Wednesday, August 21st
6:15 pm Pot Luck meal
7:00 pm Meeting
At the Historic Eland Depot
Guest Tony Gonzalez has an interpreting business “E.A.G. INTERPRETERS” in Wausau. He will be speaking about his experiences in bringing awareness to the needs of the Hispanic community. He has attended various seminars around the country to get a better grip of the human effect, beyond the economic impact of immigration to our country. He realizes that in our current political environment there needs to be bi-partisan solutions. All of the people of America need to listen to each other.
Accompanying Tony is Pastor Jeffrey Todd who has worked in the medical field and currently volunteers in social justice mission work. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling/psychology/administration-organizational behavior.
Text or call Dan Weidner at 715-250-1212 to car pool from the Shawano Civic Center.
AMANDA STUCK TOWN HALL
(not Struck as in the newsletter)
Friday, August 23rd
Shawano Civic Center
(225 S. Main St.)
Amada is running for the 8th Congressional District. She currently represents the 57th Wisconsin Assembly District
Below is the August op-ed on education that appeared in the Shawano Leader
RESTORING THE PUBLIC TRUST IN OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
Education is the foundation for democracy itself. The education of our youth is crucial to its future. If a population can’t think critically or know its history, it is easy to be manipulated by the powerful.
The idea of public education was first promoted by Horace Mann in the early 1800’s. He believed that in a democratic society, education should be free and universal, nonsectarian and democratic in method, and reliant on well-trained professional teachers.
Wisconsin’s highly acclaimed public education system began to erode with the implementation of Scott Walker’s Act 10 in 2011. One billion dollars of cuts were made to education and since then that amount has never been restored. That legislation also lowered teacher take home pay, by effectively taking away collective bargaining.
Small rural school districts feel the pinch more than larger districts which have a higher tax base. It has become harder for small rural districts to stay afloat. Local taxpayers have had to vote for an additional $1.4 billion in referenda funding to support their schools. Quality teachers are harder to find, since fewer students are pursuing education majors in college.
If this wasn’t bad enough, the Walker administration advocated for expanding private school vouchers which divert money away from public schools. According to the Department of Public Instruction, about 28,000 students in the Milwaukee area use vouchers and about 10,000 throughout the rest of the state. The program grew about 9% during the last school year, costing about $300 million.
School vouchers don’t just violate the principle of the separation of church and state, they pose a grave threat to public education. Voucher advocates rely on a number of fallacious arguments. Here are six of the most common ones debunked:
- Vouchers promote “school choice.” They do in a sense – but chiefly for the people who own and operate private schools. Vouchers offer no real choice to parents because private schools routinely deny admission or expel students who fail to meet certain criteria.
- Vouchers boost academic performance. Voucher programs have been in operation in some states since the 1990s. Researchers have had plenty of time to study them, and one thing is clear: Vouchers don’t increase student academic performance.
- People who send their children to private schools are taxed twice, once to pay for public schools and once for the private school tuition they pay. Private school tuition is not a tax; it’s an extra expense some people have chosen to bear.
- Vouchers spur public schools to improve by introducing an element of competition. The public school system and private schools are so dissimilar that there can be no true competition between them. Public schools by constitutional law must serve all young people even those with both physical and emotional disabilities. Private schools can select certain pupils and turn away others. Public schools are answerable to democratically elected boards. Private schools are free from most forms of state oversight.
- Private schools offer a better education than public schools. This assumption is taken as a given by many Americans, even some public school advocates. But there’s little data to back it up.
- The American people support vouchers. No, they don’t. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans opposes voucher plans. And the more people know about vouchers, the less they like them. This probably explains why vouchers and other private school aid plans have been decisively defeated in numerous ballot referenda since 1967.
The latest research shows there is inequality in our schools but also reveals there are positive impacts if our schools are properly funded. The Evers administration worked hard to listen to the needs and values of Wisconsinites, and that is exactly what was reflected in his state budget.
Even after claiming that they were making “historic investments” in Wisconsin’s schools, the Republican’s budget cut $900 million from Governor Evers’ proposal. Fortunately, by using his veto pen, Governor Evers was able to add back $87 million in school funding to the budget.
Although Evers wanted to rewrite the school-aid formula so that more funding could go to high poverty and rural school districts, he was not able to do that. With increased funding there could be reduced student-to-teacher ratios and increased teacher salaries which help to draw the best teachers to school districts.
The governor has put our children’s future and the needs of our local schools first. We know that the people of Wisconsin, from every corner of the state, have been asking for a greater investment in our public schools. It’s time to continue the fight for quality education for all students. Our children are our future.