Corporate welfare TRUMPS students in Wisconsin

The Overpass Light Brigade held this message in Milwaukee last Saturday night (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Welcome to Wisconsin, where a multinational corporation can walk away with billions of public dollars while our school children go without books and necessary supplies. What a stark contrast this month, as kids across Wisconsin head back to school and teachers are scrambling to get donations for their students and classrooms.

Why is it that when our public schools are starving there is no money to be found, but when a corporation like Foxconn wants to set up shop, Scott Walker and GOP legislators can find $3 billion almost overnight? If Republicans would spend half that amount of energy advocating for our public schools, every child would have class sizes small enough for one-on-one attention, comfortable classrooms with air conditioning, after school programs, modern technology, science labs, art classrooms, and libraries.

In 2012 alone, our public schools faced the largest cuts since the great depression and they have not recovered. Educators foot the bill for science project supplies, classroom furniture, glue, and paper. School budgets are so tight that districts are making difficult decisions about what programs to cut, maintenance projects to defer, and which front-line educator positions must go unfilled.

Walker and the GOP are throwing $3 billion at a shady corporation with a history of broken promises and workers’ rights violations. Foxconn owners compare their workers to animals and the very presence of their factories is synonymous with riots, workers suicides, and violence. Three billion dollars – and the return for our communities (if it happens) won’t even begin until 2045. Just imagine that kind of investment in education. We could invest in our public schools, reverse the teacher shortage, and give opportunities to every child.

The MTEA is for job creation. We are for family sustaining, safe, unionized Wisconsin jobs–none of which are guaranteed with the current Foxconn deal. The only thing that we know for sure is that it will take nearly an entire generation for Wisconsin taxpayers get back the money spent on this deal.

Instead of funding the Foxconn deal, let’s fund our public schools and educators that inspire creative writers, avid mathematicians, influential scientists, and the leaders of our next generation.

We need fully funded public schools, not corporate welfare.

Kim Schroeder
MTEA President

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MTEA President: Educators Denounce Racist Attack in Charlottesville

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association denounces the racist terror attack in Charlottesville, VA. We stand with the resistance to the neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups that have swarmed the streets of this normally quiet college town. Make no mistake, these groups have existed in one form or another for generations in the US, but the racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic language and actions of the Trump administration have emboldened white supremacists. It is a short walk from a Trump rally to the proto fascist violence in Charlottesville.

The MTEA recognizes that the very same administration planning draconian cuts to public urban school districts, like Milwaukee, that serve primarily black and brown children would be paving the way for the kinds of right wing violence we are seeing in Virginia. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of the racist terror attack. We stand in solidarity with all those who oppose racism and neo-Nazism.

Kim Schroeder
MTEA President

 

MPS Administration and School Board’s Budget Shows How Little They Value Educators

MTEA members Gwendolyn Anderson, Crystal Ealy, and Michael Glabere attended a recent school board public hearing on the MPS budget (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

By Kim Schroeder

On May 23, 2017 progressive MPS School Board Directors proposed a modest budget amendment proposal that would have raised MPS’s lowest wage workers to $15/hour by 2022 and included raises for all MPS employees making less than $80,000 a year. The proposal recognized the hard work educators do every day, directly affecting our students. The original budget put forward by MPS administration included no raise or step increases (not even the cost of living), instead saying there needed to be a “pause” on any salary increases.

We thank Larry Miller for introducing the proposal and Tony Baez, Terry Falk, and Annie Woodward for their unwavering support for our districts lowest paid workers and front line educators. All four fought hard in the attempt to pass this modest budget amendment.

Budgets are about choices. Our school board directors had the opportunity to choose our classrooms and our students. We know that the MPS budget is stretched thin, but we also know that investing in the frontline of care for our students strengthens our schools.

On May 23, school board directors Michael Bonds, Wendell Harris, Paula Phillips, Mark Sain, and Carol Voss voted not to support the amendment and instead revisit the budget during a work session in October. October is too late. . Educators across MPS are now faced with deciding whether they can afford to stay in the district.

Milwaukee Public Schools is the largest employer in the city of Milwaukee. School Board Directors who campaigned as progressives in support of a $15 minimum wage need to stay true to their promise to educators. The Milwaukee County Board had the courage to pass a living wage ordinance for all county employees to be paid a minimum of $15 per hour by 2021. But, thousands of Milwaukee Public School educators are left behind, unable to meet their basic needs.
School Board Director Wendell Harris has continued to let us down.  Although he said he supported raises for MPS employees, he flip-flopped on his position, stabbing MPS educators and students in the back. He ran for office as a champion of public schools and our students. His actions show he is anything but.

Investing in the frontline of our classrooms should be a priority. Together MTEA’s members will join with our colleagues across MPS to continue push for steps and raises.

Please reach out the school board directors who voted against the amendment. (Bonds, Harris, Phillips, Sain, and Voss). Let them know that you are outraged at, their unwillingness to prioritize attracting and retaining great educators. They need to put forward a bold budget initiative that invests in the districts most valuable resource–educators. And they need to do it now.

We need a budget that funds the frontline of our classrooms – not one that puts our educators as an afterthought.

Mark Sain
Board President
District #1
414-614-1774

Wendell J. Harris, Sr
District #2
414-587-1329

Michael Bonds
District #3
414-520-3890

Paula Phillips
District #7
414-475-8284

Carol Voss
District #8
414-852-5817

 

MPS Educator Provides Moving Testimony in Support of Budget th… from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

 

National Act 10 will devastate students, educators, and public schools across the nation

 

WalkerTrumpBWFeb. 2, 2017 – Today the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) President Kim Schroeder and Vice President Amy Mizilako released the following statement on Scott Walker’s recent visit to the White House to discuss a national Act 10 law.

Act 10 was and is part of a coordinated national campaign to destroy the public sector, and let unaccountable, corporate interests rule with even more privatization. The students in our state have suffered because of it.

From day one, Scott Walker’s Act 10 sought to undermine educators’ rights in the workplace and created instability for nearly one million public school students across the state.

In Wisconsin, Act 10 was immediately followed by the largest cuts to public education since the Great Depression. A national Act 10 law will devastate students, educators, and public schools across the nation.

Public education and workers’ rights are pillars of our democracy. Post Act 10, Wisconsin continues to experience an alarming crisis of teacher vacancies. Enrollments in Wisconsin’s teacher preparation programs continue to drop.

A national Act 10 law is meant to break the backs of public school students, educators, and our community.

Despite Scott Walker’s Act 10, unions will never stop standing up for the best interests of our students, parents, communities, and educators. The members of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association are highly motivated and organized. We will continue to fight every single day for the quality public schools every child deserves.

 

Congratulations to the 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Contest Winners! 

 

Congratulations to our 34th Annual - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Contest Winners!
The 2016 writing contest is co-sponsored by MTEA and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. This year, over 3,400 students entered the contest under the theme, “We Shall Overcome.” Educators, students and families are invited to attend the free public Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration on Sun., Jan 15, 2017 at 1:00pm at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The writing contest winners will be honored at the celebration along with winners of the speech and art contests. Plan to join us!

2016-Writing-Contest-Winners
Thank you to everyone who participated!

Writing Contest Finalists

Grades 2 – 3 Winning Essays

Grades 4 -5 Winning Essays

Grade 6 Winning Essays

Grades 7-8 Winning Essays

Grades 9-10 Winning Essays

Grades 11-12 Winning Essays

The winning contest entries will also be published in a special section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in January. All teachers and students who participated will receive buttons and certificates from the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association in January. Classroom projects can be picked up at the MTEA at 5130 W. Vliet St. during regular office hours. For questions, contact Melissa Zombor at zomborm@mtea.weac.org or 414-256-6752.

Take Action Before Jan. 17 DeVos Nomination Hearing!

Can you call committee members today? 

DeVos-Red-Duotone-Trump-Congress-Education-NomineeOn January 17 at 10:00 am the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will begin a hearing on the nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education. The DeVos agenda would dismantle public education and turn our schools over to private operators. 

For more background on Devos, click here to read President Kim Schroeder’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Op Ed.
It is critical that we join with the Network for Public Education (NPE) and other pro-public education organizations to express our strong concerns regarding her nomination.

Please take the time to call every member prior to the January 17 hearing. Below are committee members, along with their Washington phone number, fax numbers and local phone numbers.

A suggested phone script from the NPE is available below.

HELP-Committee-Contact-Sheet-

Sample Script: 

My name is xxxx and I am calling to let the Senator know that I would like him/her to oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
DeVos and her family heavily lobbied the Michigan legislature to shield the charter industry from greater oversight. She pushes for-profit charter schools and online schools, which consistently fail the students that they are supposed to serve.
I want my tax dollars to stay in my community to support my public schools. Betsy DeVos is bad for American education. She is unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education.

Schroeder: Betsy DeVos’ dark money connections and the dismantling of democracy

President-elect Donald J. Trump greets Betsy DeVos, his choice for education secretary, during his “USA Thank You Tour” at the DeltaPlex in Walker, Mich., on Dec. 9. (Photo: Associated Press)

President-elect Donald J. Trump greets Betsy DeVos, his choice for education secretary, during his “USA Thank You Tour” at the DeltaPlex in Walker, Mich., on Dec. 9.
(Photo: Associated Press)

By MTEA President, Kim Schroeder
December 15, 2016 | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Mark Twain said, “We believe that out of the public school grows the greatness of a nation.”

Public schools are a fundamental piece of American democracy, with 91% of all American students attending public schools. They remain the only educational institutions with the capacity, commitment and legal obligation to educate all students. Defunding our public schools would be a threat to the quality of life and well-being of children in every Zip code.

But now, this most cherished of American democratic institutions is facing its greatest threat with the appointment by president-elect Donald Trump of billionaire Betsy DeVos as education secretary. DeVos, a longstanding member of the GOP corporate elite, is known for some of the most aggressive failed free-market experiments seen in America’s public schools.

DeVos’ track record speaks clearly. If she is confirmed by the Senate, students who attend public elementary and secondary schools will see billions of dollars siphoned from their public schools into unaccountable private vouchers and charters.

Some Trump backers claim that they wanted to shake up the establishment, but DeVos comes from a family of well-financed billionaires tightly woven into the Republican, corporate-dominated political machine. They have helped fund every Republic presidential candidate for the last 50 years and are deeply embedded in the world of dark money groups such as Americans for Prosperity, ALEC, and Blackwater.

Betsy DeVos was one of the key players who pushed for Michigan’s charter school law, which passed in 1993. The disaster of Detroit’s private charter system is her legacy.

Nearly $1 billion of public dollars are siphoned away from Michigan public schools every year. According to the New York Times, “over the past five years, divisive politics and educational ideology and a scramble for money have combined to produce a public education fiasco that is perhaps unparalleled in the United States.” For-profit companies operate over 80% of Detroit’s charters, more than in any other state.

Critics may say that not all charter schools are bad, which may be true. But only a small percentage of private charters outperform traditional public schools. And private schools serve fewer English-language learners and children with special needs; expel a disproportionate number of minority students; and, even though they are funded with public dollars, are not held to the same legal standards as public schools. We should not consider funding these schools with public dollars unless they are held to the same standards as public schools.

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association represents the educators who work with the children and families of Milwaukee Public Schools. We cannot stand by as the private school profiteers cheer, waiting for DeVos to funnel every last dollar from our public schools into their bank accounts — without any strings attached. This single cabinet appointment could undo decades of advances in public education set up to protect the educational rights of every child in this nation.

To view the original article, click here. 

MTEA-R & MTEA Winter 2016 Community Involvement Project

Donations Needed for the Sojomtea-r-soujourner-and-mtea-logourner Family Peace Center

MTEA-R and the MTEA have selected Sojourner Family Peace Center as our partner for the Winter 2016 Community Involvement project. Advocating for and protecting local families escaping violence in their homes, Sojourner Family Peace Center’s services are an integral part of creating a safer community for all. This winter, we ask all members of the MTEA and MTEA-R to donate in one or more of the following ways.

Donate items for Sojourner Grab ‘N Go Bags

A Grab ‘N Go Bag is a 1 gallon Ziploc freezer bag containing the following new/unused items:mtea-r-grab-n-go-bag

  • 1 toothbrush
  • 1 3oz – 4oz tube of tooth paste
  • 1 bar of ivory or dove soap
  • 1 washcloth (white)
  • 1 8oz – 10oz shampoo
  • 1 8oz – 10oz conditioner
  • 1 Beanie Baby or comparable-size soft doll
  • 1 travel-sized Kleenex or tissues
  • 3oz – 5oz deodorant

Many of the items above are available at Target or Walgreens in the cosmetics travel section. Members can either buy supplies or build complete Grab N’ Go Bags. Both supplies and completed Grab N’ Bags can be dropped off at the MTEA Office during regular business hours throughout December and January.

Monetary Donations

  • Personal checks can be made payable to the Sojourner Foundation with “MTEA-R Support” noted on the Memo line. Donators who contribute and use the notation “MTEA-R Support” will NOT go on a solicitation list.Mail checks to:

Sojourner Foundation
619 W Walnut St
Milwaukee, WI 53212

  • Donate with a credit or debit card online via the Sojourner Family Peace Center website:
    1. Go to familypeacecenter.org
    2. Click the “Donate” link at the top of the page
    3. Scroll down and click on the yellow “Donate” button
    4. On the donation page, click “Add special instructions to the seller” and type in “MTEA-R Support”
    5. Enter your card information and click the blue “Donate Now” button

Sojourner Holiday Wish List

On the Donations link click on Holiday Wish list for other items in critical need

Donations are tax deductible.

As a 501(c)3, all donations to the Sojourner Foundation are tax deductible. Click here for a tax donation receipt form you can complete for your records.

Professional Development Opportunities for MTEA members

Three Credit Book StudyMKE center logo
Earn 3 graduate credits with your colleagues through this popular book study course. Credits are offered through Augustana College and are accepted by DPI for license renewal. Suggest
book titles by Jan. 17. Mandatory course orientation, Tues., Jan. 24 from 4:30-5:30pm. After the orientation, book study groups select their own four dates to meet. Cost for three credits is $355.
Click here to register


Restorative Practices
Learn how Restorative Practices can positively influence your classroom practice. Mon., Jan. 23 and Wed., Jan 25 from 4:30-6:30pm. Both sessions are required. Limit 18 members.
Click here to register



*NEW* Three Credit Online Courses
Earn 3 graduate credits by choosing from the three online courses listed below. The mandatory
orientation on Mon., Jan. 30 from 4:30-5:30pm will give course overviews, provide help navigating the online classroom and facilitate registration. Cost is $355-385 per course.
Refocus & Recharge: Strategies for Finding Balance in Teaching
Explore strategies to attain professional and personal balance, avoid teacher burnout and recharge.

Co-Teaching: Partners in Practice
Reflect on what you can bring to a co-teaching framework and aspects of co-teaching that are essential for success.

Achieving Success with English Language Learners
Gain strategies to better teach English language learners.

Click here to register


 

National Board Support Sessions
MTEA members seeking National Board Certification are invited to support sessions. Must be enrolled as a National Board candidate or renewal candidate. Mon., Jan. 23; Tues., Feb 28; Wed., March 29 and Wed., April 26 from 4:30-6pm.

Click here to register



*NEW* Strategies for Struggling Readers in the Elementary Grades

This interactive workshop offers strategies and suggestions for teaching foundational reading skills to struggling elementary students in small groups. Sat., Jan. 28 from 9:30-11:30am.

Click here to register



Degrees Not Debt!

Learn ways to save money on your student loans and options for loan forgiveness. Mon., Feb 6 or Wed., May 17 from 4:30-5:30pm.

Click here to register



Praxis

This course will prepare teachers to pass the Praxis assessment. Mon., Feb. 13 from 4:30-6pm. Members free; $75 fee for non-members.

Click here to register


*NEW* Constructing Relationships for Schools
Participate in activities and discussions centered around race, systemic inequity, oppression. Together we will work towards solutions that build community and relationships in and outside the classroom. Tues., Feb. 14 from 4:30-6pm.

Click here to register

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