December 15, 2021

A Message to Wisconsin Educators

By Peggy Wirtz-Olsen, President
Wisconsin Education Association Council

This year has been one of the toughest in our careers. We are doing absolutely everything we possibly can to make this school year successful, supportive, and safe for our students. We are at a breaking point: our students need so much, but there are not enough educators or resources to meet their needs. Impossible demands are driving great educators out of the profession. To keep students learning and schools open in 2022, Wisconsin needs to stabilize the education workforce.

Given the stress, trauma and exhaustion educators are under, it is clear that it’s up to educators to unite and lead our way out of this crisis. Before our students suffer even more.

We are closing out a year in a state where we can’t negotiate with our employers. We are closing out a year in a state where politicians vote against education funding but vote for censoring our lessons.

We are closing out a year in which entertainment takes the form of teachers groveling on the ice at a South Dakota hockey game to pay for classroom improvements. Imagine that. Teachers stuffing dollar bills into their shirts and pockets in front of a crowd to pay for classroom supplies.

The solution to Wisconsin’s school funding crisis is not a version of Squid Games.

The solution to Wisconsin’s educator shortage is not another district climate survey. Not another coffee mug to boost our morale.

The solution to this crisis lies within us, in union.

The solution depends on us standing together, union strong for 2022. Union strong for safe and healthy schools. Union strong for solutions to the workload crisis and educator shortages. Union strong until every educator has a seat at the table.

Educators in union can affect change. It happens every day in schools across Wisconsin.

Our work in 2022 starts with celebrating the value of union membership. Celebrating 100 years of union strong at the Wisconsin Education Association Council. Because the same as it was 100 years ago, we know this: If educators want change, we have to make it for ourselves.

I deeply thank you for what you have done, and what you will continue to do, to be that change in Wisconsin Public Schools.