MTEA President Kim Schroeder Reacts to Proposed $90 Million Cut to Proposed K-12 Budget: Our Students Will Suffer

MTEA President Kim Schroeder speaks to a crowd outside the Milwaukee Joint Finance Committee public hearing on the two-year state budget, where overwhelmingly public education supporters demanded a per pupil increase for K12 funding (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

MILWAUKEE – June 6, 2017 – Today the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) president, Kim Schroeder, released comments on Assembly Republicans’ alternative budget proposal that would cut $90 million from the Governor’s already modest K-12 budget and reduce the per pupil funding by $50 per student.

The following statement can be attributed to MTEA President Kim Schroeder:

“Since Walker’s Act 10, Wisconsin students have experienced the greatest cuts to public education since the great depression. The decision to disinvest in public education has resulted in severely understaffed and under-resourced schools, not just in Milwaukee but across the state. From Milwaukee to Shawano, educators are supplementing a significant portion of their classroom materials with funds from their own pockets.


“Wisconsin students and educators cannot suffer one more cut. In a district with over 75,000 students, reducing the Governor’s budget proposal by $50 per student would result in $4 million less to spend on resources that have a direct impact on our students.


“All children have the right to attend fully funded public schools with professional educators, class sizes small enough for one-on-one attention, libraries, safe playground equipment for recess, current technology and textbooks. Every Wisconsin student, regardless of their zip code, needs Wisconsin legislators to commit to at least $200 in per pupil.

“Budgets are about choices. Over and over again we heard parents, educators, and community members testify in support of increased funding for public schools. We call on state legislators to choose our children in this state budget and fully fund our public schools with a minimum of $200 in per pupil funding.”

For over 50 years, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association has been a champion for public education in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association represents over 4,600 educators and support personnel who make Milwaukee’s public education system possible. MTEA, an affiliate of the National Education Association and is the largest educator local in Wisconsin. Learn more at mtea.weac.org.

Statement from the Wisconsin Public Education Network (WPEN) can be found here.

Public education advocates painted a banner in February calling for the full funding of public schools in Wisconsin (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

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Harvard grad’s commencement speech lauds education, lifts spirits and goes viral

Donovan Livingston, a master’s of education graduate at Harvard University, used spoken-word poetry to express his passion for teaching and learning in this powerful commencement address at Harvard.

WEAC President-Elect Ron Martin said, “Wow! I loved Donovan’s speech and I was definitely moved to tears by his speech. If you haven’t watched it yet, you need to!”

Livingston concluded by expressing his passion for unleashing students’ potential through education:

“At the core, none of us were meant to be common.
We were born to be comets,
Darting across space and time —
Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.
A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened here —
An indelible impact that shook up the world.
Are we not astronomers — looking for the next shooting star?
I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —
Tribulations into telescopes,
So a child can see their potential from right where they stand.

“Education is no equalizer —
Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.
So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices
Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.
Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.
I’ve been a Black hole in the classroom for far too long;
Absorbing everything, without allowing my light escape.
But those days are done. I belong among the stars.
And so do you. And so do they.
Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness
For generations to come.
No, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.
Lift off.”

Pop quiz! What can you do to turn the tide on overtesting?

Recently, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia gave us a pop quiz.

In 2001, before No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed, there were six federally mandated tests per student. Guess how many there are now.

  • 6
  • 8
  • 10
  • 17

The answer: 17

SEVENTEEN federally-mandated tests. On TOP of all the other state and local assessments.

Lily stated the obvious when she added, “But that’s not even the real issue.”
So, what is? It’s the high stakes that are tied to those tests and the lack of attention on what really matters – the opportunities we’re providing our students across ALL zip codes. That is the real heart of the problem.

Take Action Today for Your Students!
Share your school and classroom experience.

This is the perfect time to get activated, because Congress is reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind.


This is a HUGE deal that will dictate not only the amount of time students spend on testing, but also the resources like advanced courses,
extracurriculars, and access to school counselors – they receive.

Need to Know:

  • Since being adopted, No Child Left Behind has made no real progress in closing achievement and opportunity gaps for our students. Instead, it has perpetuated a system that delivers unequal opportunities and uneven quality to America’s children.
  • This system of unequal opportunity makes it impossible for educators to do what is most important: instill a love of learning in their students…to focus on the WHOLE child.

NEW! Get real-time updates & calls to action on ESEA.*
Text the word STUDENTS to 83224

*Mobile alerts from NEA. Periodic messages. NEA does not charge for these updates, but your carrier’s message & data rates may apply. Text STOP to 83224 to stop receiving messages. Text HELP to 83224 for more information.

Report: $54 million in charter school fraud

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García: ‘New York Charter school advocates continue to push for an elimination of caps yet refuse to install real oversight in charter schools to prevent fraud’

In its recent series of state-specific reports exposing millions of dollars in suspected charter industry fraud, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) continues to uncover massive oversight deficiencies and financial irregularities. CPD’s latest installment, released with the Alliance for Quality Education, estimates as much as $54 million in suspected charter school fraud in 2014 in New York state, which has spent $1.29 billion in public funding for New York City charter schools alone.

Despite the tremendous investment of public dollars, New York has failed to implement a system that adequately monitors charters for fraud, waste and mismanagement, according to the CPD report. While charter schools are subject to reporting requirements and monitoring by oversight bodies, only the New York State Comptroller’s Office audits charter schools with any regularity. The office audited only 51 charter schools in the past five years, out of the more than 200 charter schools in the state.

“These findings are truly disturbing,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “While some charter school officials spend tens of thousands of public dollars on staff trips to the Bahamas from funds diverted from traditional public schools, New York state’s 90,000 charter school students may not be getting the resources they need and may be missing out on the great education these corporate charter school companies promised.”

Charter school advocates continue to push New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio to raise or eliminate caps on charter schools so that even more New York schools can be handed over to charter school operators.

“The audacity of some of these operators—to push for more taxpayer dollars while mismanaging the funds they’ve already received—is really astonishing,” said Eskelsen García. “Everyone knows that oversight doesn’t happen when an entity is policing itself. If New York state is going to continue to allow hundreds of charters to exist within its borders, legislators need to commit the resources to provide regular audits and real oversight. It’s ridiculous to consider lifting charter school caps until operators have a firm oversight structure in place and are transparent with their expenditures and practices.”

CPD recommends that the state of New York’s oversight agencies, including the Comptrollers’ offices for New York state and New York City, conduct targeted fraud audits on charter schools once every three years. The state should also impose a moratorium on new charter schools and refrain from increasing the charter school cap until the state oversight system is adequately reformed.

CPD “is shining a spotlight on multiple charter school operators and we’re seeing a sad trend form in terms of corrupt practices,” said Eskelsen García. “Parents and communities deserve to know an operator’s history when considering whether to send their children to these schools. They also deserve transparency so they know what their tax dollars are being spent on, and more importantly, what their money is not being spent on—students.”