Spotlight on Locals: United Lakewood Educators-Muskego

United Lakewood Educators-Muskego Co-Presidents Anna Wendt (left) and Kathy Humke (right) accept the WEAC Strong Local Affiliate Certificate from WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen.

By Peggy Wirtz-Olsen, WEAC Vice President

When I sat down with United Lakewood Educators-Muskego Co-Presidents Anna Wendt and Kathy Humke, they told me that their relationship with administration has helped to keep their local association strong. Of her Co-President, Kathy Humke said, “Anna has a gifted way of speaking with our administration where she finds a way to be heard because she is pro-active and works to solve problems.”

During our conversation, Anna told me, “A change in the law has curtailed our ability to negotiate, but we continue to advocate on behalf of our members’ financial needs, and we are clear with the district about inequity and injustice.”

For example, ULE-Muskego organized its membership into action when the district intended to back out of paying educators who had attained their master’s degrees, and they were successful. Anna said, “Our local continues to maintain a clear and amicable relationship with the district administration and school board. We’re not here to cause problems; on behalf of our students and colleagues, we have provided stability and continue to share the rich history. ULE-Muskego has been a level-headed support network and a voice of reason.”

When the Educator Effectiveness evaluation system went into effect, ULE-Muskego worked with the district on implementation and ways to help build plans so as not to be punitive. This spring, they were at the table during conversations about a new building configuration in their school district. Anna said, “We come with good questions, and we offer help and support.” This applies to their work with their members and their work with members of administration and the school board.

As far as advice to other locals, Kathy said, “Surround yourself with people you trust and with whom you can work effectively. And, don’t get isolated — reach out to others in your network. WEAC Region 7 has been a helpful support network for us. They have offered valuable trainings in member recruitment, and given us good ideas for our next steps.”

United Lakewood Educators-Muskego has a history of strength that it is maintaining through its calm and measured approach. Kathy said, “We know that we have the support of so many in our district, as our yearly recertification numbers are between 70 and 80 percent. Our colleagues, members and non-members alike, value what we do.”

Read all of Peggy’s ‘Spotlight On Locals’ columns at weac.org/Spotlight.

Election Watch: WEAC PAC recommends Josh Kaul for Attorney General

The WEAC Political Action Committee is recommending Josh Kaul for Wisconsin Attorney General, and now it’s members’ turn to weigh in on whether they support that. Members can weigh in using WEAC’s online feedback form. The deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 13.

More Election News:

Friday filing deadline for gubernatorial candidates. Friday is the filing deadline for gubernatorial candidates, and this weekend is the Democratic Convention in Oshkosh. At the same time, Governor Walker dropped the fourth TV ad of his re-election campaign. He’s getting an extra push from the state GOP, which started a digital ad campaign and website called www.dangerousraceleft.com. The candidates who have met requirements to speak at the Democratic Convention are:

  • State schools Superintendent Tony Evers
  • Attorney Matt Flynn
  • Businessman Andy Gronik
  • State firefighters union President Mahlon Mitchell
  • Activist Mike McCabe
  • Former State Representative Kelda Roys
  • Madison Mayor Paul Soglin
  • State Senator Kathleen Vinehout
  • State Representative Dan Wachs
  • Kenosha attorney and activist Josh Pade

While the big 10 are gearing up, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced he will not run for governor, putting to rest six weeks of public speculation on whether he would make another bid for the governor’s office.

Special elections June 12 in SD 1 and AD 42. WEAC is recommending Caleb Frostman in the former, and Ann Groves Lloyd in the latter.

Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson won’t run again. The longtime justice announced Wednesday she’ll pass on another election bid (but fill out her term). A respected Justice and human being who was appointed in 1976 and then rose to chief justice, Abrahamson reflected the promise of separate and equal branches of government in her decisions – never wavering to corporate influence even as those around her crumbled. Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn, who was appointed to the bench by Governor Scott Walker, has indicated interest, along with Court of Appeals Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer.

Banks looks to replace Young. Milwaukee’s Assembly District 16 is up-for-grabs now that Representative Leon Young announced he’s not seeking re-election, and community organizer Rick Banks has filed to run as a Democrat. Supreme Moore Omokunde, son of U.S. Representative Gwen Moore, is also considering a run. Candidates have until next Monday to turn in signatures.

Brooks backs Kurtz. After Ed Brooks announced he’s not running again in AD 50, he decided to be treasurer for Republican Tony Kurtz’s campaign to replace him.

Related Reading:
Democratic candidates jockeying for position ahead of state convention
Campaign Cash: WMC Brags About Legislative Victories
Kind’s GOP challenger Toft accuses Facebook of censorship
Mike McCabe Turns in 4,000 Nomination Signatures on Birthday
The State of Politics: Six Questions for Democratic Convention
Dems determined to be ready for WI governor nominee
In WI, do too many Democrats want to be governor?
Senator Baldwin’s new ad
Democratic AG candidate Josh Kaul: Department of Justice needs “new leadership”
Western WI voters have Walker’s attention, but does he have their votes?
WI lawmakers got $164K in travel and perks last year from outside groups
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’s payday loan London junket travel buddy’s home raided by FBI
John Nichols: Wisconsin Democrats must go bold
Editorial: A fix-the-roads Republican should mount an anti-Scottholes challenge to Walker

This is an 11.0101(10)(b)(1) communication with WEAC members.

Greendale High School teacher Ben Hubing is Wisconsin’s James Madison Fellow

Ben Hubing

Greendale High School (GHS) social studies teacher, Ben Hubing, a member of WEAC Region 7, has been selected as the James Madison Memorial Fellow for the state of Wisconsin. Hubing, a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), is in his tenth year at Greendale High School. He teaches Advanced Placement U.S. History and Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics to juniors and seniors. Hubing is also the school’s Model United Nations Advisor and a Co-advisor of the student council.

“I am truly humbled to have been awarded this fellowship,” Hubing said. “Studying history has always been a passion of mine, and to be able to pursue a Master’s degree is an amazing opportunity that will have such a positive impact on my classroom instruction.”

“We are excited that Ben has received this recognition as a James Madison Memorial Fellow,” said Dr. Gary Kiltz, superintendent of Greendale Schools. “Through this program, he will have additional experiences as a scholar, which will provide deeper insights and opportunities for our Greendale High School students in the courses Ben teaches and in his collaboration with the social studies team.”

As part of the James Madison Memorial Fellow program, Hubing will spend four weeks in an upcoming summer studying the U.S. Constitution, founding fathers, and other documents significant to American Government and U.S. History at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Established by Congress in 1986, the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Program focuses on improving teaching about the United States Constitution in secondary schools. The Foundation is an independent agency of the Executive Branch of the federal government and is funded by Congress with contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations.

Hubing earned his Bachelor’s degree in history, political science, and a certificate in European studies from UW-Madison and a Masters in teaching from Cardinal Stritch University. He resides in Shorewood with his wife and two sons.

Wisconsin Public Television resources explore Native culture and language

The Ways is a production of Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) Education. This resource is “an ongoing series of stories from Native communities around the central Great Lakes. This online educational resource for 6-12 grade students features videos, interactive maps, and digital media exploring contemporary Native culture and language. The Ways supports educators in meeting the requirements of Wisconsin Act 31, seeking to expand and challenge current understanding of Native identity and communities.”

This series of 4-5 minute videos feature information on each of the 11 federally recognized Wisconsin First Nations and tribal communities. These videos also include present day examples of the daily lives of American Indian people and communities. Here is list of videos from The Ways:

Legislative Update – May 29 – What’s next for the School Funding Commission?

WEAC members for the past half-year spoke up at a series of legislative public hearings about the resources we need to adequately teach our students, and now leaders of the panel holding the forums are talking about what may come next. The final hearing is set Monday, June 4, in Madison.

The co-chairs of the commission say they may address critical issues such as declining enrollment and special education reimbursements. Particularly telling was that Republicans Senator Luther Olsen and Representative Joel Kitchens don’t anticipate they’ll touch school vouchers or open enrollment – both topics they said were in the scope of their work when the commission formed in December.

WEAC President Ron Martin said it was disappointing that the commission may back away from voucher transparency and fixing the damage vouchers cause to neighborhood public schools. Much of the testimony the panel received from public school advocates centered on how private school vouchers take vital funding from neighborhood public schools, without accountability to taxpayers. To make up for lost state aid tied to the voucher system, school districts throughout Wisconsin had to levy an additional $37 million in property taxes in 2017-18, and will have to levy an anticipated $47 million in 2018-19.

The commission also looks like it might not get to the root of adequate school funding so districts can hire and retain qualified educators for the long haul. Instead, one co-chair said we might see bills encouraging retired educators to substitute as a solution to the state’s teacher shortage.

The co-chairs, speaking to Capitol insiders at WisPolitics, said they were looking at changes to the school funding formula but weren’t in agreement what that could look like. Kitchens left the door open to “completely overhauling it,” saying it’s “pretty clear there will be some fundamental changes we will recommend, but the extent of that is up in the air,” while Olsen said he doesn’t see an overhaul on the horizon and instead emphasized the need to provide more funding to declining enrollment districts.

Other items that may be recommended include combined services like grade sharing, more K-8 districts, and consolidation. The governor in 2017 vetoed a provision promoting grade sharing between districts.

Olsen mentioned tweaking components of the equalization aid formula, which most education advocates say doesn’t go far enough. Neither lawmaker embraced going beyond the new plan to boost the revenue ceiling for low-spending districts, saying that was solved with the recent legislation.

While the co-chairs signaled the possibility of recommending an increase in the state’s special education reimbursements, WEAC President Martin noted that a similar proposal did not make it into the last few state budgets and instead only a high-cost special education reimbursement rate received a boost.

It’s uncertain whether recommendations will come forward in the next state budget, as stand-alone bills, or a mixture of both.

Listen to a recording of the interview with Senator Luther Olsen

Listen to a recording of the interview with Representative Joel Kitchens

Next Steps: After the final public hearing June 4, the co-chairs will sit down individually with each of the 16 commission members and representatives from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau to see what legislation they’d like to come out of the body.