Roger King of Holmen wins $5,000 NEA Foundation Grant

Holmen High School agriscience teacher Roger King has received a $5,000 Student Achievement/Learning and Leadership grant from the NEA Foundation. The award, King said, will be used to help Holmen High School educators learn how to instruct farm-to-school techniques in a number of settings.

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Join WEAC to bring teacher voice to proposed license changes

The Department of Public Instruction is proposing major changes to teacher licensing in Wisconsin, and those changes include teacher discipline and teacher rights. You can learn more about these changes – and how you can take action to influence them – during a WEAC Tele-Town Hall phone call on Monday, January 15.

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Spotlight on Locals: Tomahawk Education Association

In the first of a new series of columns titled “Spotlight on Locals,” WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen visits the Tomahawk Education Association, where she talks with Co-President Ann Swenty about how her local has maintained strength, holding steady with a membership of 77 teachers of their 100 teachers on staff. “First and foremost, you must have a strong leadership team,” Ann told Peggy. Ann credits her long-time treasurer Jon Marin for his “conscientious dedication to the union” and Angie McPherson, their local secretary, for her follow-through. “Angie gets things done, and she is always a voice for our members.”

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Tell DPI what you think about major proposed changes to teacher licensing rules

The proposed overhaul represents two areas – licensing and teacher rights. While the licensure provisions represent a mixed bag of ideas crafted with input from a council of education stakeholders including WEAC, provisions in the overhaul aimed at limiting teacher rights create sweeping changes to disciplinary action based on arbitrary and questionable judgments.

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WEAC member E-Ben Grisby ‘is not afraid to speak up where there is injustice’

Green Bay teacher E-Ben Grisby, an active member of WEAC and the Green Bay Education Association, is the subject of an Appleton Post-Crescent article about his work to “embrace the broad spectrum of diversity in the Fox Cities.” … “E-Ben’s life has been rich with experiences, which he readily shares with us, which give us perspective,” said Jody Harrell, who serves with Grisby at Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities. “He is not afraid to speak up where there is injustice and is willing to do something to help change happen. We appreciate his gifts, and all benefit from his wisdom and actions.”

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Teachers say they are overwhelmed by constant policy changes

Nearly all respondents to an Education Week survey — 86 percent — said they had experienced new changes or reforms in the past two school years, and 58 percent said the changes are “way too much” or “too much.” The teachers surveyed were most likely to say they’d had changes to their teacher-evaluation systems. Other common areas for reform were curriculum, professional development, and state testing.

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Congress narrowly approves huge tax giveaway to corporations paid for by students and working families

Congressional Republicans on Tuesday narrowly approved a massive tax giveaway to the wealthiest and corporations paid for by students and working families. In addition to adding more than $1 trillion to the nation’s debt, Congress voted to partially repeal the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, which would leave 13 million Americans uninsured and result in drastic spikes in insurance premiums for millions more. The bill also expands an education tax loophole that would further benefit the wealthy and allow them to set aside money for private school expenses — essentially a voucher program for wealthy families. The partial elimination of the century-old state and local tax deduction also puts in jeopardy the ability of states and local communities to fund public education, potentially risking state funding for more than 130,000 education jobs according to a new NEA analysis.

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At request of Janesville Education Association, school board votes to support Voucher Transparency Bill

At the request of the Janesville Education Association, the Janesville School Board this week voted, 9-0, to support the Wisconsin Taxpayer Voucher Transparency Bill. The bill would require school districts to inform local taxpayers of how much the private school voucher program is costing them. The resolution notes that, statewide, property taxes increased by over $25 million in 2016-17 due to school boards levying to offset lost aid due to the voucher system.

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Families of color would lose big under proposed GOP tax plans, analysis finds

The tax plans under consideration by the GOP-controlled Congress would disproportionately harm families of color, according to an analysis by the Wisconsin Budget Project. “A growing level of resources is concentrated in a very small number of hands, a trend that would be exacerbated if Congress passes one of the federal tax bills currently under consideration,” the organization says. “Both versions of the bill expand the already-significant ability of extremely rich families to keep wealth within their own circles, a move that would contribute to the widening chasm between the very wealthiest and everybody else and would place additional obstacles to economic security in the path of families of color.”

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Facebook founder’s attempts at school ‘reform’ fail

School “reforms” in New Jersey, funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, failed at providing meaningful change for students, a new review shows. Reports stating that the so-called “reforms” helped students were called into question by academic reviewers, who cautioned against the New Jersey experiment being replicated anywhere else. Specifically, claims of success were based on reports that omitted important factors for student learning and test score outcomes. Additional factors contributing to the failure in the Zuckerberg experiment included attempts to shut out teachers, parents and communities and support for expansion of privately run charter schools while shutting down community schools.

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