Wisconsin

Really, Gov. Walker, These Polices Just Aren't Working for Our Kids

Thomas Beebe, Project Director, Opportunity to Learn - Wisconsin

Welcome to Fairly Normal, WI. It's a fictional but entirely average public school district in Wisconsin and, like other districts across the state, Fairly Normal is finding it increasingly difficult to keep its doors open, let alone educate its students, as a result of state education policies that are undermining the district's finances. In fact, Fairly Normal is staring down the barrel at fiscal insolvency and bankruptcy by the 2015-16 school year unless policymakers get their priorities straight.

As I travel around Wisconsin, it’s evident that a lot of people still believe Governor Scott Walker when he says public schools and children are better off—or at least no worse off—since he brought us Act 10 and his 2011-13 state budget.

As a quick reminder, Act 10 gives school boards the ability to ask staff to pay more toward their health insurance and pensions, supposedly to offset state budget cuts and reductions in local taxing authority.

Solutions Not Suspensions! A Call for a Moratorium on Out-of-School Suspensions

Today the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign is joining forces with the Dignity in Schools Campaign to launch Solutions Not Suspensions, a call for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions. Every year, 3.3 million students in the United States are suspended from school, causing them to miss critical learning time, as well as opportunities to grow and succeed. Recent federal data show that Black and Latino students and students with disabilities are disproportionately targeted by suspensions. Solutions Not Suspension is calling on states and districts to support teachers and schools in dealing with discipline in positive ways – keeping students in the classroom and helping educators work with students and parents to create safe and engaging classrooms that protect the human rights to education and dignity.

Solutions Not Suspensions

The National Opportunity to Learn Campaign and the Dignity in Schools Campaign Launch National Initiative on School Discipline

A Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting a Human Rights Framework for Schools

Publication Date: 
Wed, 2012-08-01
Type: 
policy
Category: 
equitable-instructional-materials

The Dignity in Schools Campaign Model Code on Education and Dignity presents a set of recommended policies to schools, districts and legislators to help end school pushout and protect the human rights to education, dignity, participation and freedom from discrimination. The Code is the culmination of several years of research and dialogue with students, parents, educators, advocates and researchers who came together to envision a school system that supports all children and young people in reaching their full potential.

Privatization As a Solution? Wrong. Try Again.

In her annual Message on Public Education, Jan Resseger, Minister for Public Education and Witness at the United Church of Christ Justice, denounces the privatization of public education as the abdication of our responsibilities as citizens of a democratic nation to provide all children with a fair and substantive opportunity to learn. The 10-page Message also functions as a primer on how different aspects of the privatization movement (from vouchers to education management organizations to charters and online schools) are undermining the principles of fairness and opportunity that our country holds so dear.

In her annual Message on Public Education, Jan Resseger, Minister for Public Education and Witness at the United Church of Christ Justice, denounces the privatization of public education as the abdication of our responsibilities as citizens of a democratic nation to provide all children with a fair and substantive opportunity to learn.

A Tale of Two Districts: A Teacher Reflects on the Disparities Harming WI Schools

Susan Howe, FACE teacher, Monona Grove High School, WI

Susan Howe, a lifelong teacher in Wisconsin's public schools, has witnessed the heartbreaking disparities in access to educational resources and opportunities in her state firsthand. Here, she tells the touching stories of two new young teachers, her niece and her son, and how the disparities between their districts led one to succeed and one to resign. 

This guest blog post is from Susan Howe, a longtime teacher in Wisconsin and a passionate advocate for the rights of all children to a fair and substantive opportunity to learn. 

-------

For some reason, my family seems to have produced more than its share of teachers. I don't remember anyone encouraging us or discouraging us, but somehow we ended up with nine teachers in our extended family, including my husband and myself.

Opportunities Suspended: The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion From School

Publication Date: 
Tue, 2012-08-07
Author: 
Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA's Civil Rights Project
Type: 
reports
Category: 
equitable-instructional-materials

This report analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights on school discipline and suspensions in the 2009-10 school year to reveal the unconscionable disparities regarding which students are pushed out of the classroom through out-of-school suspensions.The source data covers 7,000 school districts and represents 85 percent of all public school students, making this report the first and most comprehensive analysis of the impact of out nation's school discipline policies.

Millions of Students Locked Out of the Classroom

17 percent of all African-American students received out-of-school suspensions in the 2009-2010 school year compared to 7 percent of Latino students and just 5 percent of White students. Even more shocking, 25 percent of African-American students with disabilities were suspended the same year. In "Opportunities Suspended: The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion From School," the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the UCLA's Civil Rights Project analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights on school discipline and suspensions in the 2009-10 school year. The comprehensive report reveals the unconscionable disparities regarding which students are pushed out of the classroom and locked out of school.

17 percent of all African-American students received out-of-school suspensions in the 2009-2010 school year compared to 7 percent of Latino students and just 5 percent of White students. Even more shocking, 25 percent of African-American students with disabilities were suspended the same year.

Seriously, What's the Holdup With Early Childhood Education?

By Thomas Beebe, Project Manager, Opportunity to Learn - Wisconsin

It seems we have another case of politics and penny-pinching overriding common sense and educational research. High-quality early childhood education for all children is one of the best investments we can make. So why aren't we doing it? Because our elected officials lack the will and the courage to do what is right and help communities find the resources they need to provide all students with access to quality early education opportunities.

If our children are going to learn in school and succeed in life they need opportunities to learn such as quality early childhood educational experiences. 

How to Measure the Well-Being of Our Children

The 2012 version of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual "KIDS COUNT Data Book" provides a wealth of information about the well-being of our nation's children, including state-by-state data on educational opportunities, economic security, access to healthcare and family and community environments. The report illustrates the deep disparities between children of color and their White peers and between children from wealthy and low-income families in access to the opportunities and supports necessary to succeed in school and in life. Overall, the report finds that a higher percentage of students of color are living in poverty, not attending preschool, not graduating on time and don't have health insurance compared to non-Hispanic White children.

Tiny Budget Increase Doesn't Replace Lost Opportunities

Thomas Beebe, Project Director, Opportunity to Learn - Wisconsin
One year of slight increases in state education aid isn't enough to make up for years of budget cuts and a property tax cap that limits the power of communities to help their local schools. Wisconsin needs to prioritize its children and its public schools, or else everyone will end up paying for it in the long run.

It’s an indisputable fact: Public education is the great leveler in our economy and our society. If we put in the resources up front we will get the results we all want: Successful young adults, an economy that works, and a civil society we can be proud of.

At the very time Wisconsin’s students need more quality education, however, state government continues to bleed school districts of the resources they need.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Wisconsin