This Thanksgiving, thank a union member!

Provided by WEAC Region 7

thank_you_300pxIf you are an educator in a public school, you should thank all of your colleagues who are WEAC members. Whether you are a member or not, you have benefited tremendously from their ongoing support for the only organization in Wisconsin that exists to advance the interests and values of all public educators. Consider some of the things that have happened because tens of thousands of public school educators remain strong dues paying members:

1) Professional Licenses Have Retained Their Value. During the last state budget process, opponents of public education slipped into the budget a provision that would have gutted teacher licensure in Wisconsin. The provision would have allowed almost anyone to teach in public schools even if they had no training in education whatsoever.

The reason this proposal did not pass is that WEAC remains strong enough to mobilize tens of thousands of emails and phone calls to state legislators from members and allied organizations. In fact, WEAC has worked tirelessly to help organize a strong coalition of educators, administrators, school board members and parent groups to defend public education in the budget process. It was this network that beat back the proposal to water down teacher licensure.

2) The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Remains Strong. Since 2011, several attempts have been made to weaken and undermine Wisconsin’s top notch retirement system for public employees. Several times in the past few years, WEAC has mobilized tens of thousands of emails and phone calls to push back against back door efforts to weaken the WRS. WEAC is a founding member and significant supporter of the Wisconsin Coalition for Retirement Security, the major coalition that fights to protect the WRS system.

3) The Value of Educators’ Salaries is Largely Preserved. Following the implementation of Act 10, members of local associations fought successfully to prevent pay cuts for experienced teachers. In the vast majority of districts, local associations have won cost of living increases so that salaries keep up with inflation. In many districts, members have won systems for professional salary growth that are objective and predictable. All of this puts upward pressure on educator salaries.

4) Educator Evaluations are Still Based on Reason and Fairness. Immediately following Act 10, the governor pursued a statewide teacher evaluation system that would have been based mostly on student test scores. A solid scientific consensus exists that there is no valid and reliable way to link teacher performance to the test scores that students receive. Serving on the key task force that developed the statewide evaluation system, WEAC has successfully fought off efforts to grade teachers based on the test scores of their students.

5) Funding for Public Schools is Much Better than it Would Have Been. In every budget cycle, the governor has introduced proposals to substantially reduce funding for public schools. In the past two state budgets WEAC was a key part of the statewide coalition that fought off cuts and won modest increases in public school funding. As a result of WEAC’s efforts to found and support a broad coalition for public schools, public opinion is on our side and we have hope of winning much better public school funding increases in the future.

So, be sure to thank a union member for all the support they provide to the teaching professions and public schools!