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Walker budget is wrong for Wisconsin

Posted: 3/1/2011 6:45:46 PM


Christina Brey

With Governor Walker presenting his budget proposal to the State Legislature on Tuesday, WEAC President Mary Bell issued the following statement:

“Governor Walker’s budget is wrong for Wisconsin and doesn’t reflect our values. Wisconsin’s teachers and school staff acknowledge that these are difficult economic times – and we’ve agreed to the economic concessions Governor Walker asked for to help our state weather these trying times.

“But the extreme cuts proposed in Governor Walker’s budget go too far. You simply cannot cut three-quarters of a billion dollars out of our education system and deliver on the basic promise to provide youth with a quality education. These drastic cuts to education cannot be absorbed by districts and will have a rippling effect in communities across the state as they deal with unprecedented teacher layoffs, elimination of programs, and reductions in standards.

“Even in tough economic times, we cannot turn our back on the need to provide students with a quality education. This is our future – this is Wisconsin’s future.

“The budget brought forward today is filled with broken promises that will hurt our students as well as the state’s most vulnerable citizens – ultimately, this will hurt our communities and erode Wisconsin’s quality of life.

“While Wisconsin is open for business, the terms and conditions of living for middle-class families are being called into question the more we learn about Governor Walker’s agenda.

“Wisconsin has long been regarded as a state that provides a high-quality of living. While we agree with Governor Walker’s goal for long-term economic growth and job creation, we feel his priorities are misguided and disingenuous to what the people of this state value.

“He’s out of touch. And here are just a few examples:

“He’s out of touch to suggest Wisconsin schools can eliminate categorical aid funding for advanced placement programs, science/technology/engineering/mathematics (STEM), English language learners for Southeast Asian students, and supplemental aid for our rural schools districts that are already suffering. If we were truly open for business, we would be focused on preparing our students for a world economy. Our students deserve better.

“He’s out of touch to suggest limited state resources can be used to further expand the Milwaukee choice program – all while pulling back on accountability for results in these schools.

“He’s out of touch to suggest that more students should be taught by unlicensed teachers. Effective teaching is more than knowing a subject area. Clearly, a teacher must be trained to understand child development and learning fundamentals and have essential classroom management training to succeed. Our students deserve this.

“He’s out of touch to suggest that all Wisconsin students can achieve reading proficiency by the third grade while at the same time proposing the elimination of reading specialists. All students deserve the individualized attention to help them learn this fundamental skill. Drastic teacher layoffs and removing resources that focus on literacy won’t help us achieve a goal of reading proficiency. Clearly this goes against common-sense – and again, our students deserve better.

“He’s not listening to parents who have stated safe schools are a priority for Wisconsin. If he were listening, he’d realize that you cannot eliminate funding for our most vulnerable students who rely on at-risk programs or alternative education venues. Governor Walker’s budget removes any special services for these students, and sends them back to classrooms in communities across the state.

“Right now there’s a mood of uncertainty and angst in our state. The details of this budget make things worse and further polarize working families against corporate interests.

“It’s time for Governor Walker to show leadership – and work across party lines to find sensible solutions that reflect the traditions and values of Wisconsin.

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Comments 23

  1. Reading Teacher 3/14/2011

    I just got my reading licensure.  Since that time my students have made huge gains in reading.  My heart is in the right place to help students read and would like to be a Title 1 and Reading Specialist.  Mr. Walker it is sad to think of Title 1 and Reading Specialists not being required in a school.  What are you going to do when our reading scores are low?  What about having the best education for all Wisconsin students?  This is ridiculous!
  2. Anne 3/9/2011

    I am a unionized worker in Washington, D.C., who has been following the events in Wisconsin very closely.  The teachers in Wisconsin, along with the other unionized employees, can count me as someone else who is in their corner 100%.  In view of Gov. Walker's record as Executive of  Milwaukee County, and his union-busting efforts in that capacity, I  have nothing but distrust for him.  Furthermore, what I am hearing about other parts of his proposed budget is disquieting.  It sounds like it's less about balancing the budget and more about imposing his ideology on the good people of Wisconsin, regardless of the cost.  Please know that I have the utmost respect for those who are fighting for your rights.
  3. Julie 3/8/2011


    You are so right. EVERYONE does need to contribute, but I only heard Walker referring to public employees as the "tools" he gave local governments in order to deal with cuts in funding...Please invest some time to educate yourself and stop bringing up the obvious, misguided arguments that have already been disproved.
  4. Matt 3/8/2011

    I am not a teacher.  I do not live in Wisconsin.  However, I am currently half way through my bachelors degree for education.  I live in Colorado and just wanted to let all of you fine people know that I have your back tooth and nail.  Walker is living in a cloud of intolerance and must be shown that what he is attempting is down right criminal.  Don't stand down.  On the contrary, STAND STRONG! 
  5. BILL 3/7/2011

  6. chopper 3/5/2011

    Walker's budget is not in good faith.  He starves the public schools for funds and loosens the rules for charters and vouchers.  He wants to see the schools privatized.  In the near term the Darlene's of the world will be paying more fees and seeing more programs dropped and then if
    Scotty get's his way we will have a two tiered system like they do in the South.  Private schools for people with money - everyone else in the overcrowded, underfunded public schools.
  7. kris 3/3/2011

    I would like to make the observation that as I've read blogs or visited sites like this one fact that seems to stand out is the people who favor Walker's bill seem to be bitter and hateful.  Sometimes when you're so filled with hate it's hard to really see what's right before your eyes.  Folks that are opposed to the bill seem to be trying to explain and educate people about why the bill will hurt so many people, not just themselves.  It's about time that people open their minds and try to learn more about what this bill is all about rather than just holding a pitchfork and yelling "Kill the Beast"! 
  8. Mary 3/2/2011

    Just two more things for Darlene:

    How much paid vacation do other workers get?  I don't get one single minute...not one.

    And a bonus for good work?  Or a chance to buy stock in the company I'm working for that should grow if I do my job well?  Or a stock dividend?  Zip, zilch, nada.

    Here's what I get from my tech college students, and I love getting these messages, but they don't buy the groceries:

    Hi MaryBeth!

    Enjoyed the class very much. Liked that you had a passion for teaching. You were able to hold my interest through the entire course.

    What I didn't like about the class has to do with some of my own classmates whose behavior was, at times, over the top. That you put up with him was truly amazing on your part.

    But I imagine you've seen all types go through your course. 

    Thank you very much for your time, and best of luck to you. I will never forget you.


  9. Emily 3/2/2011

    I am not sure who Darlene is getting her information from, but I know 100s of teachers who work over 50 hours a week just to keep up and it still isn't enough.  Overtime?  What district can I go to to get that?  There are many people in the private sector who receive full pensions.  Why is it so wrong for a public employee to get some.  I have been putting money away for retirement since I was 28 years old.  Besides, We have already agreed to the concessions.  Haven't you heard?  I believe teachers are not selfish.  Again, we are selfless.  
  10. Brian 3/2/2011

    The answer to your question is no.   Walker does not view educators as professionals.   Our salaries are likely to fall down to the range of the where they are in Mississippi if we allow this to go through.

  11. Dave 3/2/2011

    I've worked over a decade in the private sector & equally as long in public education. Like many teachers, I am extremely concerned that there's no end in sight for financial sacrifices teachers are going to be making. If the state economy completely turns around, are educators going to see any direct financial benefit? I understand the concept of attracting new business to the state by keeping taxes low and how this is accomplished by making public employees pay more for benefits. When new businesses move to the state and tax revenue increases, will teachers receive larger pay increases & better benefit packages like those working in the private sector?
  12. Anne 3/1/2011


    I am one of those younger teachers.  I was laid off last year.  I AM against Governor Walkers plan.  I don't want to work in a school system that is not adequately funded. 

    These budget cuts are part of Walker's plans with or without the pension and health insurance cuts.  This has nothing to do with "selfish" teachers. 

    You can not compare the benefits of working in the private sector to the benefits of the public sector.  I can list way more benefits of the private sector that completely surpass "summers off:".  I'll just give you put your "extra" money into your pension, I put mine into paying for grad school.  I will do this for my entire teaching career because I must earn additional credits to earn a pay raise.  Does your company pay for your grad school? My school district does not, they do not pay for my masters, the 45 additional credits I will need to get after my masters, and my PhD. Apples and oranges Darlene.  Again though, this is not about teacher compensation.  The cuts mentioned in this statement are about the actually funding to the schools, not teacher compensation.  Educate yourself please.
  13. Nancy 3/1/2011

    This is for Darlene,
    Overtime? Really?  Where do I sign up?
     I've been a teacher over thirty years, and each day, I prepare lessons, grade papers, and the like for the 150 students that I teach.  I also have a homeroom, and a study hall, so add another 30-50 students that I see.
    My school day starts at 6:30 in the morning, and I rarely leave school before 5:00 in the evening.  I spend another two to three hours each evening grading papers.  I get a salary for my work.  There is no overtime! None! 
    I spend  my own money for classes to keep up to date on the latest trends in education.
    It would be good for you to job shadow a teacher for even just one day.  Oh, and no matter how many hours I work, there is no overtime.
  14. Ann 3/1/2011

    Yes, teachers do have a nice retirement but I have paid into my health insurance since I started teaching.  Also the amount I paid into insurance has increased almost every year, plus the benefits have decreased.  You mention overtime - teachers are on a salary - there is no overtime pay - plus your estimate of a 40 - 50 hour work week is way low for myself and most teachers I know.  On top of that I often spend my own money for projects, school supplies, treats and manipulatives that I think will help my class. Though we have a very generous parent organization, the money they provide for reimbursement of what I pay is maybe 10%.  If you had kids in school, I am sure you would realize that increasing class size or taking away the services that help the students most in need is not putting kids first.  I would like to think that the children who will one day be running our state will have the best education possible, not the least expensive.
  15. st123 3/1/2011

    "I wonder how the younger teachers feel about that?"  There will be no younger teachers in this state.  Who is going to go into this profession in this environment?  Would you spend tens of thousands of dollars getting the education and training needed to obtain a teaching job and then be told that you will start at $30,000 a year and maybe get a cost of living increase each year?  Your buying power is, in effect, highest when you are hired and never goes up.  Putting these provisions in place for a year or two might be OK, but this is untenable.  Those in teacher programs now will flee this state, and the younger teachers with a few years of experience will leave as well.  This will be devastating for everyone.
  16. Mark 3/1/2011

    You want to know what a younger teacher thinks, well here I am.  I am a music teacher in my third year of teaching.  I'm 26 years old.  I don't get overtime, work over 60 hours a week, and I do pay for my health insurance.  Best of all, I teach in a public school.  I'm proud to teach in a public school and the only reason I am a teacher is because I love working with kids everyday.  I will admit some days are better than others, but I want to make it perfectly clear that the health benefits and pensions are not the reason I joined the profession.  You call our actions selfish.  I call our actions selfless.  Any teacher who is standing up to Walker is standing up for children.  You obviously are not an educator, and if you are you are not an effective one.  If you don't like what you hear get off of an educators union page.  
  17. Suzy 3/1/2011

    Dear Darlene:
    This in response to your posting on 3/1.  I have a few questions for you.  How is Walker looking at all sides?  What are you thoughts on why he has a no bid proposal for energy companies in Wisconsin?  Why is he not allowing retirees to sub in the schools and save money?  Why is he turning away federal funds that will further impact schools?  Do you realize with educators educational levels their salaries are lower than their private counterparts by at least 8 percent?  Have you read the budget repair bill? because if you have then you would not have this opinion.  If you want what educators have, maybe you should go back to school?
  18. Brian 3/1/2011

    Wisconsin undertaxes corporations by 1.3 billion in a story being widely reported.
    Now you have to give up your hard earned salary to pay for a pension that is already paid for, so corporations can make more profit.
    Is that fair?
    Is that shared responsibility?
  19. chris 3/1/2011

    I am a parent and an educator. I am willing to pay whatever I need to pay in insurance, pension etc. To me that issue is closed- I am MOST worried, terrified actually of the effects this budget will have on my children and students. I have a child with a learning disability- who the choice schools will not serve. Additionally-  I teach special education- who will teach my students- certainly not the choice schools? I have emailed my senators (and other senators) gone to Madison and left a message with the governor- what else can I do?!!!
  20. KM 3/1/2011

    I've been pushing the Penny for Kids agenda every time someone complains about property taxes and gripes about no one outside the Republican Braintrust bringing anything to the table.   Shared responsibility with the burden borne by people who have the most disposable income.
  21. Darlene 3/1/2011

    I think Gov. Walker is doing what is necessary.  It's important for everyone to show leadership, by looking at the entire picture.  People need to look outside of the pretty red box, with the pretty red bow, with their rose colored glasses and realize everyone needs to contribute.  You keep saying this will affect the children, but in reality, it will affect your special interests of a nice retirement and health insurance.  My local community has their hands tied with your current contracts.  Stop being so selfish and really put the kids first for once.  I'm tired of hearing how teachers put in 40-50 hours a week.  Well guess what, so do many other workers and they don't get overtime, nice pensions or health insurance plans like you.  By not agreeing with his plan, you will be the ones causing the thousands of lay offs.  I wonder how the younger teachers feel about that.  They are the ones who will be affected by it the most.
  22. goosey59 3/1/2011

    How can Governor Walker run on a platform of increasing jobs, and then put forth a budget that will kill 100,000 jobs?  It seems incomprehensible that he is willing to ruin the great state of Wisconsin to further his interest of lining his and his corportate friends pockets. 
  23. Brian 3/1/2011

    His budget is immoral.   He fails the test of moral leadership.

    We can pay for the things we need by shared responsibility:

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