School teachers from across the state protest for a virtual fall semester

Tamia Fowlkes:

Protesters from four of Wisconsin’s largest cities gathered Monday in a National Day of Resistance caravan to demand that legislators and superintendents make the fall 2020 academic semester completely virtual.

Educator unions, community organizations and advocates from Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine traveled to the Capitol, the state Department of Public Instruction and the state Department of Health Services.

“We have districts marching teachers and students into an unsafe position in which teachers and students are likely to contract COVID,” said Angelina Cruz, president of Racine Educators United. “It is unsafe, because our schools are not fully funded in a way that can address all of the safety concerns we have.”

The caravan, which started in Kenosha, traveled through Racine and Milwaukee before arriving in Madison about 1 p.m. Teacher unions from Beaver Dam, Cudahy, Greendale, Middleton, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee and St. Francis also joined the effort to push for virtual school in the fall.

Similar marches and caravans calling for safe schools took place in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

Organizers of the Wisconsin caravan wrote a letter July 20 to Gov. Tony Evers, Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford Taylor and Secretary of Health Services Andrea Palm, detailing their dissatisfaction with the state’s resources and social distancing practices in schools.

The growing COVID-19 outbreak has some teachers fearing for their lives, organizers said.

A Milwaukee attorney is offering free wills to teachers returning to classrooms in the fall, noted Tanya Kitts-Lewinski, president of the Kenosha Education Association and co-organizer of the protests. “Educators are afraid, to say the least,” she said.

“Teachers have access to materials in their classrooms that are not available at home,” – despite million$ spent on Infinite Campus

Costs continue to grow for local, state and federal taxpayers in the K-12 space, as well:

Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property taxes:

Madison property taxes are 22% more than Middleton’s for a comparable home, based on this comparison of 2017 sales.

Fall 2020 Administration Referendum slides.

(Note: “Madison spends just 1% of its budget on maintenance while Milwaukee, with far more students, spends 2%” – Madison’s CFO at a fall 2019 referendum presentation.)

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [July, 2020]

Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021.

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21
1. 4K-12 enrollment: -1.6% (decrease) from 2014-15 to projected 2020-21
2. Total district staffing FTE: -2.9% (decrease) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
3. Total expenditures (excluding construction fund): +15.9% +17.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
4. Total expenditures per pupil: +17.8% +19.0%(increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
5. CPI change: +10.0% (increase) from January 2014 to January 202
6. Bond rating (Moody’s): two downgrades (from Aaa to Aa2) from 2014 to 2020
1. DPI WISEdash for 2014-15 enrollment; district budget book for projected 2020-21 enrollment
2. & 3.: District budget books
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

– via a kind reader (July 9, 2020 update).

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration