Action by WEAC members leads to withdrawal of proposal that threatened teacher rights

Due to the efforts of WEAC members, a proposal to seriously threaten teacher rights won’t move forward, the state education agency announced Thursday. Thousands of WEAC members answered the call to action to provide testimony on proposed changes, which included the licensure system as well as sweeping revisions to teacher discipline procedures. While WEAC collaborated on the system changes to support the goal of easing the teacher shortage, our members determined the discipline changes would push professionals away from teaching. “WEAC members stood up in huge numbers to get involved,” said WEAC President Ron Martin, and it paid off.

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Legislative Update – February 15 – Bill that severely threatens student privacy up for a vote on Tuesday

A bill, introduced by Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt, that severely threatens student privacy under the guise of protecting teachers is up for an Assembly committee vote next Tuesday. So far, there’s no companion bill, and WEAC continues to monitor. In an op-ed column written this week, teacher Andy Waity, president of Madison Teachers Inc., says this bill aims to restore a system that has failed to protect staff and students and, in some cases, has served to increase tensions in an already challenging climate.

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Family’s experiences in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin illustrate impact of political climate on education, unions

In an Education Minnesota article, Sparta, Wisconsin, teacher Lauren Cody says her mother’s involvement in the union as a Minnesota Education Support Professional has instilled in her a deep appreciation of the importance of the union for educators and students. The article emphasizes the negative impact of Act 10 on educators and education in Wisconsin and also the impact of similar legislation in Iowa, where Lauren’s brother, Kalyn, teaches. Mother Deb Cody says the experiences of her children in Wisconsin and Iowa illustrate how critical it is that educators in Minnesota work to maintain their much friendlier environment for unions and public education.

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98.3 percent of Wisconsin communities provide free 4K

With the addition of three public school districts offering 4-year-old kindergarten (4K) to children and their families for the 2017-18 school year, Wisconsin now has 98.3 percent of communities that provide free public education to 4-year-olds. “Research is clear that young children develop important skills and gain a foundation for future learning through 4-year-old kindergarten programs,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Quality 4K offers rich experiences, including play-based learning that helps kids learn to work cooperatively and get along as well as expanding academic knowledge. This truly sets the stage for future success.”

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Legislative Update – February 14 – Assembly OKs rural schools bill

After lengthy debate, the Assembly passed a bill 91-2 to help rural schools. An amendment allows districts with a failed referendum to present another one to voters. If successful, they would then qualify. This provision in the bill, even with the added amendment, received criticism from Democrats, who said it didn’t do enough for struggling rural schools.

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Participate in the Working People’s Day of Action February 24 in Madison!

Around the country, workers are taking a stand against the continued assault on the rights of working people! Join the Working People’s Day of Action, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., Saturday, February 24, 2018, at the State Street side of the Capitol Square in Madison. AFSCME Wisconsin invites you to stand with your union colleagues, fellow workers and advocates to show all those who have taken away the rights of working people that they will be held accountable.

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