Doyle Vows to Defend State's Tradition of Great Schools
Governor Doyle thanks WEAC-Retired members "for what you have given
Governor Doyle told WEAC-Retired members Friday (May 16, 2003) that they
have played a key role in building and maintaining Wisconsin's tradition
of great public schools, and he will fight to make sure that tradition is
maintained for future generations of educators and children.
Speaking at the WEAC-Retired annual membership meeting
in Wisconsin Dells, Doyle said he regretted that WEAC-R members left the
profession before he succeeded in repealing the Qualified Economic Offer
law, and said he appreciated their contributions.
"I want to thank you for what you have given us,"
Governor Doyle chats with WEAC-Retired President Jerry Martin (left)
and WEAC President Stan Johnson.
He said it is essential to "get rid of" the
QEO law, not only because Wisconsin's teachers deserve better pay but
"it is important that the schools of this state continue to have
great teachers." That, he added, is important to the future of the
The issue is not money, it is respect for educators and "whether
the brightest young people in this state are going to choose teaching
as a profession."
Doyle said he made education a priority in his state budget proposal
and that, despite the huge state budget deficit he was able to find an
extra $100 million for education. He said he regretted he was not able
to maintain the state's commitment to two-thirds funding of K-12 education
but he did all he could to prevent causing harm to schools.
Doyle criticized the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee for cutting
$15 million from the Wisconsin Technical College System. While he is trying
to "keep an eye on tomorrow and build Wisconsin's future," that
action is counterproductive. "Talk about not thinking about tomorrow
... " he said.
He said he transferred $500 million from the transportation fund to revenue
sharing and education, with an eye on the future. That controversial provision,
he said, keeps transportation funding at the same level as the last budget,
still leaving $3 billion available for road building.
"Are we going to have even more concrete, or are we going to help
kids?" he asked.
Doyle said this state has a long tradition of investing in public education,
even during hard times, including the Great Depression. That must continue,
"I know, above all else, Wisconsin values education," he said.
"You all have been part of something that has been great for Wisconsin."
WEAC President Stan Johnson applauded Doyle for including repeal of the
QEO in his budget plan. Although the Joint Finance Committee has removed
it, Johnson said, "The battle is not over."
He appealed to WEAC-Retired members to continue to contact their legislators
to fight for QEO repeal and to call the active members in their communities
to urge them to keep the pressure on.
"We need to get members more involved," he said.
WEAC members played an important role in helping to elect Governor Doyle
and now need to focus on the Legislature.
"We need now to work harder than ever before to elect pro-public
education legislators," he said.
Johnson also said members need to contact their congressional representatives
to urge measures to address the national health care cost crisis. He said
WEAC members have given up a lot over the years to keep good health care
benefits, and now some people are taking aim at those benefits.
Instead of bringing educators' health benefits down, we should work to
raise everybody's health care up, he said.
He cited the example of Henry Ford, who increased his employees' pay
so they could afford to buy his cars. Fair pay and good benefits are good
for the economy, he added.
Instead of providing massive tax cuts to the wealthy, he said, we should
make sure everyone receives decent pay so they can afford "to purchase
products to get us out of this recession."
Posted May 16, 2003