There’s only one education champion in Wisconsin’s race for governor, and that’s Tony Evers

The following article, written by Amanda Litvinov, originally appeared on the NEA website EducationVotes.org:

Keep up with the latest election news on the WEAC Politics & Elections Board.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has taken to calling himself a “pro-education governor” — a laughable claim to educators in the state.

Here are just a few reasons to question Walker’s commitment to education:

  • During Walker’s first five years, he cut state funding for K-12 schools by $1.2 billion. It was a devastating blow to the state’s public schools.
  • Walker has worked hard to expand the state’s voucher program. Like Betsy DeVos, Walker supports diverting scarce public school funding to private schools through such schemes. Vouchers have not been shown to significantly improve student performance, but they have been shown to undermine student civil rights.
  • Under Walker, public university funding was slashed by $250 million.
  • Walker stripped educators and other public workers of collective bargaining rights, despite public outcry. Unions bargain for better working conditions for educators, as well as students’ learning conditions.

Walker’s record could not be more dismal on education. Standing in sharp contrast is his opponent, a proven champion of public education.

Dr. Tony Evers has decades of experience in public education, serving first as a classroom teacher, then as principal and the state superintendent of public instruction.  Here are his plans and priorities:

  • Evers’ budget plan increases public school funding by $1.4 billion. It restores the state’s commitment to covering two-thirds of public education funding, and increases the state’s share of special education funding to 60 percent.
  • Evers will freeze the school voucher program as a first step toward its eventual phase-out.
  • He strongly supports: community schools that help meet the needs of students and families in the local community; expanding mental health services; increased funding for education support professionals.
  • Evers plans to place in statute requirements for teacher voice to be part of all education-related decision and policy-making initiatives.
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“We – and I – have been waiting for this day for a long, long time,” Evers said at an election rally in September. “We’re going to take back control of our schools.”

Evers earned the recommendation of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the state’s largest educator union. Members like Kay Hansen, a special needs paraeducator and WEAC member, are highly enthusiastic about the upcoming election.

“As a special education paraprofessional in a rural, northeastern Wisconsin school, I see firsthand how Scott Walker’s huge cuts to public schools have hurt my most vulnerable students,” said Hansen.

“Dr. Evers, on the other hand, is a teacher himself and has vowed to restore state funding for my special education students.”

Evers listens to the concerns of educators like Hansen for their students and their profession.

“Our educators are on the front lines of these challenges, so when they speak up about bad education policy, deteriorating schools, or the massive teacher exodus we’re facing, they’re doing right by our kids,” said Evers at a gathering of WEAC educators in September.

“They’re reminding us that education — like democracy — doesn’t come for free. It must be nurtured, sustained, and invested in over time.”

This is an 11.0101(10)(b)(1) communication with WEAC members.

 

Check out these great WEAC election resources

WEAC has created more election resources than ever before as we approach the critical November 6 election. We have:

  • Created our Elections Resource Page at weac.org/election, a sort of clearinghouse of election information and resources.
  • Made it easy for you to find out who WEAC and NEA are recommending in your area, just by going to weac.org/vote.
  • Created a document at weac.org/clerks with phone numbers of your local clerks so you can call them and find out when early voting hours are in your community.
  • Created a document at weac.org/opportunities that lists many options for how you can get involved in the election.
  • Created Election Watch news alerts that you can receive in your inbox simply by signing up at weac.org/election-watch.

And, every day, we are gathering news articles and organizing them on our Politics and Elections Board at weac.org/election2018, to help you keep up with the latest news and developments.

The Politics and Elections Board is a collection of articles from news outlets such as the Washington Post, Politico, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and many other sources, as well as internal NEA, WEAC and Regional communications. It’s a great way to follow election news from a lot of different voices that you might otherwise miss. We scan the Internet daily and use a platform called Scoop.it to gather and organize these news articles and resources.

You can access this resource by clicking on this Politics and Election Board link or by going to: weac.org/election2018. For your convenience, we also are embedding it below:

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.”

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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Read more:

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.

Evers leads Walker by 7 points in new poll; Baldwin leads Vukmir by 13

According to a new Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics poll released on Wednesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers leads incumbent Governor Scott Walker by seven points, 50-43, among likely voters. Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin holds a 13-point lead over Republican State Senator Leah Vukmir among likely voters in the same poll, with 52 percent of support to Vukmir’s 39 percent.

The new poll reinforces one released last week in which Evers led Walker by 5 points and Baldwin led Vukmir by 11 points.

In the latest poll, 49 percent of likely voters said they think Wisconsin is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 44 percent who said it’s on the right track.

WEAC members can find out more about this fall’s elections at weac.org/elections. Also, find out who WEAC and the NEA are recommending in your area by going to weac.org/vote.

Read more:

Reuters/Ipsos/UVA poll shows leads for Tony Evers, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate show strong leads among likely voters according to a new Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics poll released on Wednesday. According to the poll, conducted Sept. 14-21, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers leads Walker by seven points among likely voters.

PBS News Hour: Education is at the heart of the Wisconsin race for governor

Education is front and center in the race for Wisconsin governor, and the PBS News Hour took a close look at the radically different approaches the two candidates – incumbent Scott Walker and State Superintendent Tony Evers – have on the subject. The report begins with Evers visiting a Milwaukee public school on the first day of school, while Walker is at a charter school in Waukesha.

Heather DuBois Bourenane, executive director of the Wisconsin Public Education Network, put it all in perspective, proudly displaying her T-shirt that says: “I Love My Public School and I Vote!”

“It’s about making sure that whomever gets elected is held accountable to the highest possible standard of doing the right things for kids in schools,” she says.

“Clearly, my lifelong journey has been all about public education and being a teacher and an administrator,” Evers says. “And, frankly, I have fought for our schools, instead of bringing them down.”

Watch the PBS News Hour report:

School concerns spur passions in Wisconsin governor’s race

In Wisconsin’s race for governor, 40 percent of voters say education is their first or second most important concern. The Republican incumbent, Gov. Scott Walker, is squaring off against the state’s longtime superintendent of schools, Tony Evers. Polls indicate the race is too close to call. Special correspondent Lisa Stark of Education Week reports.

WEAC Board recommends Evers for governor, Barnes for lieutenant governor and La Follette for secretary of state

The WEAC Board of Directors on Monday concurred with recommendations of the WEAC Political Action Committee and voted to recommend Tony Evers for Governor, Mandela Barnes for lieutenant governor and Doug La Follette for secretary of state. The General Election is Tuesday, November 6.

In making these recommendations, the Political Action Committee said:

WEAC Recommendation for Governor:

Tony Evers

Dr. Tony Evers met with the WEAC PAC this morning, Wednesday, August 15, and answered the Committee’s questions in his most direct, engaging, and genuine manner. Dr. Evers’ authentic manner will do us proud as we engage the struggle to restore Wisconsin values to the Governor’s office.

Specifically, Dr. Evers will place in statute requirements for teacher voice to be part of all education-related decision and policy-making initiatives.

In addition, Dr. Evers will advance a state budget that restores the State’s commitment to two-thirds public education funding with weighting for poverty. Special education funding will also be increased to 60%, with a trajectory established to reach a 90% funding level.

Dr. Evers spoke forcefully about the need for voucher transparency and seeks to freeze the program as a first step for the eventual phase-out of this unregulated and ineffective program.

Lastly, Dr. Evers answered in a most forthright manner that he strongly supports:

  • Community Schools Initiatives
  • The WTCS system
  • The WRS retirement plan
  • Mental Health Services
  • Increased funding for Educational Support Professionals

WEAC Recommendation for Lieutenant Governor

Mandela Barnes

Mandela Barnes met with the WEAC PAC Wednesday, August 15, and answered the Committee’s questions in a very professional and succinct manner. At the same time, Mr. Barnes came across very sincere and determined in speaking about the four main issues he will address in this historic campaign:

  • Addressing health care costs and needs.
  • Funding and supporting our public schools.
  • Addressing our State’s environment and natural resource treasures by fully staffing the departments that have regulatory authority and, where appropriate, enforce penalties. In addition, Mr. Barnes will seek to expand renewable energy opportunities.
  • Building a truly robust State economy.

Mr. Barnes is a proud graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools and has always supported MTEA goals and initiatives. During Mr. Barnes’s legislative career, Mr. Barnes has earned WEAC support and is most proud of all you do.


WEAC Recommendation for Secretary of State

Doug La Follette

Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette met with the WEAC PAC Wednesday afternoon, August 15, and answered the questions posed to him in a well informed and thorough manner. In answering the Committee’s questions, Mr. La Follette displayed great knowledge about our State.

Mr. La Follette has extensive knowledge about Wisconsin State government and indicates a belief in needing to partner with the State Treasurer. This partnership is critical in restoring the duties and responsibilities of these offices.

Lastly, Mr.La Follette shares our Wisconsin values and strongly supported public education and all of us during the Act 10 tragedy.

For more recommendations visit the WEAC Elections Page at weac.org/elections.

This is an 11.0101(10)(b)(1) communication with WEAC members.

Evers to face Walker on November 6

Tony Evers

State Superintendent Tony Evers will face Scott Walker in the November 6 election for Wisconsin governor. Evers handily won the eight-candidate Democratic Primary election Tuesday. On the Republican side, Walker easily defeated little known Robert Meyer of Sun Prairie.

In an email to supporters after winning the nomination, Evers said:

“This race is a choice between 4 more years of Scott Walker putting Scott Walker first, or a new governor focused on making decisions in the best interest of real Wisconsin families — who deserve access to good healthcare, safe roads and high quality public education.”

In other races on Tuesday:

  • Lieutenant Governor: Democrat Rep. Mandela Barnes of Milwaukee will be paired with Evers as the lieutenant governor candidate. Incumbent Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was uncontested in the primary.
  • State Treasurer: Businesswoman Sarah Godlewski, who was recommended by the WEAC Board, won the Democratic nomination for State Treasurer. The Republican candidate will be Travis Hartwig.
  • Secretary of State: Incumbent Doug La Follette won the Democratic nomination. Republican businessman Jay Schroeder will challenge La Follette in November.
  • U.S. Senate: Republican State Senator Leah Vukmir of Brookfield advanced to take on Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in November.

Read about other Primary Election results:

Election results: Wisconsin and Milwaukee-area August 2018 primary election

Wisconsin and Milwaukee-area residents head to the polls on August 14 to vote in a number of contested state and local primary races. Here’s who’s on the ballot.

More Resources:

Election Watch: WEAC Board recommends Sarah Godlewski for State Treasurer

Sarah Godlewski

The WEAC Board of Directors has concurred with the Political Action Committee’s recommendation of Sarah Godlewski for the Wisconsin State Treasurer constitutional office position. These recommendations are based upon the WEAC PAC screening all candidates who agreed to meet with the PAC committee.

The primary election is August 14, and the general election is November 6.

In recommending Godlewski, the WEAC PAC said:

Ms. Godlewski has a strong understanding of the important position the State Treasurer has within Wisconsin state government. Ms. Godlewski’s strength in understanding the role of a CFO and auditor when it comes to financial transparency and internal controls is most impressive. Wisconsin is one of the few states that does not use general accounting practices to prevent the occurrence of fraud and fiscal mismanagement within state government.

We believe Ms. Godlewski will be a strong advocate for our public schools when it comes to overseeing the general school fund that supports libraries, technology and energy efficiency in our public schools. In addition, Ms. Godlewski seeks to expand student loan forgiveness, as well as establishing low interest student loan repayment plans.

Find out more at Sarah Godlewski’s website.

This is an 11.0101(10)(b)(1) communication with WEAC members.