Private school voucher backers top $7.5 million in donations to Wisconsin politicians

From One Wisconsin Now

With the latest round of state campaign finance reports in, backers of the private school voucher program have larded the campaign accounts of politicians willing to do their bidding with $7.5 million in campaign contributions since 2008. Leading the pack, and hauling in more than 1 of every 4 dollars donated, is Governor Scott Walker with a total take in excess of $2.165 million.

“The people writing these checks want to see more private school vouchers,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Scott Walker has more than delivered, draining resources away from public K-12 schools and sending them to the less accountable private voucher schools favored by the donors who’ve dumped over $2 million into his campaign coffers.”

Under Walker and the GOP controlled legislature there has been a dramatic, statewide expansion of the less accountable private school voucher program. Vouchers take resources directly away from public schools to help pay for it even though the majority of students who enrolled in the expanded program were already attending private schools.

On top of the contributions sent directly to candidates, the American Federation for Children (AFC), a pro-voucher special interest group closely associated with Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has spent over $5 million to help its favored politicians in Wisconsin.

In addition, as uncovered by One Wisconsin Now, the Milwaukee based Bradley Foundation, which was overseen by Walker’s campaign chair Michael Grebe, spent over $108 million in support of groups helping to advance the education privatization agenda Walker favors between 2005 and 2014.

Election Watch: WEAC Board recommends Sarah Godlewski for State Treasurer

Sarah Godlewski

The WEAC Board of Directors has concurred with the Political Action Committee’s recommendation of Sarah Godlewski for the Wisconsin State Treasurer constitutional office position. These recommendations are based upon the WEAC PAC screening all candidates who agreed to meet with the PAC committee.

The primary election is August 14, and the general election is November 6.

In recommending Godlewski, the WEAC PAC said:

Ms. Godlewski has a strong understanding of the important position the State Treasurer has within Wisconsin state government. Ms. Godlewski’s strength in understanding the role of a CFO and auditor when it comes to financial transparency and internal controls is most impressive. Wisconsin is one of the few states that does not use general accounting practices to prevent the occurrence of fraud and fiscal mismanagement within state government.

We believe Ms. Godlewski will be a strong advocate for our public schools when it comes to overseeing the general school fund that supports libraries, technology and energy efficiency in our public schools. In addition, Ms. Godlewski seeks to expand student loan forgiveness, as well as establishing low interest student loan repayment plans.

Find out more at Sarah Godlewski’s website.

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

Genoa City’s Mary Ellen Kanthack wins Award for Teaching Excellence

Genoa City teacher Mary Ellen Kanthack is the winner of a prestigious California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence, the NEA Foundation has announced. The awardees are nominated by their peers for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators. Kanthack, who was nominated by WEAC President Ron Martin, will receive the award at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala next February in Washington, D.C.

The Awards for Teaching Excellence program recognizes educators from around the country who shine in their schools, their communities, and their own learning. These educators advocate for each other, the profession, and students, and they embrace the diversity of their communities and the wider world.

Kanthack, who is the 2018 Wisconsin Elementary School Teacher of the Year, has implemented a wide variety of innovative approaches to education and has worked through her local union, WEAC Region 7, WEAC and the NEA not only to access resources but to give back to colleagues by providing valuable professional development leadership.

In nominating Kanthack, WEAC President Ron Martin said in part:

“Mary Ellen inspires her students every day with an empathetic ear and high expectations. From aquaponics in her classroom to directing the school musical to starting a forensics program, she is a key teacher who keeps things running smoothly in her a small rural school. Mary Ellen is a strong union member, engaging in new ways to introduce the association to new educators, school leaders, and her community. The union she describes with passion – the one that supports educators professionally and personally – opens the eyes and builds understanding for our critical role in the education setting.” Read the entire letter of recommendation.

“I am passionate about promoting NEA,” Kanthack said. “I proudly tell my story, hand out NEA resources, post opportunities both on the school bulletin board, and online. I have shared my work with my colleagues, parents, administration and school board. I post my work with NEA on social media and reach out to aspiring educators about how they can grow through NEA. It is my passion!”

Read more about Mary Ellen:

Genoa City’s Mary Ellen Kanthack named Wisconsin Elementary School Teacher of the Year

WEAC Aspiring Educator Allison Erck wins award for future educators

Allison Erck accepts the Jack Kinnaman Award from the NEA’s retired chapter. Presenting the award are Ginny Bosse, left, and Dianne Lang, both members of the WEAC Region 10/Retired.

Allison Erck, who is entering her senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and is a member of WEAC Region 9/Aspiring Educators, has been awarded the Jack Kinnaman Award for Future Educators. The $2,500 award was presented at the NEA annual meeting earlier this summer.

Erck, a 2015 graduate of Omro High School, is the daughter of John Erck and Terri Tobias. She is studying Elementary Education with minors in English Creative Writing and Special Education.

“My goal is to teach middle school English language arts, with a classroom that is fully inclusive to all students,” said Erck, who was awarded the scholarship by the retired chapter of the National Education Association. “I have had a lot of amazing teachers, starting with my daycare teacher Geraldine Schlindewein, who is now deceased. One of my favorite teachers who solidified my dream to become a teacher was Chrissy Makurat, my fourth grade teacher, who is still teaching 4th grade at Omro Elementary.”

Election Watch: WEAC PAC recommends Sarah Godlewski for State Treasurer

Sarah Godlewski

The WEAC Political Action Committee has voted to recommend Sarah Godlewski for the Wisconsin State Treasurer constitutional office position. This PAC recommendation is based upon the WEAC PAC screening all candidates who agreed to meet with the committee.

The primary election is August 14, and the general election is November 6.

In recommending Godlewski, the WEAC PAC said:

Ms. Godlewski has a strong understanding of the important position the State Treasurer has within Wisconsin state government. Ms. Godlewski’s strength in understanding the role of a CFO and auditor when it comes to financial transparency and internal controls is most impressive. Wisconsin is one of the few states that does not use general accounting practices to prevent the occurrence of fraud and fiscal mismanagement within state government.

We believe Ms. Godlewski will be a strong advocate for our public schools when it comes to overseeing the general school fund that supports libraries, technology and energy efficiency in our public schools. In addition, Ms. Godlewski seeks to expand student loan forgiveness, as well as establishing low interest student loan repayment plans.

Find out more at Sarah Godlewski’s website.

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