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, action opportunities you can take right now, and local action spotlights.
NEWS THAT MATTERS TO KIDS & PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS PROPOSE BREAKING UP MPS AND EXPANDING VOUCHERS
Senate Education Committee Chair Sen. Alberta Darling announced plans among her fellow State Senate Republicans to introduce sweeping legislation that would break up Milwaukee Public Schools and expand school vouchers to every student, regardless of family income. See our Facebook post about this proposed attack on Wisconsin’s largest school district here.
- GOV. EVERS PROPOSES USING $611M OF SURPLUS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
On January 27, Gov. Tony Evers announced a plan to use $611 million of our state’s historic surplus to increase per-pupil spending to $328 for every public school student in the state, and to address the shameful $1 billion+ annual funding gap for special education by increasing the special education reimbursement rate to 40%. Read our statement here, and sign our petition here.
- BLACK LIVES MATTER AT SCHOOL
IT’S BLACK LIVES MATTER AT SCHOOL WEEK! This is also the first week of Black History Month, and we encourage ourselves and our partners to recommit to closing Wisconsin’s shameful and persistent racial disparity gaps in education. Visit the BLM at School homepage, and consider following our friends in the Milwaukee Black Educators’ Caucus for resources and leadership.
- FEDS SUE SCHOOL DISTRICT OVER UNEQUAL GENDER PAY GAP
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Verona School District violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by paying nine women special education teachers less than a man in the same field, despite equal qualifications.
- STUDY ON RURAL TEACHER RETENTION
Scholars Jennifer Seelig and Katie McCabe have published new research in the Journal of Research in Rural Education on retaining rural teachers, suggesting the school-community relationships are key to retention.
Public schools are the heart of our communities!
- SENATE PASSES A.B./S.B. 411, THE ANTI-ANTIRACISM IN EDUCATION BILL
The State Senate on January 25 passed AB/SB411, which would prohibit public schools from teaching an equitable curriculum and would impose a 10% funding penalty on those districts if they are considered to have done so. Sen. Howard Marklein (R) joined all Democrats in voting against the bill as it passed 20-13. Gov. Evers has vowed to veto it. Read more about this bill here and by visiting WisconsinNetwork.org/Tracker.
- REP. EMERSON AND SEN. LARSON INTRODUCE VOUCHER TRANSPARENCY BILL
State Representative Jodi Emerson and State Senator Chris Larson announced a bill that would increase transparency for Wisconsin taxpayers regarding how many of their tax dollars are spent on private school vouchers. Watch our NW Regional Organizer’s reaction to this bill here! https://youtu.be/5dBIKjIy3t4
- WASB PASSES 90% SPECIAL ED. REIMBURSEMENT RESOLUTION
On January 19, the members of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) delegate assembly voted to amend, and then passed, a resolution calling to advocate for a 90% sum-sufficient reimbursement of special education funding for students with disabilities in public schools.Huge thanks to Superior Board Vice President (and Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools board member) Christina Kintop for speaking in favor of the amendment. In her words, “It’s time to stop begging for scraps and start demanding a robust ask. It’s time we receive as much funding as private schools [for students with disabilities].” See our Facebook post here.
- It has been a whirlwind first month of 2022, and not every legislative or education news item fits in this month’s Action Newsletter. If you don’t already, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.
- SIGN OUR PETITION: USE THE STATE SURPLUS TO INVEST IN KIDS
ADD YOUR NAME and call on Wisconsin leaders to meet the needs of Wisconsin students now!
- TAKE SPRING ELECTION ACTION WITH US
Please use our #VotePublic resources to help you get out the vote in your local community, educate voters, and get public education champions elected to school boards and local offices across the state! Our Election HQ is the hub of #VotePublic resources, and we also encourage you to use and adapt our 2022 Vote Public graphics in nonpartisan, non-candidate-specific, pro-public local efforts! Please contact Christian@WisconsinNetwork.org to get involved in #VotePublic2022!
- THEMED DIGITAL OFFICE HOURS
Our digital office hours are themed to help advocates get organized for the election season this month! Drop in on Mondays from 2-3pm for social media/graphics basics, Thursdays from 10-11am for Google tool basics, and Fridays from 1-2pm for forum, Zoom and other video basics. Email Christian@WisconsinNetwork.org for the link, and drop in anytime.
- PUBLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2022
PUBLIC SCHOOLS WEEKS is coming up from Feb. 21-25, 2022! Visit our toolkit and make a plan to show your appreciation for the public schools that unite our communities, the educators and staff who make them tick, and the students and families who bring them to life!
- SPRING WORKSHOPS FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION CHAMPIONS
We have a number of spring workshops on the horizon. Visit WisconsinNetwork.org/Calendar for the full slate. Next up: Election Organizing Basics for Public Education Champions on February 2 and Joining Forces to Fully Fund IDEA on February 16.
- SUMMER SUMMIT TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW!
THE SUMMER SUMMIT IS ON! Join us in Eau Claire on July 21—and get your ticket now so you can plan to make a trip out of it! WisconsinNetwork.org/Summit
LOCAL ACTION SPOTLIGHT: UPDATES FROM AROUND THE STATE
Be aware of a number of past and upcoming school board candidate forums in the region: La Crosse on January 31, Eau Claire on January 31, Menomonie on February 7. If you wish to get connected to NW public education advocacy, consider following the Northwoods Public Education Coalition on Facebook and reach out to Chris@WisconsinNetwork.org to set up a short 1:1 meeting!
The Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) is hiring a new executive director. We are grateful for the dedicated work of outgoing executive director Kim Kaukl to public schools across rural Wisconsin, and for Kim and WiRSA’s steady partnership with our Network in working to achieve and protect well-resourced, equitable, strong public education. Those interested in applying for this position can read more here—deadline March 16.
Public school supporters in Manitowoc, the League of Women Voters of Greater Green Bay and Champions of Green Bay Public Schools are sponsoring a series of candidate forums: January 26 for the Howard-Suamico school board race, which has a primary; January 27 for the Brown County Board of Supervisors; and January 31 for Green Bay City Council. The League and Champions also plan to hold forums prior to the general election in April, and government/social studies students will be invited to submit questions for candidates!
Our friends at the Waukesha School Board Candidate Forum Committee held a forum on January 26, moderated by Milwaukee area journalist Alan Borsuk.
Honestly? It’s been a really challenging start to the year. We appreciate the educators who have worked well beyond what is normally expected of them to support students and families in Wisconsin public schools, and on that note, we can’t get enough of this viral TikTok.
You won’t regret watching to the end. Wisconsin teachers, we see you and we appreciate ALL of the ways you are holding our entire state together right now. We pledge to fight harder and demand better from our leaders make sure your students and your schools have the resources they need!
PARTNER & ACTION RESOURCES