See all monthly 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 and action opportunities you can take right now.
NEWS THAT MATTERS TO KIDS & PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- GOVERNOR INVESTS $110 MILLION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Governor Evers committed $110 million of federal coronavirus relief funds to public school districts in Wisconsin in early December, following up on a commitment he made to do so when signing the 2021-23 state budget.
- JOINT FINANCE COMMITTEE LEFT SOME FEDERAL FUNDS IN JEOPARDY
In December, the U.S. Department of Education approved 95% of Wisconsin’s plan for spending ESSER III funding, but 5% was in limbo because it was tied to an “in-person learning” requirement that violated the intent of the funding. This 5% amounted to $77 million. Read more from the WI Department of Public Instruction and Superintendent Underly here, from December 6, and see our action alert on Facebook here.
Read our executive director Heather DuBois Bourenane’s op-ed in the Wisconsin Examiner here.
- ASSEMBLY EDUCATION COMMITTEE CHAIR NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION
Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, is not seeking re-election this year. Other state lawmakers who announced that they will not run for re-election include Rep. Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point).
- FEATURE STORY EXPLORES INDEPENDENT CHARTER ALIGNMENTS IN WISCONSIN
Ruth Conniff of the Wisconsin Examiner published a feature article on a new tribal-college-authorized charter school in Wisconsin, its ties to political movements, and the use of public funds on privately-operated schools. The piece was picked up nationally by RawStory and Diane Ravitch, and the original version was posted here.
- BLUE RIBBON BIRTHDAY BASH!
Join public education advocates from across Wisconsin at our winter social on Friday, January 14 at 6pm! This free, virtual winter social is the Blue Ribbon Birthday Bash, marking the anniversary of the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding (established December 2017, published January 2019). Register here!
- DIGITAL OFFICE HOURS 2022
We’re expanding our drop-in office hours this year to happen three times a week so advocates and local teams can make the most of our Network and its resources. Email Christian@WisconsinNetwork.org anytime to get the standing link to these office hours, and stop by with questions, ideas, concerns and requests for help! We expect to make the most of these office hours as the 2022 elections approach—local organizers looking to host candidate forums, distribute voter education information, or anything else are welcome to come anytime and make their tasks a little more manageable!
- SCHOOL BOARD SUPPORT NETWORK
A loose network of peer support for pro-public school board members (current, former, and potential), and other public school champions directly involved in school board campaigns or matters, is underway. If you’re interested in getting involved, contact HDB@WisconsinNetwork.org!
We also have a landing page/blog post for school board champions to access helpful resources and toolkits this year. Visit it on our website at WisconsinNetwork.org/blog/schoolboard2022.
- 2022 SPRING ELECTIONS
Please join us in getting out the vote this spring. School board and other local elections are incredibly consequential for kids in Wisconsin’s public schools, and we know education is one of the most poignant election issues nationwide. We will need local volunteers and leaders to hold nonpartisan “days of action,” distribute nonpartisan election materials, take text banking shifts, answer questions, and help us craft local messages that will resonate in your community. Please contact Christian@WisconsinNetwork.org if you can be one of your community’s local election leads, and be ready for more information coming very soon.
- 2022 CALENDAR + EYE ON SUMMER SUMMIT
Our calendar for the new year is live at WisconsinNetwork.org/Calendar. Check back regularly as our Accountability in Action Series (focused on school privatization issues) and other workshops materialize very soon—the calendar is updated frequently with new dates, RSVP pages and archives!
Note: The 8th Annual Summer Summit will take place in Eau Claire on July 21, 2022. Registration will be live soon!
If you or someone you know would like to lead a session that is in line with our theme, “Public Schools Unite Us,” we are accepting proposals until January 14. Submit a proposal here. Approved sessions will align with our shared values and the Summit theme.
If you plan to attend the Summit (and we hope you do!), at least one local hotel in Eau Claire is blocking rooms for registered participants at a conference rate, and we are planning an agenda of informative workshops, keynote speakers, and social/networking opportunities in the Eau Claire community. We look forward to spending time with hundreds of advocates there!
PARTNER & ACTION RESOURCES