WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Steven Walters

ow much do election-year firewalls cost to build? For the state’s largest teachers union, $1.57 million.
That’s how much the Wisconsin Education Association Council said last week it will spend trying to make sure four Democratic state senators are re-elected – enough, WEAC hopes, to keep a Democratic majority in the 33-member state body.
Although there are 15 Democratic candidates running for the state Senate, and 80 Democrats running for the state Assembly, the latest WEAC report shows that the teachers union is placing what amounts to an “all in” bet on saving just four Democratic senators who are finishing their first terms.
In an Oct. 25 report to the Government Accountability Board, the 98,000-member union reported that it will independently:
• Spend the most – $440,044 – to try to re-elect Democratic Sen. Jim Sullivan of Wauwatosa in the 5th district. WEAC’s pro-Sullivan spending will total $327,939; the remaining $112,105 will be used against Sullivan’s Republican challenger, Republican Rep. Leah Vukmir, also from Wauwatosa.

Amazing and something to consider when school spending is discussed.

Former WEAC leader and longtime teachers advocate Morris Andrews dies

Mitchell Schmidt: Andrews became executive director of WEAC, the state’s largest teachers union, in 1972. At the time, the association of 40,000 teachers had little involvement in state politics or lobbying efforts. But that soon changed. Andrews was considered a force to be reckoned with in the statehouse halls and advocated for teachers, bus drivers, … Continue reading Former WEAC leader and longtime teachers advocate Morris Andrews dies

Financial Status of NEA Affiliates, WEAC Membership Declines

Mike Antonucci: Financial Status of All NEA State Affiliates. In-depth analysis will follow in the weeks to come, but for now here is the table containing total membership, total revenues, surplus or deficit status and net assets for all 52 National Education Association “state” affiliates for 2012-13 Related: $1.57M for four State Senators.

Local boards key to WEAC’s fate

Wisconsin State Journal:

Good teachers are more important than good teachers unions.
That’s worth noting as the Wisconsin Education Association Council loses membership and explores a possible merger.
WEAC has been hurt by Act 10, Gov. Scott Walker’s strict limits on collective bargaining for most public workers. Act 10 means most teachers across Wisconsin are no longer required to pay dues to a union. The legislation also prompted many aging teachers to retire sooner than planned.
WEAC membership has fallen from nearly 100,000 two years ago to around 70,000, with further decline expected as contract extensions in cities such as Madison, Janesville and Milwaukee expire.

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators.

After Act 10, WEAC sees hope in local teacher advocacy

Erin Richards:

Unions actively reorienting themselves – even in states without Act 10-like legislation in place – are mobilizing teachers around curriculum and instruction issues. That could mean organizing teachers to champion what’s working best in the classroom by bringing new ideas to the school board, or working to get the community to support specific practices.
It means working more collaboratively, and offering solutions.
But collaboration can break down over ideological differences regarding what’s best for kids. Or teachers.
For example, while WEAC has supported a statewide evaluation system for educators in recent years, it has resisted emphasizing test scores in such evaluations. Others argue that robust data on test-score performance can say a lot about a teacher’s quality and should be used to make more aggressive decisions in termination or promotion.
Asking teachers to take a more active role in their union could also become an additional stress.

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators.

Weaker WEAC meets new reality

Wisconsin State Journal:

The conversation covered much ground, but mostly we talked about WEAC’s new reality, and the daunting task facing a union that just lost a huge political battle in a decisive way.
Some highlights:

  • Did WEAC make a mistake in endorsing Kathleen Falk so early in the process? “She was a strong and viable candidate,” Bell said. “And we needed to make sure there was another voice in the arena.”
  • What does the future hold for WEAC? “Every election has lessons,” she said. “Scott Walker is going to be in office for at least two more years, and we have to figure out how we can work with that.”
  • Can WEAC sustain its membership in a post-Act 10 world? Burkhalter said membership was about 90,000 before Walker’s strict limits on collective bargaining for most public workers kicked in. Once all the current teacher union contracts expire and individual teachers are free to choose whether to pay dues or not, WEAC hopes to retain 60,000 to 70,000 of that base, he said.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators. Much more on WEAC.

WEAC has no regrets about failed Walker recall

Meg Jones:

Since the collective bargaining measure was enacted last year, WEAC’s membership has dropped from around 90,000 to 70,000, but the remaining membership became energized by the recall. Union leaders are hopeful that passion will continue as the union rallies around issues such as public school funding. The union is working on membership drives this summer.
“I think we will be smaller but stronger,” Bell said.
Burkhalter estimated 25% to 30% of WEAC members voted for Walker in 2010 while on Tuesday about 5% voted for the governor.
“He really united our membership,” said Burkhalter.
Bell said Walker prevailed in the recall partly because many voters don’t like recall elections and some believed recalls should only be used in cases of malfeasance. She admitted public employees were easy targets for the governor and Republican lawmakers because of generous pensions and benefits, which Bell noted were mostly a result of former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson’s qualified economic offer law that gave better benefits in return for salary concessions to public school employees several years ago.

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators.

Recall WEAC “When School Children Start Paying Union Dues, I’ll Start Representing Schoolchildren” – Al Shanker

the Recall WEAC website is live, via a kind reader’s email:

Reforming Education And Demanding Exceptional Results in Wisconsin (READER-WI) is a non-partisan organization devoted to reforming and improving the education system in Wisconsin.
We are facing a critical time here in Wisconsin. Where is education going in the 21st century? Will we have an educational system designed to improve educational outcomes for all children in all income brackets and of all ethnicities? Or will we have an educational system designed to maximize Big Labor revenues, and designed to protect the worst teachers while driving out the best?
Click on the tabs at the top of this page to learn more about the crisis we are in. Then, join us in our fight to reform education. Children can no longer be used as political pawns. Let’s make a real, positive difference.

More, here, including the beltline billboard due tomorrow.
Al Shanker: Blekko or Clusty.
Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators, Sparks fly over Wisconsin budget’s labor-related provisions and Teachers Union & (Madison) School Board Elections.
Joe Tarr:

The quote has been repeated many times, often by conservatives attacking unions as the bane of public education. Joe Klein used it in a June 2011 article in The Atlantic.
However, the Albert Shanker Institute made an extensive effort to find the source of the quote but failed. In a blog post, the Institute concluded: “It is very difficult — sometimes impossible — to prove a negative, especially when it is something like a verbal quotation…. So, we cannot demonstrate conclusively that Albert Shanker never made this particular statement. He was a forthright guy who was known for saying all manner of interesting and provocative things, both on and off the record. But we believe the quote is fiction.”
The Institute speculates that the quote might be a distortion of a speech Shanker gave in the 1970s at Oberlin College, where he said, “I don’t represent children. I represent teachers… But, generally, what’s in the interest of teachers is also in the interest of students.”
The Wikipedia entry lists other quotations from Shanker that are not disputed, including some that would fit perfectly with the stated goals of READER-WI.
Such as this one: “A lot of people who have been hired as teachers are basically not competent.”
And this one: “It is as much the duty of the union to preserve public education as it is to negotiate a good contract.”

School choice advocates spend freely on politics, WEAC Spending

Susan Troller

A rural legislator who received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from out-of-state school choice advocates took flak back home for supporting expansion of a Milwaukee voucher program when his own school district is struggling financially.
According to a story in the Sauk Prairie Eagle last week, an aide to Rep. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, had to use a gavel to bring order back to a budget listening session at Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital on May 6.
Marklein, a freshman Republican legislator, was asked if campaign contributions were influencing his support for two pieces of recent school choice legislation which provide public tax dollars for families to spend in private schools in Milwaukee. This, at the same time that the River Valley School District, which Marklein represents, has been forced to cut programs and staff and is facing more cuts in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget.

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators by Steven Walters:

How much do election-year firewalls cost to build? For the state’s largest teachers union, $1.57 million.
That’s how much the Wisconsin Education Association Council said last week it will spend trying to make sure four Democratic state senators are re-elected – enough, WEAC hopes, to keep a Democratic majority in the 33-member state body.
Although there are 15 Democratic candidates running for the state Senate, and 80 Democrats running for the state Assembly, the latest WEAC report shows that the teachers union is placing what amounts to an “all in” bet on saving just four Democratic senators who are finishing their first terms.

Wisconsin Teachers Union Tops Lobbying Expenditures in 2009, more than Double #2

Missing Wisconsin senators rely heavily on union campaign dollars

Daniel Bice and Ben Poston:

The 14 Wisconsin Democratic senators who fled to Illinois share more than just political sympathy with the public employees and unions targeted by Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.
The Senate Democrats count on those in the public sector as a key funding source for their campaigns.
In fact, nearly one out of every five dollars raised by those Democratic senators in the past two election cycles came from public employees, such as teachers and firefighters, and their unions, a Journal Sentinel analysis of campaign records shows.
“It’s very simple,” said Richard Abelson, executive director of District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We have interests, and because of that, we attempt to support candidates who support our interests. It’s pretty hard to find Republicans who support our interests these days.”
Critics of Walker’s budget-repair bill say it would mean less union money for Democrats. That’s because the legislation would end automatic payroll deductions for dues and would allow public employees to opt out of belonging to a union.

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators.

The pandemic has eroded democracy and respect for human rights

The Economist: People were hungry during lockdown. So Francis Zaake, a Ugandan member of parliament, bought some rice and sugar and had it delivered to his neediest constituents. For this charitable act, he was arrested. Mr Zaake is a member of the opposition, and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has ordered that only the government may … Continue reading The pandemic has eroded democracy and respect for human rights

“I’ve heard parents say that they feel like their children have wilted,”

David Wahlberg: Suicides are up in Dane County this year compared to last year, especially among youth and young adults, with mental health providers seeing a link to COVID-19 and a related uptick in treatment for depression. The county had 57 suicides this year as of last week, more than the total of 54 for … Continue reading “I’ve heard parents say that they feel like their children have wilted,”

West Ada cancels school Monday after more than 650 teachers call out sick

CBS2: Hundreds of teachers are taking a sick day for Monday, according to the West Ada School District, one day after the board voted in favor of a hybrid schedule. A spokeswoman for the district says out of 2,145 classroom teachers, 652 have taken a sick day for Monday. The sick calls leave approximately 500 … Continue reading West Ada cancels school Monday after more than 650 teachers call out sick

California teacher unions fight calls to reopen schools

Howard Blume and Laura Newberry: As parents express widespread dissatisfaction with distance learning, two influential California teachers unions are pushing against growing momentum to reopen schools in many communities, saying that campuses are not yet safe enough amid the pandemic. Leaders with the California Teachers Assn., with 300,000 members, and United Teachers Los Angeles, representing … Continue reading California teacher unions fight calls to reopen schools

San Francisco Mayor Urges Opening Schools

Today I issued a statement on the need for our School District to focus on reopening our public schools, not renaming them. To address inequities, we need to get our kids back in the classroom. pic.twitter.com/nHnauVZzFe — London Breed (@LondonBreed) October 16, 2020 Related: Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a … Continue reading San Francisco Mayor Urges Opening Schools

Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a ‘last resort’

Elizabeth Beyer: She said the curriculum offered to students was not intended to be delivered digitally and her children now have online meetings with their teachers for five hours each week compared to 30 hours of live teaching prior to the pandemic. “We need to give parents options so those who feel safe sending their … Continue reading Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a ‘last resort’

As the Governor and the Mayor Disagree, NYC Parents and Educators Search for Clear Guidance on In-Person Schooling

Zoe Kirsch: For Brooklyn parent Priscilla Santos, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Tuesday announcement that he was releasing his own plan for temporary New York City COVID-related school closures dispelled any lingering remnants of faith she had in political leadership after a bleak, confusing summer. Santos is the special education representative for her district’s Community … Continue reading As the Governor and the Mayor Disagree, NYC Parents and Educators Search for Clear Guidance on In-Person Schooling

Covid-19 and Madison’s K-12 World

Hi, I’m cap tines K-12 education reporter Scott Gerard. Today. Our cap times IDFs panel will discuss how will COVID-19 change K-12 education. I’m lucky to have three wonderful panelists with me to help answer that question. Marilee McKenzie is a teacher at Middleton’s Clark street community school, where she has worked since the school was in its planning stages.

She’s in her [00:03:00] 11th year of teaching. Dr. Gloria Ladson billings is a nationally recognized education expert who was a U w Madison faculty member for more than 26 years, including as a professor in the departments of curriculum and instruction, educational policy studies and educational leadership and policy analysis.

She is also the current president of the national Academy of education. Finally dr. Carlton Jenkins is the new superintendent of the Madison metropolitan school district. He started the districts top job in August, coming from the Robbinsdale school district in Minnesota, where he worked for the past five years, Jenkins began his career in the Madison area.

Having worked in Beloit and at Memorial high school in early 1990s before moving to various districts around the country. Thank you all so much for being here. Mary Lee, I’m going to start with you. You’ve been working with students directly throughout this pandemic. How has it gone? Both in the spring when changes were very sudden, and then this fall with a summer to reflect and [00:04:00] plan, it’s been interesting for sure.

Um, overall, I would say the it’s been hard. There has been nothing about this have been like, ah, It’s really, it makes my life easy. It’s been really challenging. And at the same time, the amount of growth and learning that we’ve been able to do as staff has been incredible. And I think about how teachers have moved from face-to-face to online to then planning for.

Our Times

Pupils start the new school year in Taez, Yemen pic.twitter.com/O52B5idWij — James Denselow (@jamesdenselow) October 8, 2020 “Many (educators) are at a breaking point,” said @WEAC president Ron Martin. “Hearing this in October is very alarming, and if schools don’t start looking at this, there are going to be long-term effects on education.” My latest, … Continue reading Our Times

Lockdowns Intended To Preserve Our Health Are Making Us Poorer and Angrier

JD Tuccille: The U.S. economy may be slowly pulling itself out of the doldrums inflicted by social distancing and government lockdown orders promoted as efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, but many Americans continue to suffer. Half of Americans who lost their job because of the pandemic are still out of work, and the … Continue reading Lockdowns Intended To Preserve Our Health Are Making Us Poorer and Angrier

Stats Hold a Surprise: Lockdowns May Have Had Little Effect on COVID-19 Spread

Jay Richards, William Briggs and Douglas Axe: In 1932, Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis famously called the states “laboratories of democracy.” Different states can test out different policies, and they can learn from each other. That proved true in 2020. Governors in different states responded to the COVID-19 pandemic at different times and in different … Continue reading Stats Hold a Surprise: Lockdowns May Have Had Little Effect on COVID-19 Spread

Civics: High court strikes down Michigan Governor Whitmer’s emergency powers; gov vows to use other means

Beth LeBlanc, Craig Mauger and Melissa Nann Burke: In a landmark ruling with far-reaching implications, the Michigan Supreme Court decided Friday that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer violated her constitutional authority by continuing to issue orders to combat COVID-19 without the approval of state lawmakers. The state’s high court ruled 4-3 that a state law allowing the … Continue reading Civics: High court strikes down Michigan Governor Whitmer’s emergency powers; gov vows to use other means

Commentary on Taxpayer supported Madison Schools’ compensation practices (and budget)

Scott Girard: The budget vote this summer took place in a June 29 public meeting, and district spokesman Tim LeMonds pointed to a mention in the June 26 staff newsletter, which he called “the primary mechanism used for communicating to all staff.” In that newsletter, a “Budget Update” section on page two includes a mention … Continue reading Commentary on Taxpayer supported Madison Schools’ compensation practices (and budget)

Schools reopen, no surge

Joanne Jacobs: Florida reopened schools for in-person teaching in August. The feared coronavirus surge didn’t happen, reports a team of USA Today reporters. “The state’s positive case count among kids ages 5 to 17 declined through late September after a peak in July. More than half of Florida families returned their children to school in-person, while the rest chose remote … Continue reading Schools reopen, no surge

Fact-check: Does Joe Biden want to end school choice?

Statesman: What Biden says about school choice The Biden campaign said he’s firmly against using public money for private K-12 schools. Here’s the full statement we received: “Joe Biden opposes the Trump/(Betsy) DeVos conception of ‘school choice,’ which is private school vouchers that would destroy our public schools. He’s also against for-profit and low-performing charter … Continue reading Fact-check: Does Joe Biden want to end school choice?

We are throwing the working class under the bus – an interview with Professor Martin Kulldorff

Alastair Benn: In this interview with Reaction’s Deputy Editor Alastair Benn, Martin Kulldorff, Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and leading figure in the field of infectious disease epidemiology, argues for an age-targeted response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns result in too much collateral damage, he argues, and impose unreasonable costs on the working … Continue reading We are throwing the working class under the bus – an interview with Professor Martin Kulldorff

Reimagining a more equitable and resilient K–12 education system

McKinsey: The COVID-19 pandemic has upended school systems around the world. The pace has been frenetic as systems have had to stand up remote learning overnight, plan whether and how to reopen schools amid changing epidemiological circumstances, and support students academically and emotionally. The scope of the challenge has thus far left little time for deeper … Continue reading Reimagining a more equitable and resilient K–12 education system

Dane County Board continues to duel with the University of Wisconsin; budget assumes status quo (!)

Kelly Meyerhofer: Brenda Gonzalez, director of community relations at UW-Madison who spoke during the County Board meeting in opposition of the resolution, said testing and protocol put in place should keep the number of positive cases on campus low. She said Public Health Madison and Dane County is monitoring possible transmission of cases from campus … Continue reading Dane County Board continues to duel with the University of Wisconsin; budget assumes status quo (!)

COVID-19 emergency measures and the impending authoritarian pandemic

Stephen Thomson, Eric C Ip: COVID-19 has brought the world grinding to a halt. As of early August 2020, the greatest public health emergency of the century thus far has registered almost 20 million infected people and claimed over 730,000 lives across all inhabited continents, bringing public health systems to their knees, and causing shutdowns of … Continue reading COVID-19 emergency measures and the impending authoritarian pandemic

Wisconsin’s largest teachers unions again ask state leaders to move all schools to virtual-only instruction

Annysa Johnson: The news conference, which also featured Madison Teachers Inc. President Andy Waity, was part of a national day of action by teachers unions across the country, calling for safe working conditions in schools during the pandemic. The renewed push to bar in-person instruction comes as the number of COVID-19 cases has spiked in the … Continue reading Wisconsin’s largest teachers unions again ask state leaders to move all schools to virtual-only instruction

“I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person”

Will Cioci: “I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person,” she said. “I have asked that the county should revisit some of those K-12 limits.” One particular area of concern with … Continue reading “I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person”

Grants help parents form ‘equity pods’

Joanne Jacobs: Pods and microschools aren’t just for affluent parents who can afford to hire a teacher or tutor, writes Beth Hawkins on The 74. Lower-income and minority parents are using small grants to create “equity pods” and microschools. With a $10,000 grant from the National Parents Union, Brandice Hatcher is opening her Righteous Voice Mentoring … Continue reading Grants help parents form ‘equity pods’

Tennessee students likely experienced ‘significant’ learning loss due to school closures this year, state says

Meghan Mangrum: Tennessee students have likely experienced significant learning loss, especially in reading and math, this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Preliminary data released Wednesday by the Tennessee Department of Education projects an estimated 50% decrease in proficiency rates in 3rd grade reading and a projected 65% decrease in proficiency in math. “The department has … Continue reading Tennessee students likely experienced ‘significant’ learning loss due to school closures this year, state says

The Moral Case for Reopening Schools—Without Masks

John Tierney: If you’re a public-minded student or teacher committed to reducing the death toll from Covid-19, what is the morally correct way to behave? According to the epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta, you should do just about the opposite of what’s being preached by college presidents, teachers’ unions, political leaders, and the scientific and media establishment. … Continue reading The Moral Case for Reopening Schools—Without Masks

Q&A: Maxine McKinney de Royston says virtual instruction is a chance to “reimagine education”

Scott Girard: Maxine McKinney de Royston has a pair of perspectives on virtual learning. The parent of three is also an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, seeing the clash between the reality of what the Madison Metropolitan School District is implementing and what she considers best … Continue reading Q&A: Maxine McKinney de Royston says virtual instruction is a chance to “reimagine education”

UW-Madison fires back at Dane County for proposing online classes, sending students home

Kelly Meyerhofer: The best way to reduce the number of infections, Blank said, is “not by issuing press releases calling for students to leave, but to partner in developing collaborative solutions for the benefit of all residents.” She warned that the county is unlikely to see a rapid decline in cases until agencies with jurisdiction … Continue reading UW-Madison fires back at Dane County for proposing online classes, sending students home

Madison estimated to lose 400 students this fall; continuing to seek a new school building via 2020 tax & spending increase

Scott Girard: Ruppell estimated Monday that the district would see a 400-student drop in enrollment this school year, though that won’t be finalized until the state certifies enrollment numbers in early October. That’s up nearly 350 students from the estimated drop of 51 pre-COVID, which is why the district implemented a hiring freeze over the … Continue reading Madison estimated to lose 400 students this fall; continuing to seek a new school building via 2020 tax & spending increase

Majority of surveyed Wisconsin districts offering in-person school

Logan Wroge: With the bulk of schools back in session now, a majority of Wisconsin school districts representing about half of the state’s public school students report plans to open up school buildings for some form of in-person instruction during the ongoing pandemic. A Wisconsin State Journal review found in rural parts of the state … Continue reading Majority of surveyed Wisconsin districts offering in-person school

Preschool of the Arts expands to include elementary students amid COVID-19 pandemic

Pamela Cotant: The early childhood center on Madison’s West Side, which previously served children from ages 17 months to about 5, has added kindergarten through second grade this fall as it pivots to address the new realities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The new arrangement helps the preschool families who were juggling jobs and assisting their … Continue reading Preschool of the Arts expands to include elementary students amid COVID-19 pandemic

Minnesota’s broad COVID-19 testing under microscope

Jeremy Olson: Criticism grew after Harvard’s Dr. Michael Mina told the New York Times last month about his concerns over test results with cycle levels of 30 or more. He argued for lower cycle thresholds but increased and more rapid testing, including of asymptomatic people who can spread the virus without knowing it. A Canadian … Continue reading Minnesota’s broad COVID-19 testing under microscope

Dane County digging in for a fight over in-person class ban

Nick Viviani: ane County officials are hunkering down for a fight over its health department’s order barring in-person instructions in local schools, including religious and private ones, for most students. “The order for schools is lawful and we will defend it vigorously, because the reason Public Health put it in place is worth fighting for—the … Continue reading Dane County digging in for a fight over in-person class ban

Madison School District plans to apply for waivers from some state requirements

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District plans to apply for a series of waivers from state requirements later this month for the 2020-21 school year. On the same day as students began the school year virtually, administrators told the School Board about three waivers they plan to request — as long as the board … Continue reading Madison School District plans to apply for waivers from some state requirements

Frustrated by virtual classes, families use open enrollment to transfer children to schools with in-person learning

Annysa Johnson: Catherine Winkel was prepared for the usual back-to-school expenses. The notebooks and binders, pens and pencils, new clothes, new shoes. There was one expense she hadn’t expected: thousands of dollars in tuition to send her 7-year-old to private school where she could attend classes in person. But after the Mequon-Thiensville School District announced … Continue reading Frustrated by virtual classes, families use open enrollment to transfer children to schools with in-person learning

State Supreme Court puts pause on Dane County Madison public health order barring in-person school

Scott Girard: Schools in Dane County that want to open for in-person education can do so immediately for all grades after the state Supreme Court temporarily blocked enforcement of the Public Health Madison & Dane County order requiring virtual learning for grades 3-12. The court’s conservative majority issued the 4-3 ruling [PDF document], which combined … Continue reading State Supreme Court puts pause on Dane County Madison public health order barring in-person school

‘It’s probably too late.’ Head of UW-Whitewater gives prognosis for fall term amid virus

Jonah Beleckis: UW-Whitewater’s interim chancellor said the university was “not far behind” UW-Madison, which on Wednesday night announced it would move all classes online for two weeks because of rising coronavirus cases. Less than a week into his current role, Interim Chancellor Greg Cook spoke during a Whitewater City Council meeting Wednesday. Elected officials were … Continue reading ‘It’s probably too late.’ Head of UW-Whitewater gives prognosis for fall term amid virus

Taking Stock of 2020 with Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway

Madison School Board Member Ali Muldrow (WORT-FM): Today, Wednesday host Ali Muldrow spends the hour with Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway to take stock and openly discuss issues facing the city, with the input of listener callers. It’s a wide-ranging conversation that covers topics like racial injustice in Wisconsin, the mayor’s opinion of the Madison Police Department … Continue reading Taking Stock of 2020 with Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway

Dane County Executive Writes to Close University of Wisconsin On Campus Classes

Dane County Executive asks @UWMadison to send everyone home from UW Housing and increase testing, quarantine space, and contact tracing on campus. “The University made the decision to proceed with holding classes this fall despite recommendations from local and national experts” pic.twitter.com/XHTQec2RVu — Will Cioci (@wjcioci) September 9, 2020 Letter: page 1 and page 2 … Continue reading Dane County Executive Writes to Close University of Wisconsin On Campus Classes

Madison’s new grading policy will only let students fall through the cracks

Jillian Ludwig: The implications of this grading floor are even more important considering that MMSD is known to have a significant racial achievement gap. There is a stark difference between a grade of 0% and 50%, and it has value. By getting rid of this important distinction, the district risks letting students fall further through the cracks … Continue reading Madison’s new grading policy will only let students fall through the cracks

A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes

Rabail Chaudhry, George Dranitsaris, Talha Mubashir, Justyna Bartoszko and Sheila Riazi: Increasing COVID-19 caseloads were associated with countries with higher obesity (adjusted rate ratio [RR]=1.06; 95%CI: 1.01–1.11), median population age (RR=1.10; 95%CI: 1.05–1.15) and longer time to border closures from the first reported case (RR=1.04; 95%CI: 1.01–1.08). Increased mortality per million was significantly associated with … Continue reading A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes

Prep sports: Area programs’ plans for the fall (or alternative spring) seasons

Art Kabelowsky: A list of decisions made by schools in the Wisconsin State Journal core coverage area on whether to play fall or alternative spring seasons in various high school sports. Prep football 2020: Who’s playing in the fall, and who’s waiting for spring A list of football programs in area and region conferences, and … Continue reading Prep sports: Area programs’ plans for the fall (or alternative spring) seasons

Private schools, parents ask Supreme Court to block Dane County health order that limits in-person classes

Bruce Vielmetti: It notes that schools spent months developing detailed plans, per earlier county orders, to safely reopen. Tseytlin also argues that the statute defining local health officials’ duties says they can inspect schools, but reserves the right to close them to the head of the state Department of Health Services. In a response to … Continue reading Private schools, parents ask Supreme Court to block Dane County health order that limits in-person classes

‘We have an important first day coming up’: MMSD set to begin year with virtual learning

Scott Girard: While schedules vary from school to school, some are publicly available online and show a more traditional school day — in front of a screen instead of in a classroom. At Elvehjem Elementary School, for example, second graders will have a morning meeting from 8:30-9 a.m., a “foundational skills” lesson from 9-9:30 a.m. … Continue reading ‘We have an important first day coming up’: MMSD set to begin year with virtual learning

School in Western India paints village walls to conduct classes

WION: But, teachers in Nilamnagar, western India, have started a unique initiative to make sure that children don’t miss out of learning due to technological shortfalls.  They have set up outdoor classrooms for a total of 1,700 students for age group 6-16, where a small group gather around painted walls, which are used for teachings.  … Continue reading School in Western India paints village walls to conduct classes

Choosing a good-citizen school (Milwaukee)

Joanne Jacobs: Thirty years ago, Milwaukee launched a private-school voucher program for low-income students. In 1998, when religious schools were allowed to participate, enrollment expanded. Overall, test scores for voucher students resemble their public school counterparts. But there’s a critical difference: Voucher students are more likely to complete high school, enroll in college and earn a … Continue reading Choosing a good-citizen school (Milwaukee)

The High-Performing School Deserts of Rural America

Will Flanders: Among education reform advocates, improving urban education is often the focus. That’s no surprise since tens of thousands of kids in cities suffer from decades of educational failure and limited opportunity. But often overlooked are the challenges and problems plaguing rural education. Sometimes opportunities for success are just as limited, or even more so, … Continue reading The High-Performing School Deserts of Rural America

Middleton High School student’s petition asks for pass/no pass grading during virtual learning

Scott Girard: Many districts moved to pass/no pass grading in the spring during the sudden switch to virtual as the COVID-19 pandemic forced unexpected closures. But with more time to plan and build their virtual learning environments, schools are moving back to letter grades for high school students this fall. The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, … Continue reading Middleton High School student’s petition asks for pass/no pass grading during virtual learning

Biden says school reopening a national emergency

Alexa Mencia: Joe Biden delivered a speech in Delaware Wednesday on the issue of safely reopening America’s schools, which he says is a “national emergency.”  In his second speech in three days, the Democratic presidential candidate outlined his plan to keep students and teachers safe during the pandemic. The remarks come ahead of a planned trip … Continue reading Biden says school reopening a national emergency

Acting collectively and systemically for equity in pandemic schooling

Maxine McKinney de Royston and Erica O. Turner: Let’s be clear: an uncontrolled COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, climate crises and economic collapse are deepening existing inequities. A large body of research, including our own, shows that students of color are systematically denied access to safe and high-quality education. Maxine’s article, “I’m a Teacher, I’m … Continue reading Acting collectively and systemically for equity in pandemic schooling

Parents Press For Dane County Schools To Teach In-Person During Pandemic

Shamane Mills: Dane County parents upset over online instruction at schools that were intending to hold classes in-person are speaking out following a recent emergency order by the local health department, which restricted all public and private schools to virtual instruction for grades 3-12 because of COVID-19. Parents and their children carried signs outside city … Continue reading Parents Press For Dane County Schools To Teach In-Person During Pandemic

“Public schools keep collecting tax revenue regardless of whether school opens on time.”

Hannah Stoll: I was supposed to go back to class next week, but the public school I attend won’t open even for remote learning for three weeks. Its classrooms will be shut for at least another two months. My twin sister and younger brother, who attend a Jewish school in a Boston suburb, are going … Continue reading “Public schools keep collecting tax revenue regardless of whether school opens on time.”

Dane County Madison Public Health issues hundreds of warnings for alleged COVID-19 order violations

Chris Rickert: Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 5,568 cases of COVID-19 in Dane County, including 41 new cases reported Wednesday and 40 documented deaths. Statewide there have been 77,129 cases and 1,142 deaths. SSM Health, which owns St. Mary’s Hospital, was sent warning letters on Aug. 7, 13 and 19 for … Continue reading Dane County Madison Public Health issues hundreds of warnings for alleged COVID-19 order violations

Disrupted Schooling Spells Worse Results and Deeper Inequality

The Economist: Of the 50 largest school districts in America, 35 plan to start the coming term entirely remotely. The opportunity to squelch the virus over the summer has been lost, upending plans for “hybrid” education (part-time in-person instruction). This means more than just child-care headaches for parents. The continued disruption to schooling will probably … Continue reading Disrupted Schooling Spells Worse Results and Deeper Inequality

Protecting union jobs rather than giving parents $3,000 to educate the children

Liv Finne: Most schools in Washington will remain closed this fall. Some school districts are tightening their belts in anticipation of the COVID-19 budget cuts that are coming. Last week Governor Inslee bypassed the legislature and the decisions of local school districts to protect the jobs of union school bus drivers. He’s made sure money … Continue reading Protecting union jobs rather than giving parents $3,000 to educate the children

Dane County Madison Public Health amendment allows in-person instruction for students with disabilities

Scott Girard: Students with disabilities who need some in-person instruction will be allowed to go to schools this fall after Public Health Madison & Dane County amended its previous order Tuesday. PHMDC had announced on Friday, Aug. 21, that no students beyond grades K-2 were allowed for in-person instruction until certain metrics were met. After a challenging spring for … Continue reading Dane County Madison Public Health amendment allows in-person instruction for students with disabilities

In Person School Begins (Appleton, not Madison)

Happy first day of school from this Wisconsin education reporter!!! I’m starting my day at Lincoln Elementary in Appleton, and I’m STOKED to be back chatting with kiddos, teachers and parents as I work to chronicle a school year that’s sure to be unlike any other. pic.twitter.com/e5Ym1wwTlT — Sami West (@BySamanthaWest) September 1, 2020 Related: Catholic … Continue reading In Person School Begins (Appleton, not Madison)

Dane County Madison Public Health Slides (late Friday) on Schools; “activity tracker”

Dane County Madison Public Health: The Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (DHS) Activity Tracker, Harvard guidance, COVID-local and COVIDActNow served as the main sources of the targets used for determining in-person instruction by grade level. Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public … Continue reading Dane County Madison Public Health Slides (late Friday) on Schools; “activity tracker”

19-year-old activist helps spearhead youth-led Black Lives Matter movement

Shanzeh Ahmad: A 2018 graduate of West High School, Obuseh comes from a military family and moved to Madison in 2016 after having lived in Germany for some six years. Her younger brother is about to start his sophomore year at West. Before Germany, they lived in Delaware, Alabama and Georgia, where Obuseh was born … Continue reading 19-year-old activist helps spearhead youth-led Black Lives Matter movement

School “opening”, Election Posturing and K-12 “advocacy”

There seems to be a rhythm to the text message touch attempts. Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Molly Beck and Madeline Heim: which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests … Continue reading School “opening”, Election Posturing and K-12 “advocacy”

Madison Council member catches heat for reposting flyer that called on protesters to ‘f— s— up’

Dean Mosiman: Ald. Max Prestigiacomo, who has represented the student-dominated 8th District since winning a special election to fill a vacancy in April, posted the flyer circulating online on his Facebook page after the shooting in Kenosha. “Madison stands with Kenosha,” reads the flyer promoting protests Sunday and Monday. “F—- Kenosha PD. F—- Madison PD. … Continue reading Madison Council member catches heat for reposting flyer that called on protesters to ‘f— s— up’

The media needs to stop spreading fear about ‘pandemic pods’

Chris Stewart: Are they a saving grace for families displaced from traditional schooling or yet another mirage hiding serious educational inequities. Like most things it matters who you ask.  Much of the media coverage of pods has shown a deceptively white face which predictably has drawn significant warnings of widening gaps in educational outcomes.  I understand the concerns, but … Continue reading The media needs to stop spreading fear about ‘pandemic pods’

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul files briefs in support of Dane County emergency school closures

Elizabeth Beyer: In his briefs, Kaul states, “For over a century, Wisconsin has maintained a public health infrastructure that empowers local health officials to be a critical line of defense, barring public gatherings and swiftly taking any actions that are reasonable and necessary to suppress spreading diseases. That is precisely what Dane County did here, … Continue reading Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul files briefs in support of Dane County emergency school closures

Lawsuits challenge Dane County Madison Public Health’s authority to close private schools

Scott Girard: Two separate lawsuits are seeking to block a new public health emergency order that allows only a fraction of elementary school students to attend classes in person in Dane County. The legal challenges come days after Public Health Madison and Dane County officials in their ninth emergency order restricted in-person schooling to grades K-2 and … Continue reading Lawsuits challenge Dane County Madison Public Health’s authority to close private schools

MMSD tells some staff to accept in-person child care reassignment or resign

Scott Girard: He added that MTI “recognizes the need” for supporting families through child care, but believes safety remains the top priority. MTI has also asked the district to seek volunteers, including within the teaching workforce, to staff in-person services and is encouraging all staff to get a COVID-19 test prior to working with students … Continue reading MMSD tells some staff to accept in-person child care reassignment or resign

Lawsuit filed against head of Public Health Dane County madison over emergency order requiring virtual start to school year

Sarah Gray: A lawsuit was filed in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Tuesday arguing that Janel Heinrich, the Public Health Officer of Madison and Dane County, does not have the legal authority to keep children home from school. Public Health Madison and Dane County issued Emergency Order #9, which went into effect Monday. It orders all … Continue reading Lawsuit filed against head of Public Health Dane County madison over emergency order requiring virtual start to school year

Parents, private schools ask state Supreme Court to toss Dane County Madison Public Health order limiting in-person school

Chris Rickert: A group of parents and private religious schools is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to void a Dane County order barring in-person school for most students, saying the order issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic infringes on the right to worship and to an education. “This case challenges the authority of one … Continue reading Parents, private schools ask state Supreme Court to toss Dane County Madison Public Health order limiting in-person school

(Some) Madison Governance Rhetoric on University of Wisconsin Governance Plans

Kelly Meyerhofer: Blank defended the decision to reopen campus at a faculty committee meeting on Monday, saying UW-Madison will nearly double the number of tests administered within the county and add 35 contact tracers to the county’s ranks. The number of tests UW-Madison plans to administer — up to 8,000 weekly, covering roughly 15% to … Continue reading (Some) Madison Governance Rhetoric on University of Wisconsin Governance Plans

More Evidence of the Futility of “No Strike” Laws

Mike Antonucci: For a very, very long time I’ve written about why teacher “no strike” laws are pointless at best, and serve only to mislead the public about what we have politely termed “labor peace.” Last Friday, the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, which modestly calls itself “the world’s leading source of expertise on managing … Continue reading More Evidence of the Futility of “No Strike” Laws

Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

David Blaska: Shortly after normal office hours on Friday (08-21-2020) Madison/Dane County Public Health issued an order closing down in-school education for students above second grade at private schools for the upcoming school year — matching the voluntary stance taken by area public schools. “This is clearly about making sure private schools aren’t allowed to … Continue reading Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

MTI files complaint with state employment relations commission over budget cuts survey

Scott Girard: Madison Teachers Inc. has filed a complaintagainst the Madison Metropolitan School District related to a survey sent out to staff last week. The Prohibited Practice Complaint was filed Monday with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission and seeks an immediate cease and desist of the survey and asks that the district be made to destroy … Continue reading MTI files complaint with state employment relations commission over budget cuts survey

Madison teachers union backs removal of police from high schools

Logan Wroge: Madison’s teachers union is shifting its stance on school-based police officers and is now advocating they be taken out of the city’s main high schools — but only if 33 additional support staff are hired. In a statement Sunday, Madison Teachers Inc. said it backs the removal of school resource officers, or SROs, … Continue reading Madison teachers union backs removal of police from high schools

Governance: How Police Unions Became Such Powerful Opponents to Reform Efforts (Act 10)

Noam Scheiber, Farah Stockman and J. David Goodman: Over the past five years, as demands for reform have mounted in the aftermath of police violence in cities like Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and now Minneapolis, police unions have emerged as one of the most significant roadblocks to change. The greater the political pressure for reform, the … Continue reading Governance: How Police Unions Became Such Powerful Opponents to Reform Efforts (Act 10)

Milwaukee Teachers’ Union Governance Climate

Seth Saavedra: On a union blog, MTEA president Amy Mizialko writes that MTEA is using the COVID-19 crisis to “strip back what has been wrongly imposed on our students—relentless standardized testing, scripted curriculum, one-size-fits-all online interventions.” When asked if the “union’s insistence that its members not be required to work during the first three weeks of … Continue reading Milwaukee Teachers’ Union Governance Climate

Wisconsin Teacher Unions seek to Intervene in support of Governor’s health orders

Riley Vetterkind: The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday swiftly rejected an attempt by employee unions to help defend Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order in court. The four unions on Tuesday filed a motion to intervene as parties in a lawsuit the Republican Legislature brought last Tuesday to suspend the governor’s “safer at home” order. Doing … Continue reading Wisconsin Teacher Unions seek to Intervene in support of Governor’s health orders

From the Cap Times (Madison) editorial board, a rant on education — just not about students

Jim Bender: More than 43,000 families in Wisconsin’s school choice programs likely will be surprised to learn that they constitute a “threat” to the state. The editorial board of the Capital Times offered up that opinion in a recent attack on programs that serve these low-income and working-class families. The impetus for the editorial — … Continue reading From the Cap Times (Madison) editorial board, a rant on education — just not about students

Will Wisconsin return to its ‘three-legged stool’ to pay for schools? Here are reasons to doubt it

Alan Borsuk: Let’s focus particularly on Evers’ call for using some of the money to return state support of general operating costs of public schools to two-thirds of the total bill (with the other third coming generally from property taxes).   A bit of history: In the early 1990s, there was strong opinion, particularly for then-Gov. Tommy Thompson … Continue reading Will Wisconsin return to its ‘three-legged stool’ to pay for schools? Here are reasons to doubt it

Notes and Commentary on the Wisconsin School Choice Event

At the Pence rally. A lot of people here with yellow sashes in support of school vouchers. Many nonwhite. — Rocknrolli OneAndOnly (@RocknRocknrolli) January 28, 2020 .@vp mentions @GovEvers‘s absence and a bill to be reintroduced today by @RepBrostoff to phase out school vouchers in Wisconsin: “I know the governor can’t be here with us … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on the Wisconsin School Choice Event

Membership in government unions falls to a 20-year low

Steven Malanga: Government-union membership fell again in 2019, continuing a decade-long decline. Workers in public-sector unions now number 7.066 million, representing a drop of nearly 100,000 in one year and the smallest government-organized labor membership in 20 years. Since 2009, when the ranks of government-union members peaked at 7.896 million, public-labor groups have lost more … Continue reading Membership in government unions falls to a 20-year low

Chicago Teachers Union Inc.: How the clout-heavy labor group spends its money

Lauren Fitzpatrick & Nader Issa: Some CTU members have grumbled on Facebook about how their dues — a flat $55.85 per pay period — are being spent directly on political candidates. For example, the union put $215,000 into Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s failed campaign for mayor. The CTU also shifted $56,000 from its … Continue reading Chicago Teachers Union Inc.: How the clout-heavy labor group spends its money

NEA and Its State Affiliates Took In $1.6 Billion in 2018, Federal Disclosures Show

Mike Antonucci: As #RedForEd strikes hit West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and a handful of other states, 2018 was dubbed the year of teacher protests. It was also the year of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus ruling, which promised to have a profound effect on teacher union finances. In between those events, the National Education Association and its … Continue reading NEA and Its State Affiliates Took In $1.6 Billion in 2018, Federal Disclosures Show

Federalism, local governance, influence and how we arrived at Wisconsin ACT 10

Rachel Cohen: Meanwhile, a top priority for labor has been sitting quietly on Pelosi’s desk and, unlike USMCA, already commands enough support to get it over the House finish line. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act would be the most comprehensive rewrite of U.S. labor law in decades. It would eliminate right-to-work laws, impose … Continue reading Federalism, local governance, influence and how we arrived at Wisconsin ACT 10