Legislative Update – November 30

A bill addressing student violence in the classroom – using an approach that WEAC has called misguided – was formally introduced as Assembly Bill 693. In standing against the proposal by Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt, WEAC has said we would like to see principles for protecting all educators on the job, not short-sighted legislation. Also coming out against AB 693 are the School Administrators Alliance, Wisconsin Family Ties, and the Department of Public Instruction. Other topics this week include: funding for bilingual education, guns in schools, Montessori teacher license, and school board nomination signatures.

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Teachers sound off on potentially losing classroom supply tax deduction

The tax plan approved by the House would eliminate the “educator expense deduction” which allows teachers and administrators to deduct up to $250 for out-of-pocket expenses used in their classrooms and schools. The Senate is considering doubling the education tax deduction to $500, but educators are very concerned about the possibility of losing this tax deduction, especially while the GOP tax plan provides very large deductions for wealthy individuals and corporations. Here is some of what they had to say.

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95 percent of Wisconsin public school districts meet or exceed expectations in new statewide ‘report card’

“On one hand, the vast majority of parents choose public schools for their students, and more than 95 percent of districts are meeting or exceeding expectations set forth on the report cards,” said WEAC President Ron Martin. “On the other hand, there is a troubling number of voucher schools still unaccountable for performance – even though private school tuition is paid for by taxpayers. If Wisconsin is serious about school performance, legislators should focus and invest in the public schools that serve the majority of students instead of siphoning public school funds off to private voucher schools.”

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Republican tax plan is ‘giveaway to wealthiest paid for by students and working families’

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a multi-trillion dollar tax plan that funds tax breaks for the wealthiest and corporations on the backs of students and working families. The bill, championed by Republican leaders, eliminates a popular tax deduction that allows educators to deduct up to $250 of the money they spend on their classrooms and students. The bill also expands a tax loophole for the wealthiest to pay for private school expenses while cutting tax deductions for the middle class. The elimination of most of the state and local tax deductions would blow a hole in state and local revenue to support public education and risk funding for nearly 250,000 education jobs, including 4,680 in Wisconsin.

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Wisconsin’s anti-collective bargaining law has significantly lowered teacher pay, increased teacher turnover rates and likely harmed student achievement, new study finds

“As a result of Act 10, teachers receive significantly lower compensation, turnover rates are much higher, and teacher experience has dropped significantly,” Wisconsin Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling said at the release of a new study that documents how the 2011 anti-collective bargaining law has harmed Wisconsin. “Rather than encouraging the best and the brightest to become teachers and remain in the field throughout their career, Act 10 has demonized and devalued the teaching profession and driven away many teachers.” The study was released by the Center for American Progress.

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