Legislative Update: June 7

The Joint Finance Committee voted this week not to use federal Medicaid funds available under the Affordable Care Act, which would have resulted in an additional $1.6 billion investment in health programs and freed up state funds to support schools and roads. Also, an analysis of the education budget passed through the Joint Finance Committee last week shows that students enrolled in private voucher schools would again receive higher per-pupil payments than public school students.

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Spotlight on Locals: Siren Education Association

The Siren Education Association’s success as a local union is based on a people-first philosophy. “Approach every new person offering them the benefits and support of the association, listen to every member’s thoughts and concerns, and work diligently to have open dialogue with your administrators,” SEA President Polly Imme told WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen in her latest Spotlight on Locals column. “Our work is a two-way street and takes honesty, respect, and trust.”

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NEPC issues ‘red flag warning’ on personalized learning initiatives

So-called “personalized learning” programs are proliferating in schools across the United States despite “many red flags” as to their effectiveness and the motivations behind them, according to a new report from the National Education Policy Center. The NEPC says these “personalized learning” initiatives are “fueled by philanthropic dollars, tech industry lobbying, marketing by third-party vendors, and a policy environment that provides little guidance and few constraints.”

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Spotlight on Locals: Onalaska Education Association

Believing in the greater good, strong ethics, one-to-one communication, building relationships, having strong leaders at the building level, building a positive image. Leaders of the Onalaska Education Association say these are all ingredients to creating a strong local association. “A key to our success has been to be a positive influence in the school district and the community,” music teacher Christina Martin told WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen for her latest Spotlight on Locals column.

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Despite serious problems and a lack of research support, virtual schools continue to spread

Lawmakers throughout the nation continue to support the spread of virtual schools despite the fact that research reveals overwhelming evidence of poor performance, according to a new review by the National Education Policy Center. Given the evidence, the review recommends that policymakers slow or stop the growth in the number of virtual and blended schools and the size of their enrollments until the reasons for their relatively poor performance have been identified and addressed.

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