Washington Post says Walker’s assault on public education ‘could be coming back to bite him’

In an analysis of the Wisconsin governor’s race, the Washington Post says state residents are not buying Scott Walker’s ironic claim that he is the ‘education governor,’ and instead recognize that he has severely cut public school budgets and worked to undermine respect for educators.

“Though the election is still a few weeks away and anything can happen, (Democrat Tony) Evers has been leading in recent polls, and Walker’s efforts to recast himself as the ‘education governor’ don’t appear to have convinced his critics. His education ‘reform’ agenda could be coming back to bite him at a time when interest in supporting public education in Wisconsin seems to be growing among many residents at the local level,” the article states.

The article notes that Evers has been a teacher, principal and superintendent and is now in his third term as Wisconsin’s superintendent of public instruction.

Evers, it says, “has called for much more funding for public schools and has been critical of the state’s voucher programs, which use public money for private and religious school funding. He is seen as a threat by supporters of the ‘school choice’ movement.”

The article concludes: “Voters will soon decide whether Walker’s record is good enough to give him a third term, but if they decide against him, his education agenda will have played a big role.”

Read the entire article:

Analysis | Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on public education could be coming back to bite him

This was the beginning of a July news story in the Capital Times in Madison, Wis., about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign for a third term as a Republican governor: When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker started branding himself “the pro-education governor,” one of his Democratic opponents said he “thought it was a joke from The Onion.”

Rivers Falls educator Maggie Watson uses personal touch to advocate for her union

River Falls educator Maggie Watson, a member of WEAC Region 1, displays one of the handwritten posters she created for each district staff workroom explaining the benefits of an active union. Maggie says a handwritten poster will always get teachers’ attention in a way that printed advertising won’t.

– Thanks to the Region 1 Connections newsletter for sharing this great photo

NEA Today: Why We Are Red for Ed

This spring, educators, joined by students, parents, and community members, donned crimson shirts and took to their state capitols with a message: Our students deserve better than tattered textbooks and leaky ceilings. Educators deserve better than bottom-of-the-barrel pay and having to pay out of pocket for basic classroom supplies.

The team at NEA Today took a look at how moments in several states across the country turned into a national movement we call #RedForEd, and how that movement will propel us to the ballot box and beyond.

The walkouts in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina were a siren call across the nation. And importantly, people are listening.

Check out the new NEA Today feature: “Why We Are Red for Ed.” While you’re there, take the #RedForEd pledge and join millions of voices fighting for our nation’s public school students and educators.

It is now up to each of us to help the #RedForEd movement continue. We must deliver pro-public education voters and candidates to the polls this fall. In the long term, we must protect the nation’s public schools and transform our unions.

Madison’s Michael Jones is latest winner of the WEAC-UW Badger Red for Public Ed honor

Congratulations to Madison teacher Michael Jones, the latest winner of WEAC’s 2018 WEAC-UW Badger Red for Public Ed honor! The honor goes to WEAC members in appreciation for their dedication to students. Recipients are treated to a UW Badger athletic event. Michael will be honored at the UW Volleyball game October 21 at the UW Fieldhouse.

Michael, a WEAC and Madison Teachers Inc. member, is a Special Education teacher, entering his 10th year in the profession.

“I’ve been a proud union member for each of those years and am currently with the 8th graders at Black Hawk Middle School  in Madison,” Michael says. “I love what I do, I love the students and families I get to work with, and definitely I love my colleagues, all of whom I consider friends. I’m very lucky to be where I am and with the people I get to work with.”

Madison teacher Kerry Motoviloff nominated Michael, saying “He is a leader for ALL students lifting them at their toughest moments with grace and care.”

Visit weac.org/badger to nominate yourself or another deserving educator for a chance to win a drawing for Wisconsin athletic events throughout the school year.

NBC/Marist poll shows Evers leading Walker by 10 points

A new poll released Thursday by NBC/Marist shows Democratic candidate Tony Evers leading incumbent Governor Scott Walker by 10 points, just four weeks ahead of the November 6 election. The results vary sharply from a poll released earlier in the week by Marquette University Law School. That poll had the governor’s race in a statistical tie, although a Marquette poll two weeks earlier showed Evers leading Walker by 7 points.

The latest NBC/Marist poll shows Evers with 53 percent support among likely voters in a head-to-head matchup, while Walker gets 43 percent. Among the larger pool of registered voters in the state, Evers’ lead is 9 points, 52 percent to 43 percent — down from his 13-point lead in July’s NBC/Marist poll.

The NBC/Marist poll said the differences between its results and those of Marquette poll are attributed to these factors:

1. The polls use different samples: Marquette uses a voter list; Marist uses random digit dialing.

2. The polls use different likely-voter models: Marquette’s model is based exclusively on voters certain to vote; Marist’s uses a probability model based on interest, chance of vote and past vote.

3. Voter ID: Marquette’s sample among likely voters was R+3; Marist’s was D+1.

Whatever the polls show now, it is clear, said WEAC President Ron Martin, that getting out the vote will make the difference in the November 6 election.

“Wisconsin public school educators stand firmly with Dr. Evers, because he’s focused on the issues that matter – like schools and roads,” Martin said.

Read more about the NBC/Marist poll:

Poll: Walker trails in race for Wisconsin governor

Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is behind by double digits in his re-election bid, while Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin is comfortably ahead as a near majority of likely voters say they prefer Democrats to control Congress, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll of the state.

Poll: Walker down 10 points in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is trailing state schools superintendent Tony Evers by 10 points in his reelection bid, according to an NBC News/Marist poll released Thursday. Walker gets 43 percent of likely voters’ support in the survey, while 53 percent support Evers. Walker also has a significant deficit when comparing the two candidates’ favorability ratings.

Evers, Walker statistically tied in latest Marquette University Law School poll

With just four weeks to go until the November 6 election, the latest Marquette University Law School poll has incumbent Governor Scott Walker with 47 percent support among likely voters, compared to 46 percent for Democrat Tony Evers and 5 percent for Libertarian Phil Anderson. The results amount to a statistical tie. In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Tammy Baldwin leads Republican Leah Vukmir, 53 percent to 43 percent.

 

Election excitement, activism is high among educators in Wisconsin and throughout the nation

Wisconsin, Maine, and Minnesota are part of a movement following the educator-driven #RedForEd effort that has created a surge in political activism in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and North Dakota, according to an article on EducationVotes.org.

The article quotes WEAC President Ron Martin, who observes that educators are getting out the vote “with an unprecedented level of engagement.”

“It’s an excitement that is new and different, even surpassing our activism in recent governor and recall elections,” Martin says.

By supporting pro-education candidates like Tony Evers for governor and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, WEAC members and volunteers are helping to bring education issues to the forefront.

“The best thing we have going for us is that the public finally understands how their families, schools and communities are impacted by self-serving politicians and policies that hurt public schools and the middle class,” says Martin. “With 80 percent of voters saying they want funding restored to their neighborhood public schools, Wisconsinites know they have to go to the polls or risk four more years of bad leadership.”

Read the entire article:

Midterms loom large as educators seeking posts inspire high levels of activism – Education Votes

More than 500 educators are currently on the campaign trail leading up to midterm showdowns from Alaska to Maine that have transfixed the nation. Educator candidacies together with the drama surrounding this year’s #RedForEd protests against the neglect in state K-12 education budgets has produced a wave of political activism unlike the nation has seen in modern times.

Voters will decide 82 school referendum questions on November 6

Voters throughout the state will decide 82 school referendum questions in 61 school districts on November 6. The referendums seek a total of $1.4 billion in school improvements, including 11 to build new schools, 24 for safety and security improvements, 40 for site and building improvements, 28 for maintaining facilities and 12 for maintaining current educational program levels, according to a Wisconsin Policy Forum report.

The large number of referendums continues a trend that has seen voters approve more than 1,600 referendums totaling $12 billion since 1990, a trend that has been accelerating in recent years. Voters already have approved about $648.1 million in referendums in 48 school districts this year, and approval rates have been rising since 2003, hitting 79% in 2016. Recent polls have supported the trend of citizens wanting to maintain quality public schools, with voters saying they favor tax increases over cuts to school funding.

State Superintendent Tony Evers, who is running for governor, has said voters are demonstrating their strong support for public education despite incumbent Governor Scott Walker’s record of cutting state funding for schools. In effect, he says, the referendums amount to a “Scott Walker tax” that citizens are imposing on themselves to keep their schools healthy.

The largest school district referendums on the November 6 ballot are:

  • Middleton-Cross Plains Area: $138.9 million
  • Wauwatosa: $124.9 million
  • Stevens Point: $75.9 million
  • West De Pere (2 questions): $74.7 million
  • Oak Creek–Franklin: $60.9 million
  • Waukesha: $60.0 million
  • Cedarburg: $59.8 million
  • Monona Grove: $57.0 million
  • Oregon: $44.9 million
  • Burlington: $43.7 million
  • Edgerton: $40.6 million
  • Pewaukee: $39.7 million
  • Viroqua: $36.8 million
  • Evansville: $34.0 million
  • Greendale: $33.8 million
  • Wisconsin Dells: $33.7 million
  • Poynette: $28.4 million
  • Beloit Turner: $26.5 million
  • Sevastopol: $25.1 million
  • Waterford Graded: $24.9 million
  • Holmen: $23.5 million

Find out details about all the school referendums at https://apps4.dpi.wi.gov/referendum/customreporting.aspx:

Custom Referenda Reporting

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Wisconsin school referendums seek more than $1.4 billion in borrowing on November ballots

Wisconsin taxpayers will be asked to commit more than $1 billion in additional funding for their public schools in the November election. And if they pass at the rates seen in recent years, 2018 could be the highest year on record for dollars raised by school district referendums, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

Spotlight on Locals: Manitowoc Education Association

WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen (fourth from right) presents the Manitowoc Education Association leaders with the WEAC Strong Local Affiliate Certificate. Manitowoc Education Association President, Michelle Preussler, holds the certificate.

By Peggy Wirtz-Olsen, WEAC Vice President

“The strength of the Manitowoc Education Association is the dedication of people willing to be involved as officers and building representatives,” Mark Filer told me. Mark is the Vice President of the Manitowoc Education Association and a 9thgrade science teacher at Washington Jr. High. “We have a core group of people who continue to move our local forward.”

Michelle Preussler, 3rdgrade teacher at Stangel Elementary and returning President of the MEA, echoed that sentiment: “Our strong, core group of people get us through because they are dependable, honest, and hardworking. I am so fortunate to work with such a strong group.”

The MEA has maintained its role as an advocate for students and colleagues. “We keep an open dialogue with the school district, and our voices are in the forefront, our ideas are taken into consideration when decisions are made,” Michelle said. “We have worked to stay relevant in the eyes of our school board and upper level administration. We have built relationships with our district, our families, our colleagues, and our community. We speak at school board meetings, and the MEA is certainly not going to fade away.”

Mark pointed out how members and potential members continue to certify their local every year. “We care about education and making Manitowoc a great school district for kids. MEA members understand the big picture of what we are striving for: the importance of public education and how the union gives us a voice in what matters for our students and classrooms. People join the Manitowoc Education Association because they want to be a part of something that is bigger than them.”

One more area of strength in Manitowoc is the local’s history. Michelle said, “I was fortunate enough to be hired in Manitowoc where a strong union exists and learn so much from the leaders who came before me, like Bob Jome. I didn’t know a thing about this work, and, as true teachers do, they taught me. I will forever be grateful for their mentorship.”

When I asked Michelle about advice for a struggling local, she said, “Start small with a core group of people that you trust and build from there. If you can connect with the people you know well and talk with them personally about the work that you are doing, they will buy in. And, remember, you won’t move mountains all at once; set small goals and build from those goals.”

Michelle is most proud of the MEA’s history of representation. “Members can count on us and they trust us. If they call, we’ll have their back. Members of Manitowoc Education Association know that we’ll go to the wall for them because we’ve proven that time and time again. Our members have confidence in us.”

Read all of Peggy’s ‘Spotlight On Locals’ columns at weac.org/Spotlight.

Mother Jones: How parents and teachers ‘could expel Scott Walker from office’

A new article from Mother Jones expertly summarizes the race for Wisconsin governor, pitting pro-public education candidate Tony Evers against Scott Walker, who began his term in 2011 by attacking and undermining the state’s public employees, including teachers and education support professionals, and then followed up with massive cuts to Wisconsin’s public schools. The article points out:

During his first five years in office, Walker cut education spending by a total of $1.2 billion. More recently, he’s increased funding somewhat, though not enough to offset the damage caused by the earlier reductions.

The result has been disastrous. Districts around the state face applicant shortages when trying to fill job openings, as teachers look for work in other states and new college graduates avoid the profession altogether. Between the 2011-12 and 2015-16 school years, median compensation for Wisconsin’s public school teachers fell 12.6 percent, a reduction in wages and benefits of nearly $11,000 annually, according to a study by the left-leaning Center for American Progress. “We’ve been nonstop battling the effects of [Act 10],” says Amy Mizialko, the president of the Milwaukee teachers’ union. “Our students have suffered greatly as a result.” …

“To beat Scott Walker, we need a stronger vision for our future,” Evers says in his first TV ad. “Instead of investing…in handouts to companies like Foxconn, I’m gonna invest in our kids and our workers…I’m going to make sure that every kid gets a great school, no matter what the zip code.”

Read the entire article:

Will pissed-off parents and teachers expel Scott Walker from office?

Tom Rulseh was baffled by the email from an angry constituent. Why, the woman demanded to know, had the Three Lakes School District allowed Gov. Scott Walker to film a campaign ad in a public school that had nearly been forced to close thanks in part to Walker’s own budget cuts?