Walker budget is wrong for Wisconsin
Posted: 3/1/2011 6:45:46 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.