See all bi-weekly Wisconsin Public Education Network Action Newsletters on our website at WisconsinNetwork.org/Action-News. If you have news, actions, achievements, or updates you’d like us to include in our next newsletter, submit them at this form!
Read on for news that matters to Wisconsin kids and their public schools, action opportunities you can take right now, and local action spotlights.
NEWS THAT MATTERS TO KIDS & PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- PUBLIC SCHOOLS WEEK
It’s Public Schools Week 2021! What a year, huh? This week, folks across the state are showing much-needed positivity and appreciation for our public schools which are truly the heart of our communities. Visit our toolkit if you’re looking for ways to celebrate your public schools this week, and make sure you’re following us on Facebook, where we’re amplifying some great local efforts all week. Governor Tony Evers, who spent most of his career in education, is also celebrating Public Schools Week.
- PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS
Jill Underly and Deb Kerr took the top two spots in the spring primary election for State Superintendent of Public Instruction on February 16. We congratulate them on advancing to the general election and appreciate all seven candidates who ran in the primary for their courage and commitment in running for the state’s highest education office. Visit our State Superintendent Election HQ and our 2021 Election HQ for information on the upcoming general election on April 6 — and register for our second candidate forum with Dr. Kerr and Dr. Underly on March 11!
- GOV. EVERS RELEASES STATE BUDGET PROPOSAL
The governor released his state budget on Feb. 16. This budget as drafted includes some urgently needed resources for public schools, special and categorical funds, and would help kids, families, educators, and public schools recover from the COVID-19 crisis. View our release on Governor Evers’s budget here. “The Governor has done his part in putting forward a budget that puts kids first. Now let’s do ours in making sure that budget becomes a reality for them,” said Executive Director Heather DuBois Bourenane.
- WISCONSIN LOW IN K-12 FUNDING COMPARED TO OTHER STATES
The Wisconsin Policy Forum published a series of facts showing that Wisconsin’s overall per-pupil spending has significantly lagged behind other states in recent years: “Between 2011 and 2018, Wisconsin’s per-pupil spending increased by 4.3% (from $11,774 to $12,285). This increase ranked Wisconsin 49th in the nation in terms of percentage change during that period and compares to 18.9% nationwide.” This report was published in September 2020, as the school year began during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- JFC: FEDERAL COVID FUNDS SHOULD REWARD IN-PERSON
GOP leadership in the Joint Finance Committee voted to withhold the “discretionary” portion of Wisconsin’s federal stimulus funds from districts that did not provide face-to-face instruction.
- FRIDAY SOCIALS
Our Friday After-School Socials are off to a fun start! If you’re looking for a casual hour to cap off a busy week this winter/spring, register here. NOTE: If you register once, you’ll get the Zoom link for every Friday social — so go ahead and sign up if you think you might want to join us sometime!
- CONVERSATION WITH THE CANDIDATES FOR SUPERINTENDENT
We are holding a forum with State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidates Deb Kerr and Jill Underly on Thursday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m., cosponsored by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and moderated by Tony Chambers, Director of Equity, Inclusion and Innovation, Center for Healthy Minds and Healthy Minds Innovations at UW-Madison. Register here to join us live as we dive deeper into what the #VotePublic Pledge means to each of these candidates and get to know the two remaining contenders for State Superintendent!
- EVENT SCHEDULE AT-A-GLANCE:
Please note that you typically must register for our events by three hours before the event begins. Registrations close at about that time so that we can make sure everyone who needs to attend gets the link to do so. Zoom links are sent out about 90 minutes prior to the start of an event.
- THURSDAY, February 25, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.: School Finance 102 with Dr. Julie Underwood and DPI’s Bob Soldner. Part of our 2021 Closing the Gaps Workshop Series, a deeper dive into particular school funding issues in Wisconsin. Register here.
- THURSDAY, March 4, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.: Letter to the Editor/Op-Ed Workshop with Matt Rothschild, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and former editor and publisher of The Progressive magazine. Register here.
- THURSDAY, March 11, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.: Superintendent Candidate Forum. Register here.
- THURSDAY, March 18, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.: Storytelling Testimony Workshop ahead of the budget hearings, cohosted with the ACLU of Wisconsin. Register here.
- OTHER STATEWIDE FORUMS
- [upcoming] Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition Superintendent Candidate Forum, March 4. Register here.
- [upcoming] Wisconsin Policy Forum Friday Forum: State Superintendent Candidates, March 19. Register here.
- [pre-primary] Wisconsin PTA Candidate Forum: Watch here.
- [pre-primary] State DPI Superintendent Candidate Forum: What’s at Stake for Black and Brown Communities? Watch here.
- MARQUETTE LAW INFORMATIONAL SESSION
Marquette Law School is holding a What Is Being Learned in K-12 Education in this Difficult Year? session this coming Tuesday, March 2, at 12:15 p.m. Register here.
LOCAL ACTION SPOTLIGHT: UPDATES FROM AROUND THE STATE
- BUDGET ACTION PLANS
We teamed up with the ACLU of Wisconsin to host a Budget Justice Action Workshop with local leaders from around the state on Saturday, February 20. The event is archived on our calendar page as well as our Budget HQ page under “Take Local Action.”
“Public School Proud” signs are being “planted” all over the Chippewa Valley! Our Northwest team and the Chippewa Valley Area Retired Educators are celebrating Public Schools Week by planting crops of positivity outside public schools all over the Eau Claire area.
GRandparents United for Madison Public Schools (GRUMPS) is teaming up with the East Side Progressives to hold a candidate forum for State Superintendent and Madison Board of Education candidates on March 9.
Cool news from the Weyauwega Fremont School District! The district has changed the high school mascot to the Warhawks.
Schools and Communities United in Milwaukee, along with Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), Southside Organizing Center (SOC), Hmong American Women’s Association (HAWA), African American Roundtable (AART), Black Leaders Organizing for Change (BLOC) & the ACLU of Wisconsin are hosting Milwaukee Public Schools Board of Education Candidate Forums on March 3 and 4.
Spotlight on the Fox Cities Advocates for Public Education (FCA4PE). Advocates in the Fox Valley have organized a series of meetings with their state legislators to open up a productive dialogue and face-to-face relationship with decision-makers. Carol from FCA4PE spoke with us on Feb. 16 to explain how they’re organizing this work.
Thanks, Carol and FCA4PE for your leadership, which local advocates and teams across the state can follow!
PARTNER & ACTION RESOURCES