Legislative Update – July 25

A provision in the Senate Republicans’ budget plan announced last week has public school advocates sounding the alarm on how it would harm districts in areas of the state with low property values. The bottom line is that, under referendum restrictions included in the Senate GOP plan, districts with low property wealth wouldn’t see any state equalized aid increases if they pass a referendum for additional spending.

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Summer Leadership Academy participants urged to ‘be relentless’

“Be relentless; never give up.” That’s what NEA Executive Committee member Earl Wiman told participants this week at the WEAC Summer Leadership Academy, where dozens of members gathered for inspiration and guidance in supporting public education and children. “Push farther and do more than you’ve ever done before,” Wiman said in a keynote presentation in which he emphasized that public education is about helping all children succeed, no matter their zip code.

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The union helps give educators ‘a voice in what matters to students,’ WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen says

Educators know best what students need in the classroom, and WEAC helps give those educators “a voice in what matters to our students,” WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen said Monday in an address at the WEAC Summer Leadership Academy. Educators from throughout the state gather annually at the WEAC Summer Leadership Academy for training how to lead the profession and strengthen public education to benefit students. This year’s Academy is at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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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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