-Withee Education Association, leaders say, comes from its focus on students first and on having “home-grown teachers” who are involved in the community. “We see our students in and out of school,” OWEA leader Russ Weiler told WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen in her latest Spotlight on Locals column, “and we are always working to keep our schools and community strong for our students.”

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Legislative Update: Republicans strip Evers’ budget of key items

The Joint Finance Committee Thursday killed a plan for $1.4 billion in federal funding that would have helped fund schools, roads and healthcare. The party-line vote to deny full Medicaid expansion was followed by a vote on a huge package of recommended budget provisions that would have increased special education funding and teacher quality measures, plus require transparency and accountability for taxpayer-funded private schools. “Wisconsin educators and parents have turned out in droves to be clear about our No. 1 priority – our students,” said WEAC President Ron Martin. “Our dedication is strong – we will continue to advocate in the best interest of our students for equitable funding for public schools.”

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Greendale’s Erin McCarthy is Wisconsin’s 2020 Middle School Teacher of the Year

In a surprise ceremony at her school Thursday, Erin McCarthy of Milwaukee, an eighth grade social studies teacher at Greendale Middle School who is a member of WEAC Region 7, was named the 2020 Middle School Teacher of the Year. McCarthy labors to ensure every student is included in her classroom’s community. “I’ve shifted the focus in my classroom to valuing the experience of each student and not teaching to the ‘average,'” she explained. “The work is exhausting but yields the greatest rewards.”

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MTEA member Chad Sperzel-Wuchterl is state’s 2020 High School Teacher of the Year

In a surprise ceremony Wednesday, Chad Sperzel-Wuchterl of Milwaukee, an art teacher at Reagan High School in Milwaukee Public Schools and a member of WEAC and the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA), was named Wisconsin’s 2020 High School Teacher of the Year. Sperzel-Wuchterl’s students’ artwork has been displayed throughout that greater community, not only in the school but also in university campus art galleries, the Wisconsin Capitol, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and revolving displays in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

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Wisconsin has three winners of NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards

NEA has announced three Wisconsin winners of this year’s prestigious NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards. The Wisconsin winners are: Bayfield educators and WEAC members Rick and Lorie Erickson, Former State Senator Tim Cullen of Janesville, and GSAFE, a Madison-based advocacy organization devoted to creating safe educational environments for LGBTQ individuals.

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Legislative Update: May 3

GOP lawmakers are formally taking steps to stop Medicaid expansion and strip out key education provisions from Governor Tony Evers’ budget proposal, including school funding fixes that would result in more tax dollars actually entering our schoolhouse doors instead of being used for property tax reductions. The Joint Finance co-chairs have released a memo outlining 131 proposals they plan to pull from the budget when the committee meets May 9, including measures to phase out voucher schools and fix public school funding flaws.

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Governor Evers honored as WEAC’s 2019 Friend of Education

Governor Tony Evers was awarded the 2019 WEAC Friend of Education Award at the annual WEAC Representative Assembly on Saturday in Oshkosh. The Governor made a surprise appearance before hundreds of excited delegates and thanked them for their support of him over the years and especially in his campaign for governor. “I could not have done it without WEAC. I could not have done it without all of you,” the governor said. “I believe, as you all believe, that what’s best for kids is what’s best for our state. I said that a million times on the campaign trail, and that’s why we won this race.”

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Average teacher salary nationwide down 4.5 percent, NEA report finds

The national average teacher salary, adjusted for inflation, has decreased 4.5 percent over the past decade, according to the annual NEA Rankings and Estimates released Monday. Wisconsin’s average teacher salary dropped to 33rd in the nation, down from 18th in the nation just seven years ago, according to the report. Wisconsin’s average teacher salary was $51,469 in 2017-18, compared to the national average of $60,477.

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With schools ‘at the tipping point,’ educators ask legislators to ‘do the right thing’ and pass Evers’ budget

As the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee concluded its statewide budget hearings Wednesday in Green Bay, educators continued to encourage legislators to “do the right thing” and support Governor Evers’ budget plan that supports children, public schools and our dedicated teachers and education support professionals. “Green Bay Area Public Schools, and schools around Wisconsin are at a tipping point,” said said Green Bay special education teacher Justin Delfosse, who is president of the Green Bay Education Association. “Wisconsin has neglected funding for public education for too long.”

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Educators and supporters of public schools continue to advocate for school funding increases

Educators continued to advocate for public education this week as the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee held hearings on the state budget. Educators and supporters of public education testified at those hearings, submitted written testimony and shared their thoughts through letters to their legislators and in letters submitted to local media throughout the state. On Wednesday, supporters of public education packed a Joint Finance Committee hearing in Oak Creek, speaking in favor of Governor Evers’ proposals to increase general public education funding as well as special education funding.

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