Wednesday, November 29, 2017

As If We Didn't Know...

Wisconsin’s anti-collective bargaining law has significantly lowered teacher pay, increased teacher turnover rates and likely harmed student achievement, new study finds
November 15, 2017 
From the Center for American Progress

Following the passage of Act 10, legislation championed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker that eliminated collective bargaining rights and slashed benefits for public-sector workers, Wisconsin’s public education system has seen significant harm. Teacher compensation and experience have dropped drastically and turnover rates have increased — all warning signs to Congress and other states considering similar legislation.

Enacted in 2011, Wisconsin’s Act 10 virtually eliminated collective bargaining rights and slashed benefits for most public-sector workers. Now, the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund has unveiled new research showing how damaging Wisconsin’s Act 10 has been to the state’s public education system. In Wisconsin’s public schools, teacher compensation and experience have dropped significantly and turnover rates have increased — all of which negatively impacts Wisconsin families and students. The analysis was unveiled on a press call Wednesday with Wisconsin Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling, Illinois Senate Pro Tempore Don Harmon (D), and Minnesota State Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL).

“Governor Scott Walker and Republican elected leaders in Wisconsin said that Act 10 would benefit schools and families alike. They couldn’t have been more wrong,” said David Madland, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, senior adviser to the American Worker Project, and co-author of the analysis. “What has actually happened is that Wisconsin’s public education system has suffered a major blow since anti-union legislation was enacted. An attack on teachers and other public sector workers doesn’t just hurt those employees — everyone in Wisconsin will bear this impact.”

“As a result of Act 10, teachers receive significantly lower compensation, turnover rates are much higher, and teacher experience has dropped significantly,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling. “Rather than encouraging the best and the brightest to become teachers and remain in the field throughout their career, Act 10 has demonized and devalued the teaching profession and driven away many teachers.”

Shelly Moore Krajacic, an English and drama teacher from Ellsworth, said consistency was also necessary for teachers as they try to “develop a team that can work together.”  She also said the report’s findings “directly parallels” her experiences teaching in a rural district. “We have seen turnover like we’ve never seen before,” she said, adding that with Act 10 and revenue caps, “there’s just not a mechanism to be able to recruit and maintain the best in any school in Wisconsin.”

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Public Funding of Private Education

Published in the Stevens Point Journal:

To the Editor:
There's a secret sweeping across Wisconsin: taxpayers are now directly responsible for funding private religious schools in their communities.

This year, taxpayers in the Stevens Point School District will pay $542,000 to fund private school vouchers in Stevens Point.  In Wausau, the number is $602,000; in Marshfield, $255.00; and in Wisconsin Rapids, $333.000.  Outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin taxpayers will pay almost $43 million to fund private school vouchers in their communities.

We can't afford two separate systems of education.  While other states have prioritized public education funding in the last decade, Wisconsin hasn't.  Forcing school boards to pay for vouchers results in higher property taxes or fewer opportunities for our children in public schools.

Government is supposed to be transparent, so let's end the secrecy.  We deserve to know how much we are paying to support private schools.  We know how much we are paying to support technical college, the county, the state, our municipalities, and our public schools.

Ask your state legislators to support Assembly Bill 267/Senate Bill 183, requiring your property tax bill to include information showing how much state aid was taken from your public schools to fund private school vouchers.

Jeri McGinley
Stevens Point

A Post 11/9 Warning

Click on this link to read an article about the German Bund rally in New York City in 1939.  It can happen here and possibly has.  The voices on the video sound all too familiar.

German American Bund parade on East 86th St., New York City, October 30, 1939

Book Sale Success!

Once again, the Book Sale Committee carried out a smoothly-run, highly productive book sale.  Together with help from WI/Nicaragua Partners, SPARTA volunteer shift workers, and an unexpected show of muscle power at closing from the Wolfpack, the operation went smoothly.  

Thanks to this huge effort, enough money was raised for us to continue our scholarship and grant programs.

A big shout-out to the Children's Museum for all their support.  They help us out in so many ways, from renting us the property for a tremendously generous rate, posting and advertising the sale, being very cooperative about scheduling, and supporting us in so many other ways.  A BIG THANKS!

See You In November

Stevens Point Area Retired Teachers’ Association
November Meeting Announcement
Agenda, minutes & news attached.
November 13, 2017 – 11:30 a.m.
Program – Mike Thompson of the
Central Wisconsin Never Forgotten Honor Flight 
The Moose Lodge
1025 Second St. N.
Stevens Point, WI
Meal - $11.00
Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Salad Bar, Roll, Coffee/Milk, Ice Cream and a Cookie
R.S.V.P. by November 9th - Noon
Call – Sherrilee at 715-344-0031or
Make Checks Payable to: The Moose Lodge