Category Archives: National Issue

50th annual PDK poll results: Public supports more funding for schools, teachers

For the past half-century, Phi Delta Kappa (PDK), an organization of professional educators, has released a nationwide poll this time of year that attempts to capture the American public’s attitudes toward public education.

For the 19th consecutive year, Americans have named the lack of funding as the biggest problem facing their local schools and by a higher margin than in recent years.

Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of those surveyed say teacher pay in their community is too low, while just 6 percent say it’s too high.  Further, for the first time since the question was asked in 1969, a majority of respondents (54 percent) say they would not want their child to become a public school teacher, often citing poor pay and benefits among their reasons. Continue reading 50th annual PDK poll results: Public supports more funding for schools, teachers

Hearing on Gun-Free School Zones Law Repeal Bill Set for Next Wednesday

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 169, authored by Sen. Dave Craig (R-Town of Vernon, pictured), which would repeal the state’s gun free school zones law, among other provisions, on:

Wednesday May 31st
9:30 AM
Room 411 South, State Capitol, Madison

As mentioned, this bill would repeal the state’s gun free school zones law; allow individuals to obtain a “basic” concealed carry licenses without completing firearms training; require school boards to post school buildings and grounds to prohibit possession of firearms by carrying concealed weapon (CCW) license holders in those places; and reduce penalties for persons who possess firearms in school buildings and on school grounds in violation of such postings. Continue reading Hearing on Gun-Free School Zones Law Repeal Bill Set for Next Wednesday

DeVos Expected to Unveil Trump Administration’s Plans to Encourage Voucher Expansion in Speech Tonight

Tonight in Indianapolis, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is scheduled to address a gathering of the American Federation for Children (AFC), a national pro-voucher advocacy group that she founded and long headed.   Her appearance before the group comes one day before the Trump Administration’s education budget will be formally unveiled.

During her speech to the AFC’s National Policy Summit, DeVos is expected to unveil the Trump Administration’s school-choice education proposals, which are rumored to include offering tax breaks to parents who send children to religious and other private schools. Continue reading DeVos Expected to Unveil Trump Administration’s Plans to Encourage Voucher Expansion in Speech Tonight

U.S. House Passes Obamacare Repeal Bill, Deep Cuts to Medicaid Will Impact Special Education

housechamberThe U.S. House of Representatives voted today (Thursday May 4) to approve a bill to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act (a/k/a “Obamacare”) with new legislation known as the American Health Care Act (ACHA).  The measure was passed on a 217-213 vote.

Among other things, the ACHA would make profound changes to the state-federal partnership program known as Medicaid or Medical Assistance, including reducing by $880 billion the amount of federal Medicaid dollars to states.  These changes would significantly impact the ability of students with disabilities and students in poverty to receive critically necessary health services in public schools. The changes would require schools to compete for limited Medicaid funding, which would likely result in arbitrary caps on the amount of Medicaid reimbursements made to public schools.

Continue reading U.S. House Passes Obamacare Repeal Bill, Deep Cuts to Medicaid Will Impact Special Education

USDA Relaxes School Meals Nutrition Rules

Sonny PeredueNewly confirmed U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced an interim final rule on Monday (May 1) that postpones further sodium reductions in school meals for at least three years, allows schools to serve 1 percent flavored milk, and gives states authority to exempt schools from having to replace all their grain-based products with whole-grain-rich products.

During a visit to a Leesburg, Virginia elementary school to mark School Nutrition Employee Week, Perdue signed a proclamation which he said begins the process of restoring local control of guidelines on whole grains, sodium, and milk.  Perdue says the new rule is needed to give schools more flexibility in meeting the strict standards.  Others see the measures as an attempt to roll back healthy school lunch standards promoted by former first lady Michelle Obama.

Continue reading USDA Relaxes School Meals Nutrition Rules

What Can Top-Performing Education Systems in Other Countries Teach Us About Improving Education in WI?

On Monday morning (April 3), the School Administrators Alliance is hosting an event at the Concourse Hotel in Madison entitled, “What Wisconsin Can Learn About Education Innovations From the World’s Top Performing Countries.”

This gathering will explore a bipartisan report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), entitled “No Time to Lose,” which carefully examined the education policies and practices of high-performing countries with an eye toward learning what it might take to build a world-class education system state by state here in the U.S. Continue reading What Can Top-Performing Education Systems in Other Countries Teach Us About Improving Education in WI?

Where Does The Feds’ Withdrawal of Transgender Guidance Leave School Districts?

Federal Enforcement Actions: The joint decision by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education to withdraw and rescind past guidance on transgendered students means those departments will not be independently pursuing enforcement actions against schools and/or threatening the loss of federal funds based on a school district’s alleged failure to implement each and every aspect of the former guidelines.

As a practical matter, enforcement of the rescinded guidance has been on hold since last August when a federal district court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction blocking enforcement. (See previous post.) The Wisconsin Department of Justice was one of several state departments that joined a federal lawsuit challenging the guidance that resulted in the issuance of that injunction. (See previous post.) Given the latest action from the new Trump administration, that lawsuit is “essentially moot,” according to a state DOJ spokesman. Continue reading Where Does The Feds’ Withdrawal of Transgender Guidance Leave School Districts?