Tuesday, April 19, 2011

UW Madison School of Education statement about the budget

The following statement was issued by the UW-Madison School of
Education's Administrative Council to Wisconsin's education community
on Thursday, April 14:

The UW-Madison School of Education faculty and staff profoundly
respect and admire our Wisconsin teachers, and empathize with them as
their profession and schools face seemingly insurmountable challenges
with the proposed state budget.

Wisconsin's high quality teaching force sends well-prepared and
talented students to UW-Madison. The campus and the School of
Education benefit directly from the wonderful work that K-12 educators
do with the children who end up being our students.

The budget proposal will cause irreparable damage to K-12 education in
Wisconsin, and will ultimately hurt our children. We cannot ask
schools to do more with less while expecting the same results. This
proposal also has the potential to shatter relationships among
educators, school administrators and Boards, and to undermine the
quality of education across the state.

The Governor's Executive Budget calls for a $390.5 million per year
reduction in general school aid (an 8.4 percent reduction from this
year's level) and a $43.1 million per year decrease in categorical aid
(a decline of 7.1 percent).  Each school district's revenue limit (the
sum of general aid and property tax levy) would be reduced by 5.5
percent. Based on a model of the impact of the proposed reduction in
revenue limits, the average reduction would equal about $550 per

Agreed upon reductions in teacher compensation (in the form of larger
pension and health insurance payments) will help school districts
balance their budgets. However, the combination of rising costs of
energy and other necessary school district expenditures, the
reductions in state aid and revenue limits, and likely cuts in federal
education aid, suggest that most school districts will be forced to
reduce academic programs, increase class sizes, and take other
strategies to reduce public spending on education.

If the budget passes, we will experience a demoralized workforce and
lose the ability to attract excellent teachers to Wisconsin, a state
with a proud history of valuing education.  Many school districts will
have no choice but to lay off teachers. They will be forced to
increase class sizes, cut courses, cut programs, and eliminate
preparation and professional development time for teachers. All of
these result in lower quality education in Wisconsin.

Quality education requires quality teachers. To attract quality people
to this profession and to this state, we must treat teachers fairly
and compensate them for their hard work.

Damaging education now will have long-term negative social and
economic consequences for children, families and their communities
across Wisconsin.

The School of Education's administrative council opposes the proposed
cuts to public education in Wisconsin. We, as stewards of Wisconsin
education, have a responsibility to stand with teachers and leaders of
education across the state to protect our children's right to fair and
appropriate educational opportunities.

*UW-Madison School of Education Administrative Council**
*Dean Julie Underwood, Chair

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Take action: Attend a town hall meeting on education & health care in the budget

Event: Education & Health Care in the Budget: A Milwaukee Town Hall Hearing

Time Monday, April 18 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location Greater New Birth Church
8327 W Silver Spring Drive
Milwaukee, WI
Join Sen. Lena C. Taylor and other Milwaukee legislators for
a special budget town hall on education and health care issues.

Special guests include MPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton; Eric
Gass, City of Milwaukee Health Dept. Research and Policy Director; and
Dr. Patricia McManus of the Wisconsin Black Health Coalition.

There will be time of hearing from the experts on budget implications
and then your voices will be heard by legislators!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Don't Forget to VOTE Tuesday, April 5th!

Elections matter!  Use your vote to take action.  April 5th will include important local elections and a statewide Supreme Court race. Primaries will also be held that day for the spring special election to take place May 3rd, 2011.  The special election is to fill seats in Assembly Districts 60, 83 and 94.  Those seats became vacant when the legislators accepted positions in the Walker Administration.

It is important to remember that, while new legislation regarding voter ID is under consideration, as of now no new legislation has been passed.  Therefore, current Wisconsin law does not require registered voters to show ID before voting.  Detailed voter registration information can be found on the Government Accountability Board website at: http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/voters.  The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund issued a press release March 28th clarifying that there are No New ID Requirements for April 5 Election.  See the press release at: http://www.lwvwi.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=C75aatWeZf0%3D&tabid=41&mid=399

Andrea Kaminski, the Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund stated, "“If there is anything we have learned in Wisconsin in the past few months, it is that elections matter. We need competent, responsive local government officials to deal with budget cutbacks fairly. We need an independent judiciary to interpret the law with openness and impartiality. The voters who turn out for this election will have a voice in how the difficult issues we are dealing with are played out."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Senator Vinehout speaks out against SB 22!

Senator Vinehout recently posted this column about charter schools on her website: 

What is a Charter School
And what does it have to do with you?
 “I’ve heard of charter schools,” the woman told me. “But I really don’t know understand them.” People are not familiar with schools often run by a private group but using taxpayer dollars. 

Imagine a school created with a business-like contract or “charter”.  This charter sets it own rules for the school and exempts it from the usual rules about classes, staff, budgeting and administration.

Many charter schools are created and run by local school districts but some are independent charters. Cost to local school districts for these independent schools this year was almost $60 million statewide. In our Senate District, school districts will pay an estimated $1.3 million in the next two years for these independent charter schools.

Last week, as a member of the Senate Committee on Education, I participated in a ten hour hearing on a bill that allows for unlimited charter school expansion. It also creates a politically appointed board to authorize the charter schools. The bill pays for the expansion out of the money given by the state to run all public schools.
Hundreds of people from all over the state came to testify on the bill. Charter school advocates were quizzed by committee members. They were asked how the schools were paid for and how more of them would affect our traditional public schools...

Read more here

Let's get the word out to other senators, and let them know why they should oppose this bill that will gut public education!  The hearing is over, but the fight against SB 22 has just begun!

Today: Global Education Policy and the Neo-liberal Imaginary

The Havens Center at UW-Madison is sponsoring talks by Stephen Ball this week:

"Exporting Policy: The Growth of Global Edu-businesses"
Tuesday, March 29, 4pm, 206 Ingraham Hall

Neo-liberal Networks of Education Reform: Ideology + Influence = Profit
Wednesday, March 30, 4pm, 8417 Social Science

Open Seminar for Students, Facullty and Public
Thursday, March 31, 12:20pm, 8108 Social Science

This will be a great opportunity to think about our Wisconsin fight against school privatization as part of the global spread of neo-liberal education policy.