When elected officials don’t do the right thing for their constituents, especially the youngest and most vulnerable, it is up to adults to step in and demand accountability. Recently, the Oconto Falls School District did just that. Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican representing the 89th Assembly District, was taken to task for not being a leader to bring desperately needed resources to the public schools and public school children of his district. “I encourage you not to be in a reactive mode but instead take the lead on this,” said Oconto Falls Superintendent David Polashek in a letter to Rep. Nygren and others who represent northeastern Wisconsin. “The districts in your area need your support on this.” Polashek, the president-elect of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, is a long-time advocate for fair and adequate school funding for all of the state’s public school children. We can only hope other districts follow the lead of Oconto Falls and force...Read more
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Parents and other disability advocates fought long and hard for the right for students with disabilities to attend public schools with the other children from the neighborhood. Now those hard-won gains are being threatened again by special needs vouchers. These vouchers, or “scholarships” as their backers call them, let students with disabilities take tax dollars out of public schools and go to private schools instead. The private schools can pick and choose which students to accept, and would not have to follow the laws that protect students’ educational rights in the public schools. Meanwhile the public schools, and the students with disabilities who stayed in public schools, would suffer from the funding loss. No statewide disability organization in Wisconsin is asking for special needs vouchers! Find out more about the parent group - Stop Special Needs Vouchers Wisconsin, then contact your legislator and if you agree that special needs vouchers do not belong in the state budget, email your...Read more
Great news! Senators Mike Ellis and Luther Olson got the message from educators and parents around the state that schools can't withstand another funding cut! Ellis and Olson will buck their own Governor by seeking to add $382 million for... public schools. Their plan both increases aid and raises the revenue limit by $150 per pupil in each of the two years. Thank you, Senators Ellis and Olson. While IWF believes the annual increase ought to be set at $225 in order to cover inflation, this proposal is a good first step. Contact your state senator and representative and ask them to support increased funding for K-12 public schools. For more details, see the story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel....Read more
reprint of WPR News Stories, Monday February 18, 2013 by Kristen Durst Governor Scott Walker announced his plans today that would expand the state's voucher program beyond Milwaukee and Racine. Walker is proposing bringing vouchers to nine new communities, based on the school districts' performance on new state report cards. Districts that have two or more failing schools and have at least 4,000 students would qualify. Walker is also proposing to allow special needs students to attend private schools under the program. Matthew Kussow is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools. He applauds the Governor's plans for expansion. "Public schools are doing a great job of educating 80 to 85 percent of the kids that are going through their system. But I don't think that means that we should ignore the kids that are not succeeding in the public schools and the governor's proposal today reflects the fact that you have some very good private...Read more
School boards and community members around Wisconsin are beginning to fight back against state aid cuts and lost educational opportunities for children. They passed resolutions or issued formal letters asking the Governor and Legislature to reinvest in our public schools. This statewide action has occurred spontaneously as more and more districts figure out that Governor Scott Walker’s promise of schools being better off under his austerity budget isn’t working. And now, for 2013-15, he proposes to freeze aid for public schools -- while increasing funding for private schools. See below the listing of districts passing resolutions or sending letters of support for school-funding reform to Gov. Walker. Click on the district name to see the resolution or letter and to view media coverage. School boards are being urged to team up with their teachers, parents, and other members of the community to co-sponsor the resolutions. To find out...Read more
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