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.

195 Million Chinese Students Are In School. Why Aren’t Our Kids?

Evita Duffy: Right now in China, 195 million students K-12 are learning in-person in Chinese public schools. Meanwhile, millions of American public school students are learning in a failed remote system that can’t even keep track of thousands of students who haven’t shown up for class all year.   In 2018, 15-year-olds in dozens of countries … Continue reading 195 Million Chinese Students Are In School. Why Aren’t Our Kids?

California State teachers union has given more than $13 million to extend income taxes on wealthy Californians

Liam Dillon: California’s largest teachers union has given more than $13 million to the effort to extend income tax hikes on California’s highest earners, according to newly released state campaign finance reports. The report shows the California Teachers Assn. gave $3 million between April and June this year, in addition to the $10 million the … Continue reading California State teachers union has given more than $13 million to extend income taxes on wealthy Californians

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.”

Selling out public schools: Millions of dollars are changing face of education

Bill Lueders:

“School choice” is a broad term that refers to a wide range of alternatives, including themed charter schools that are entirely under the control of their home school districts. Forty states and the District of Columbia have those in place, according to the American Federation for Children, a national school choice advocacy group.
But it is the voucher programs, in which public funds are used to send children to private schools, that are the focus of much of the energy around the choice movement. Seven states and the District of Columbia have those, and Milwaukee’s voucher program is the first and largest of its kind in the country. That makes Wisconsin a key national battleground.
“Wisconsin has a high level of value to the movement as a whole,” says Robert Enlow, president of the Indianapolis-based Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, a nonprofit group that advocates for school choice. The state, he says, is notable for “the high level of scholarship amounts that families can get.”
Milwaukee’s voucher program had 20,300 full-time equivalent voucher students at 102 private schools in 2010-11, compared to about 80,000 students at Milwaukee’s public K-12 schools. The total cost, at $6,442 per voucher student, was $130.8 million, of which about $90 million came from the state and the rest from the Milwaukee Public Schools.
Critics see the school choice program as part of a larger strategy — driven into high gear in Wisconsin by the fall election of Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans — to eviscerate, for ideological and religious reasons, public schools and the unions that represent teachers.

It would be interesting to compare special interest spending in support of the status quo, vs groups advocating change, as outlined in Bill Lueders’ article. A few links:

  • WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

    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.
    In an Oct. 25 report to the Government Accountability Board, the 98,000-member union reported that it will independently:

  • Wisconsin teachers union tops list of biggest lobbying groups for 2009-10, report shows

    The statewide teachers union led in spending on lobbying state lawmakers even before this year’s fight over collective bargaining rights.
    The Wisconsin Education Association Council spent $2.5 million on lobbying in 2009 and 2010, years when Democrats were in control of all of state government, a report released Thursday by the Government Accountability Board showed.
    WEAC is always one of the top spending lobbyists in the Capitol and they took a central role this year fighting Gov. Scott Walker’s plan curbing public employee union rights, including teachers.
    Back in 2009, when Democrat Jim Doyle was governor and Democrats controlled the Senate and Assembly, WEAC wasn’t helping to organize massive protests but it was a regular presence in the Capitol.

  • Spending in summer recall elections reaches nearly $44 million

    Spending in the summer’s recall elections by special interest groups, candidates and political action committees shattered spending records set in previous elections, with $43.9 million doled out on nine elections, according to a study released Tuesday by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
    Spending by six political action committees or special interest groups topped the $1 million mark. We Are Wisconsin was the top spender.
    The union-backed group spent roughly $10.75 million, followed by the conservative-leaning Club for Growth at $9 million and $4 million in spending from the Greater Wisconsin Committee.

  • Kansas City School District Loses its Accreditation

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.

Wisconsin lawmakers should allow parents to direct redistributed K-12 billion$ from American Rescue Plan

Institute for Reforming Government, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Wisconsin, Federation for Children School Choice, Wisconsin Action ExcelinEd in Action, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy Badger Institute, FreedomWorks and Building Education for Students Together: Dear Governor Evers, Speaker Vos, Majority Leader LeMahieu, and State Superintendent Stanford Taylor, … Continue reading Wisconsin lawmakers should allow parents to direct redistributed K-12 billion$ from American Rescue Plan

Commentary on Incumbent school board member election losses (unopposed in Madison…)

Samantha West, Alec Johnson and Rory Linnane: Tricia Zunker said she knows school board presidents sometimes have a target on their backs. It’s part of the job, she said. But as Zunker led the Wausau School District board over the past year, she said, “People were so cruel, you’d think I personally brought the pandemic … Continue reading Commentary on Incumbent school board member election losses (unopposed in Madison…)

Advocating K-12 Governance Diversity

In the last year, I’ve gone from lightly supporting vouchers programs to vociferously supporting the complete, utter, and eternal destruction of public schools. https://t.co/30ffPiZoeK — Hans Fiene (@HansFiene) April 5, 2021 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 … Continue reading Advocating K-12 Governance Diversity

“An emphasis on adult employment “

There are no hidden complexities that could possibly explain this misalignment of social priorities. #openschools@GavinNewsom pic.twitter.com/GfPCXWEq8b — Jeanne Noble (@JeanneNoble18) April 3, 2021 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 … Continue reading “An emphasis on adult employment “

“We’ve likely overestimated the protective health benefits of school closures and underestimated the costs for children.”

John Bailey: One year after nationwide public school closures, a growing body of medical research and the firsthand experiences of school systems worldwide can provide a sound basis for determining a reopening strategy. This report examines the collective findings of more than 120 studies and considers their implications for current decisions. These studies cover a … Continue reading “We’ve likely overestimated the protective health benefits of school closures and underestimated the costs for children.”

Education Secretary: It’s Too Soon to Say If Schools Can Reopen by Fall

Alex Nextel: Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said it’s “premature” to determine if schools can resume in-person instruction this fall, despite a growing body of evidence that shows students can safely return to the classroom. In a Wednesday interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Cardona said the rate of COVID-19 transmission in a community would play … Continue reading Education Secretary: It’s Too Soon to Say If Schools Can Reopen by Fall

An Interview with Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Milwaukee Press Club [Machine Translation]: [00:31:11] If we had had the opportunity to, um, put restrictions on what businesses were open and closed as we did earlier in the pandemic. One of the things that is true about Wisconsin, That is not true about nearly all of the 49 other States is that because of … Continue reading An Interview with Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Oakland teachers refuse to return to school, despite getting COVID vaccine priority

Caitlin McFall: But due to a lack of teachers willing to come back before April 14, high needs pupils, including homeless, foster and special needs students, will not be able to get into classrooms ahead of time, the newspaper reported. “At this time, we simply do not have enough staff who opted in for in-person … Continue reading Oakland teachers refuse to return to school, despite getting COVID vaccine priority

Commentary on the 2021 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Superintendent election

Scott Girard: [I have received 3 text messages and a door knock from a paid lit drop person, for one of the candidates. Guess?] 13-1 Special interest $pending for Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Candidate Jill Underly, running against Deborah Kerr. In that same forum, Kerr outlined a plan to decentralize the Department of Public Instruction by … Continue reading Commentary on the 2021 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Superintendent election

Nearly half of schools are open full-time, survey finds

Laura Meckler: The first federal data on education during the pandemic finds nearly half of public schools were open for full-time, face-to-face classes, with White children far more likely than Black, Hispanic or Asian American students to be attending in person. The data suggests the nation is both close to a goal set by President … Continue reading Nearly half of schools are open full-time, survey finds

Milwaukee Teachers union: ‘Very irresponsible’ if school board approves in-person plan

Matt Smith: Milwaukee Public School teachers would return to the classroom next week ahead of a phased-in return of students learning in April under a plan that will go before the school board Tuesday evening. The plan calls for in-person instruction four days a week, with Wednesdays set aside for cleaning when students would remain … Continue reading Milwaukee Teachers union: ‘Very irresponsible’ if school board approves in-person plan

One City Schools expands – in Monona (Governor Evers’ proposed budget would once again abort this school, by eliminating the UW charter office)

Logan Wroge: With a $14 million donation from American Girl founder and philanthropist Pleasant Rowland, One City Schools announced plans on Tuesday to purchase an office building in Monona that will become a new home for the fast-growing independent charter school. One City will use the donation to buy a 157,000-square-foot office building on the … Continue reading One City Schools expands – in Monona (Governor Evers’ proposed budget would once again abort this school, by eliminating the UW charter office)

“Teachers taking the backseat — that flies in the face of white Western thought, right?

Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district current governance practices, in light of long term, disastrous reading results. 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 … Continue reading “Teachers taking the backseat — that flies in the face of white Western thought, right?

A year into the pandemic, Wisconsin residents still aren’t being told where COVID-19 spread

Matt Piper Madeline Heim: Even though the state budgeted $75 million to trace the virus’ path, its health department chose from the earliest days of the pandemic to reveal little about outbreak locations. Then, during last fall’s surge, the state’s most powerful business and manufacturing group sued to make doubly sure nobody but the state could access those … Continue reading A year into the pandemic, Wisconsin residents still aren’t being told where COVID-19 spread

31% Have Experienced Positive Benefits From the Pandemic

Mike Antonucci: A majority of only one group was able to cite some positive benefits. “Those who work at a school or college are far more likely than other government employees to report positive benefits from the pandemic,” Rasmussen reports. “By a 60% to 36% margin, those who work in education report positive benefits.” Related: Catholic schools will … Continue reading 31% Have Experienced Positive Benefits From the Pandemic

Lockdowns Prompting Devastating Levels of ‘Psychological Distress’ Among Young People

Pew Research: Most young people are at little risk of dying from the coronavirus. But a new Pew Research survey shows that they are disproportionately bearing the consequences of heavy-handed pandemic lockdowns and isolating government restrictions. Pew finds that an astounding 32 percent of young adults aged 18 to 29 report experiencing high levels of … Continue reading Lockdowns Prompting Devastating Levels of ‘Psychological Distress’ Among Young People

Social isolation during COVID‐19 lockdown impairs cognitive function

Joanne Ingram, Christopher J. Hand and Greg Maciejewski: Studies examining the effect of social isolation on cognitive function typically involve older adults and/or specialist groups (e.g., expeditions). We considered the effects of COVID‐19‐induced social isolation on cognitive function within a representative sample of the general population. We additionally considered how participants ‘shielding’ due to underlying … Continue reading Social isolation during COVID‐19 lockdown impairs cognitive function

As U.S. schools shuttered, student mental health cratered, Reuters survey finds

Benjamin Lesser, MB Pell and Kristina Cooke: A few weeks after San Francisco’s school district moved to remote learning last year in hopes of halting the spread of the coronavirus, Kate Sullivan Morgan noticed her 11-year-old son was barely eating. He would spend days in bed staring at the ceiling. The mother formed a pod … Continue reading As U.S. schools shuttered, student mental health cratered, Reuters survey finds

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school District continues to resist open records requests

Chris Rickert: Fourteen districts eventually responded with at least some of the data. The county’s two largest and most racially and socioeconomically diverse, Madison and Sun Prairie, required the newspaper to file public records requests for the data. To date, they remain unfilled. In Madison, students could be marked present simply by exchanging messages with … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school District continues to resist open records requests

We asked Wisconsin high schools how many students failed a class during first semester. It’s not pretty. Madison?

Samantha West: In one Wisconsin school district, two in five high school students failed a class during first semester. In another, the fall failure rate was four times what it had been in recent years. Almost all of the 60 school districts responding to a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin survey reported that more high school students failed … Continue reading We asked Wisconsin high schools how many students failed a class during first semester. It’s not pretty. Madison?

National poll: Pandemic has negatively impacted teens’ mental health

University of Michigan: For teens, pandemic restrictions may have meant months of virtual school, less time with friends and canceling activities like sports, band concerts and prom. And for young people who rely heavily on social connections for emotional support, these adjustments may have taken a heavy toll on mental health, a new national poll … Continue reading National poll: Pandemic has negatively impacted teens’ mental health

Massachusetts school officials eye summer school

John Hilliard: After a year turned upside down by COVID-19, some Massachusetts school districts are looking ahead to summer and how they can use the traditional time off as a chance to expand educational opportunities interrupted during the pandemic. School officials in Framingham, Chelsea, and Fall River said they hope to offer families and staff … Continue reading Massachusetts school officials eye summer school

“I think that vaccinations are a fundamental mitigation, but they are not the only mitigation strategy,” Mizialko said.

WISN-TV: One year after the pandemic started, students in Milwaukee still haven’t returned to classrooms, and a teachers’ union leader is signaling that educators may need to see additional safety measures, beyond vaccinations, in order for them to return. Milwaukee Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, is holding classes virtually. The district has a … Continue reading “I think that vaccinations are a fundamental mitigation, but they are not the only mitigation strategy,” Mizialko said.

Wisconsin’s open and closed taxpayer supported K-12 Schools; on the April 6 Ballot

Wispolitics: State superintendent candidate Deb Kerr called for all K-12 schools to reopen for in-person instruction, claiming “the science is clear” such a move is kids’ best interest. Meanwhile, Kerr’s opponent Jill Underly slammed her for lying about the science behind reopening schools. At a Saturday news conference on the Capitol steps, Kerr warned the … Continue reading Wisconsin’s open and closed taxpayer supported K-12 Schools; on the April 6 Ballot

Commentary on taxpayer supported k-12 School Districts’ continuing in person education experiences

Elizabeth Beyer: Unity School District in northwestern Wisconsin made the decision to remain open and continue with extracurricular activities at the beginning of the year in concert with a number of other districts in rural Polk County. “Certainly, things look different,” Robinson said. “There’s been a lot of streaming events because we have to limit … Continue reading Commentary on taxpayer supported k-12 School Districts’ continuing in person education experiences

Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school remote and in person perspectives

Elizabeth Beyer: Mark Wirtz, a third-grade teacher at Hawthorne Elementary, said he was a bit frightened to return to the classroom. “I’m really concerned about fellow staff members, really glad we are getting vaccinated, but I’m concerned about how my fellow staff members are feeling,” he said before being whisked away for his injection. “I … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school remote and in person perspectives

How long will students be feeling the impact of COVID, especially those who are still not in classes?

Alan Borsuk: This means her children have been learning virtually for a year now while she has been teaching in person. As a generalization, most suburban schools have been open for in-person education, in some cases for the whole school year, in some cases since around mid-year. Also as a generalization – and almost no one disputes this – in-person … Continue reading How long will students be feeling the impact of COVID, especially those who are still not in classes?

“Why should this investigation be secret?”

Dylan Brogan: District officials are refusing to release a 2020 report detailing an investigation into a former Madison East High School educator.  David Kruchten allegedly placed hidden cameras in the hotel bathrooms of students he was chaperoning on school trips. Students found these cameras concealed in smoke detectors, alarm clocks and air fresheners while at … Continue reading “Why should this investigation be secret?”

Parents are abandoning troubled NYC public schools for private education

Doree Lowak: “But, unfortunately, teachers who opted [to work remotely] still aren’t coming in, so kids go in to learn on Zoom while wearing a mask,” she said, referring to the teachers who received permission in September to be remote for the whole year. “They could have a math teacher ‘watching’ the class while the … Continue reading Parents are abandoning troubled NYC public schools for private education

“Any benefits to closing schools are far outweighed by the grave risks to children from remote-only schooling — risks that intensify the longer it continues.”

John Bailey: One year after nationwide public school closures, a growing body of medical research and the firsthand experiences of school systems worldwide can provide a sound basis for determining a reopening strategy. This report examines the collective findings of more than 120 studies and considers their implications for current decisions. These studies cover a … Continue reading “Any benefits to closing schools are far outweighed by the grave risks to children from remote-only schooling — risks that intensify the longer it continues.”

The staggering cost of the government’s covid response

James Freeman: At the same time, shut­downs ne­ces­si­tated mas­sive gov­ern­ment spend­ing of bor­rowed money to off­set the loss of nor­mal eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity. So U.S. chil­dren were handed a mas­sive ad­di­tional debt bur­den at the same time their abil­ity to gen­er­ate fu­ture in­come was re­duced. In the last year the United States has added more than … Continue reading The staggering cost of the government’s covid response

A proposal to decentralize the Wisconsin DPI

Rory Linnane: Deborah Kerr, one of two candidates competing to lead the state Department of Public Instruction, said she would move or rehire most of the agency’s over 400 employees  away from Madison and into offices around the state.  “Under DPI’s current model, agency staff are plucked from the Madison area, and that’s not inclusive … Continue reading A proposal to decentralize the Wisconsin DPI

Covid-19: NHS Test and Trace ‘no clear impact’ despite £37bn budget

Nick Triggle: The impact of NHS Test and Trace is still unclear – despite the UK government setting aside £37bn for it over two years, MPs are warning. The Public Accounts Committee said it was set up on the basis it would help prevent future lockdowns – but since its creation there had been two … Continue reading Covid-19: NHS Test and Trace ‘no clear impact’ despite £37bn budget

Mass. middle schools will be required to reopen full time on April 28, state school officials announce

Felicia Gans: In the latest push to get Massachusetts students back into classrooms full time this year, state education officials announced Tuesday that middle schools will be required to reopen full time on April 28. The forced return to in-person classes comes just days after state Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley was given the authority to … Continue reading Mass. middle schools will be required to reopen full time on April 28, state school officials announce

The Lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers

Alec Macgillis: In many parts of the country, particularly cities and towns dominated by Democrats, concerns about virus spread by children has resulted in all sorts of measures: closures of playgrounds, requirements that kids older than 2 wear masks outdoors, rigid restrictions on campus life at colleges that reopened. “We should be more careful with kids,” wrote … Continue reading The Lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers

Stay-at-home policy is a case of exception fallacy: an internet-based ecological study

R. F. Savaris, G. Pumi, […]R. Kunst: A recent mathematical model has suggested that staying at home did not play a dominant role in reducing COVID-19 transmission. The second wave of cases in Europe, in regions that were considered as COVID-19 controlled, may raise some concerns. Our objective was to assess the association between staying … Continue reading Stay-at-home policy is a case of exception fallacy: an internet-based ecological study

Milwaukee’s taxpayer supported schools Should Offer In-Person Classes Or else the Legislature should expand school choice.

Shannon Whitworth: Let us not forget that prior to the pandemic panic, Wisconsin already had the largest achievement gapbetween white and Black children in the nation. This gap will only get worse as schools across the state continue with in-person instruction while MPS students struggle to connect virtually, and in many ways educate themselves. Inner-city students … Continue reading Milwaukee’s taxpayer supported schools Should Offer In-Person Classes Or else the Legislature should expand school choice.

Mass. education commissioner wins authority to force school districts to bring students back to classrooms full-time

James Vaznis and Felicia Gans: The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted on Friday to give Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley the power to force districts to bring students back to the classrooms full-time, a move that aims to put student learning and wellbeing back on track after a year of epic disruptions. The … Continue reading Mass. education commissioner wins authority to force school districts to bring students back to classrooms full-time

Epidemics and trust: The case of the Spanish Flu

Arnstein Aassve, Guido Alfani, Francesco Gandolfi, Marco Le Moglio, Guido Alfani and Marco Le Moglie: Recent studies argue that major crises can have long‐lasting effects on individual behavior. While most studies focused on natural disasters, we explore the consequences of the global pandemic caused by a lethal influenza virus in 1918-19: the so‐called “Spanish Flu.” … Continue reading Epidemics and trust: The case of the Spanish Flu

Colleges That Require Virus-Screening Tech Struggle to Say Whether It Works

Natasha Singer and Kellen Browning: Before the University of Idaho welcomed students back to campus last fall, it made a big bet on new virus-screening technology. The university spent $90,000 installing temperature-scanning stations, which look like airport metal detectors, in front of its dining and athletic facilities in Moscow, Idaho. When the system clocks a … Continue reading Colleges That Require Virus-Screening Tech Struggle to Say Whether It Works

We Expect 300,000 Fewer Births Than Usual This Year

Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip B. Levine: The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the country into an economic recession and an unprecedented restructuring of our work and social lives. Early on, some likened the public health crisis to a blizzard, imagining that people would stay home, cozy up with their romantic partners and make babies. These … Continue reading We Expect 300,000 Fewer Births Than Usual This Year

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison’s property & business climate

Mitchell Schmidt: Officials with the World Dairy Expo, the largest convention and exposition in Dane County, are exploring venue options outside the Madison area for this year’s event, due to local COVID-19 restrictions. Currently, Dane County, which has been home to the event for more than 50 years, remains the planned host for the expo. … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison’s property & business climate

Political pressure to reopen schools is growing more intense

Charles Lipson: This week, Matt Meyer did what many parents long to do. He dropped off his kid at school. That’s unusual in Berkeley, California, where he lives, because the schools there have been closed for a year, and the teachers’ union adamantly opposes their reopening. Parents like Mr. Meyer who can afford private schools, … Continue reading Political pressure to reopen schools is growing more intense

Madison Teachers, Inc. Work Stoppage Plans

Empower Wisconsin: An email from MTI faculty representatives urged teachers to report to the district before 8 a.m. last Thursday that they had COVID-19 symptoms. “I’m sure we all feel exhausted, or have consistent headaches, not really feeling our usual energetic selves. Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?” the email states. “We need them … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc. Work Stoppage Plans

Commentary on a review of Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 schools COVID-19 precautions

Emily Hamer: An independent review of COVID-19 mitigation measures at Madison School District buildings found that the steps taken are “more than adequate” to create a safe environment for students, staff and parents. The 176-page report was posted to the district’s website Tuesday. McKinstry, a local building company, conducted the Feb. 26 analysis of the … Continue reading Commentary on a review of Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 schools COVID-19 precautions

San Francisco Parents Work to Recall School Board Members Amid Reopening Controversy

Alejandro Lazo: Fed up with the pace of plans to reopen public schools, parent groups are mobilizing against San Francisco’s elected school board, arguing it has given priority to social justice issues over getting kids back in classrooms. Two parents have launched a formal recall effort against three members of the school board, including its … Continue reading San Francisco Parents Work to Recall School Board Members Amid Reopening Controversy

Thousands of students reported ‘missing’ from school systems nationwide amid COVID-19 pandemic

Arielle Mitropoulos: States around the country are reporting a significant decline in the number of students enrolled in public school because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving experts and educators concerned about the trend, and its potential long-term consequences. A notable number of students seem to have simply fallen off the grid, not showing up for online or … Continue reading Thousands of students reported ‘missing’ from school systems nationwide amid COVID-19 pandemic

5 Pandemic Mistakes We Keep Repeating We can learn from our failures.

Zeynep Tufekci: One of the most important problems undermining the pandemic response has been the mistrust and paternalism that some public-health agencies and experts have exhibited toward the public. A key reason for this stance seems to be that some experts fearedthat people would respond to something that increased their safety—such as masks, rapid tests, or vaccines—by behaving … Continue reading 5 Pandemic Mistakes We Keep Repeating We can learn from our failures.

Washington, DC School leaders warn that not every student will be able to get an in-person slot this academic year

Perry Stein: After a month of in-person learning for about 20 percent of D.C. public school students, demand is growing for expanded access to classroom instruction for the fourth term of the academic year, which begins in late April. City officials have said that they will leave such decisions up to individual schools, but principals … Continue reading Washington, DC School leaders warn that not every student will be able to get an in-person slot this academic year

After Leading School Closures, Berkeley Teachers’ Union President Spotted Dropping Daughter Off at In-Person Preschool

KQED: ‘Why is that safe for him and those people who work there (at the preschool), but not for all of the kids in Berkeley Unified and the teachers? The answer is: It is safe.’Jonathan Zachreson, Founder of Reopen California Schools Looking to prove a double-standard by the Berkeley Federation of Teachers union president, they … Continue reading After Leading School Closures, Berkeley Teachers’ Union President Spotted Dropping Daughter Off at In-Person Preschool

Madison teachers union faces lawsuit over planned illegal “sick out”

WILL: Attorneys at the Liberty Justice Center and Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) are warning Madison Teachers Inc. that they face legal repercussions if they move forward with an illegal sick out on Monday. “Madison Teachers, Inc. leaders are asking their members to falsely call-in sick in order to shut down in-person learning,” said Daniel Suhr, … Continue reading Madison teachers union faces lawsuit over planned illegal “sick out”

Teach First

The Economist: Montgomery County, where your columnist’s three offspring attend (loosely speaking) public school, is on track to be the last of America’s 14,000 districts to return pupils to the classroom. Provided the board does not put the brakes on its latest back-to-school plan, as it has three times previously, Lexington’s two sons in elementary … Continue reading Teach First

Madison’s Taxpayer Funded K-12 Governence Commentary; 2021 Edition

Scott Girard: Superintendent Carlton Jenkins shared the data from the family survey that went out Feb. 17 with the School Board this week. He said about 65% of families — or about 7,790 families — with a student in those grades, which will be among the first to return in a phased reopening process, had … Continue reading Madison’s Taxpayer Funded K-12 Governence Commentary; 2021 Edition

Dane County Madison Public Health drops complaint against dance studio, will incorporate allegations into counterclaim in related lawsuit

Ed Treleven: Attorneys representing Public Health Madison and Dane County have asked to withdraw the health agency’s 119-count complaint against an Oregon dance studio over alleged COVID-19 public health order violations, but only to allow consolidation of the alleged violations into a related lawsuit. In a court filing Tuesday, Madison Assistant City Attorney Marci Paulsen wrote … Continue reading Dane County Madison Public Health drops complaint against dance studio, will incorporate allegations into counterclaim in related lawsuit

Wisconsin’s Emergency Powers Laws in Urgent Need of Reform

Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty: New study examines Wisconsin’s emergency powers laws, provides recommendations for reform The News: A new study from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) makes the case that Wisconsin’s antiquated emergency powers statutes are in urgent need of reform. The report, titled More Than “A Little Danger:” Reforming Wisconsin’s … Continue reading Wisconsin’s Emergency Powers Laws in Urgent Need of Reform

Reported COVID-19 Incidence in Wisconsin High School Athletes During Fall 2020

Phillip Sasser, MD, MS, Timothy McGuine, PhD, LAT, Kristin Haraldsdottir, PhD, Kevin Biese, MA, LAT, Leslie Goodavish, PA, Bethany Stevens, Andrew M. Watson, MD: The purpose of this study was to describe the reported incidence of COVID-19 in Wisconsin high school athletes in September 2020, and to investigate the relationship of COVID-19 incidence with sport … Continue reading Reported COVID-19 Incidence in Wisconsin High School Athletes During Fall 2020

Oakland teacher points finger at ‘rich white parents’ in reopening debate

Amy Graff: An Oakland special education teacher who also serves as the secretary of the Oakland Education Association added fire to the growing school reopening debate with a pointed Tweet criticizing parent concern that distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their children’s mental health. Bethany Meyer tweeted on Feb. 17, “All the rich … Continue reading Oakland teacher points finger at ‘rich white parents’ in reopening debate

Effort launched to recall three S.F. school board members

Lizzie Johnson: A San Francisco family has officially launched an effort to recall three school board members, filing the paperwork with county and state election officials, with more than 1,200 city residents already saying they are ready to sign the petitions. Organizers Autumn Looijen and Siva Raj, who are parents to five children, said they … Continue reading Effort launched to recall three S.F. school board members

West Coast States’ Failure to Reopen Schools Is a Disaster

Sasha Abramsky: Up and down the West Coast, millions of children in some of the country’s largest cities have had no in-person education since last March. In Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, and myriad other cities, there is precious little evidence the public schools will be reopening for most kids before the summer … Continue reading West Coast States’ Failure to Reopen Schools Is a Disaster

Opinion: Affluent professionals and unions: Can this marriage last?

Megan McArdle: Rereading Teixeira and Abramowitz today, one is struck by their eerie prescience, but also by the fundamental difficulty of holding together a Democratic Party where highly educated and affluent adults are the ascending faction but are not numerous enough to carry an election by themselves. This past year, that difficulty has come into … Continue reading Opinion: Affluent professionals and unions: Can this marriage last?

San Francisco has the lowest coronavirus case rate of major U.S. cities. But its schools are among the last to reopen

Susie Nielsen: San Francisco’s public schools have been virtual-only for nearly a year, despite increasing pressure from parents and politicians to reopen for in-person instruction. Even the city attorney has called on the school district to “immediately” reopen elementary schools. The school district is set to vote on a plan Tuesday that would allow schools … Continue reading San Francisco has the lowest coronavirus case rate of major U.S. cities. But its schools are among the last to reopen

Teachers to get priority for COVID-19 vaccine, Dane County Madison public health department says

Chris Rickert: While many public schools in Dane County began reopening in recent months to some in-person learning, and many private schools have been in-person since September, Madison public school students won’t begin returning to the classroom until March 9, when kindergartners go back. First- and second-graders are set to return March 16 and 4-year-old … Continue reading Teachers to get priority for COVID-19 vaccine, Dane County Madison public health department says

These California politicians have taken the most money from the state’s biggest teacher’s union

Eric Ting: California’s various teachers unions are coming under increased scrutiny over their reluctance to return to in-person learning, especially in the wake of the state legislature’s apprehension towards Gov. Gavin Newsom’s school reopening plan. The state’s most powerful teachers union — the California Teachers Association, which has more than 300,000 members and is affiliated with … Continue reading These California politicians have taken the most money from the state’s biggest teacher’s union

Biden Says He’s Pro-Science. Why Is His Schools Plan Based on Fear?

Timothy Carney: Will Mr. Biden listen to the science when it says, “Reopen schools”? Last spring it was reasonable and responsible to close schools, because of what we knew and what we didn’t know. We knew that other viruses, such as the norovirus and influenza, thrived in schools. We didn’t know how similar the coronavirus … Continue reading Biden Says He’s Pro-Science. Why Is His Schools Plan Based on Fear?

3 Attacks on School Choice in Governor Evers’ Wisconsin Budget Proposal

Will Flanders: Governor Tony Evers’ 2021-23 budget includes a Christmas tree for teachers unions in the form of higher spending and no requirements to get kids back into the classroom. But it also represents a renewed assault on the state’s high-performing school choice and charter programs. Below are three school choice takeaways from the governor’s budget proposal.    Enrollment Caps on Choice Programs   … Continue reading 3 Attacks on School Choice in Governor Evers’ Wisconsin Budget Proposal

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on What She Learned From Battling the Teachers’ Union

Dana Goldstein: After a bitter fight, the Chicago Public Schools reached a deal with its teachers’ union last week to reopen elementary and middle schools amid the pandemic. By early March, students who have been learning remotely for 10 months will be back in the classrooms. The agreement speeds up vaccinations for teachers, provides expanded … Continue reading Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on What She Learned From Battling the Teachers’ Union

Failing grades. Rising depression. Bay Area children are suffering from shuttered schools

Jill Tucker: Viola Buitoni tried to help her son as he grew increasingly detached, the high school junior’s anger flaring, tears flowing as she begged him to do his schoolwork. Before the pandemic, her son was thriving at San Francisco’s Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, where he was in the vocal music program and … Continue reading Failing grades. Rising depression. Bay Area children are suffering from shuttered schools

Mulligans for “Act 10”?

Patrick Marley and Molly Beck: Republican legislative leaders immediately rejected the full proposal because of provisions within it that would roll back policies they enacted under a Republican governor. “He’s not serious about governing, he’s serious about politics,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, told reporters after the budget address. Vos said the budget proposal was … Continue reading Mulligans for “Act 10”?

The effects of school closures on SARS-CoV-2 among parents and teachers

Jonas Vlachos, Edvin Hertegård, and Helena B. Svaleryd: To reduce the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), most countries closed schools, despite uncertainty if school closures are an effective containment measure. At the onset of the pandemic, Swedish upper-secondary schools moved to online instruction, while lower-secondary schools remained open. This allows for … Continue reading The effects of school closures on SARS-CoV-2 among parents and teachers

L.A. Unified is officially out of excuses for keeping elementary schools closed

Los Angeles Times: Schools have been reopening across the country for months now, illustrating that students can return to classrooms with little risk if the proper precautions have been taken. This is especially true of elementary schools, as younger children have been far less likely to be sickened with COVID-19 or to infect others. Reopened … Continue reading L.A. Unified is officially out of excuses for keeping elementary schools closed

A progressive parent’s rant about the politics surrounding school reopening

Rebecca Bodenheimer, PhD: I think we’re at a crucial point in this debate on school reopening right now. Case rates are dropping quickly, the surge is over, and people are starting to get vaccinated — though way too slowly of course. The public health community, including the CDC, have reached consensus that reopening schools is … Continue reading A progressive parent’s rant about the politics surrounding school reopening

Where Schools are Open: The big education story of the week

Alexander Russo: While some districts remain shuttered, a notable number have been reopened for weeks or even months, though sometimes the kids are learning from teachers who aren’t in the building and other schools have experienced high numbers of quarantine days: 🏆 What Can We Learn From Where the Schools Stayed Open? (New York Times) 🏆 Low attendance, … Continue reading Where Schools are Open: The big education story of the week

Ann Arbor trustee comments rile physicians urging in-person learning

Beth LeBlanc: An Ann Arbor public schools trustee has suggested area physicians pushing for in-person learning options in the district were pushing teachers into risky environments that doctors wouldn’t subject themselves to.  Area doctors — more than 350 of whom had signed a letter urging the school board to reopen in-person learning — were “positioning themselves as experts … Continue reading Ann Arbor trustee comments rile physicians urging in-person learning

To What Extent Does In-Person Schooling Contribute to the Spread of COVID-19? Evidence from Michigan and Washington

Dan Goldhaber, Scott A. Imberman, Katharine O. Strunk, Bryant Hopkins, Nate Brown, Erica Harbartkin & Tara Kilbride: The decision about how and when to open schools to in-person instruction has been a key question for policymakers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The instructional modality of schools has implications not only for the health and safety of … Continue reading To What Extent Does In-Person Schooling Contribute to the Spread of COVID-19? Evidence from Michigan and Washington

COVID-19 Testing in K-12 Schools Insights from Early Adopters

by Laura J. Faherty, Benjamin K. Master, Elizabeth D. Steiner, Julia H. Kaufman, Zachary Predmore, Laura Stelitano, Jennifer T. Leschitz, Brian Phillips, Heather L. Schwartz, Rebecca Wolfe: In this report, we share insights from a national scan and more than 80 interviews with early adopters of COVID-19 testing in K-12 schools as of December 2020. … Continue reading COVID-19 Testing in K-12 Schools Insights from Early Adopters

Wisconsin school closures to cost children $7B over lifetime: Study

Benjamin Yount: The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is releasing a new study that puts the cost for keeping schools closed last spring at over $7 billion.  Will Flanders, research director at WILL, said the number comes from study after study that shows less time in the classroom as well as a widening achievement … Continue reading Wisconsin school closures to cost children $7B over lifetime: Study

K-12 Governance, Politics and Government School Teacher Unions

Jonathan Easley and Amie Parnes: The mixed messaging underscores the tricky politics Biden faces as elected officials clash with teachers unions in Democratic strongholds over how quickly to reopen classrooms.                                                                                                  Some public health experts are chiding the White House for downplaying analysis from CDC leaders, warning that the apparent tension could undermine the agency’s authority … Continue reading K-12 Governance, Politics and Government School Teacher Unions