WEAC supports mandatory reporting by educators of suspected human trafficking

In a letter to State Superintendent Tony Evers, WEAC President Ron Martin on Thursday said WEAC supports adding “any form of human trafficking” to requirements for mandatory reporting by education employees.

“As we work to combat and eradicate sex trafficking, WEAC believes we should also be working to combat any form of human trafficking,” Martin wrote. “Because of that, WEAC supports requiring education employees to report suspected illegal trade of people for commercial gain – both through sexual exploitation and forced labor.”

“We believe every student deserves a safe, welcoming, and affirming learning environment,” he wrote. “School should be a safe haven for students, especially for those students who lack safety or security. It is important for educators and school officials to understand how human trafficking impacts schools and recognize the indicators of possible child trafficking.”

Martin said WEAC will work to promote the Exploitation Indicator Response Guide as a helpful resource in reporting suspected child sex trafficking to our members. We will also be promoting NEA and national resources on combating human trafficking.

Read the entire letter:

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Sun Prairie’s Sandra Kowalczyk is national Middle Level Educator of the Year

Sandra Kowalczyk

Sandra Kowalczyk, a reading specialist at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie and a member of WEAC Region 6, will be awarded the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) 2018 Educator of the Year Award. The award, supported by the AMLE Foundation Fund, recognizes outstanding practitioners in middle level education — those who have made a significant impact on the lives of young adolescents through exemplary leadership, vision, and advocacy. The award will be presented in October 2018 at the 45th Annual Conference for Middle Level Education in Orlando, Florida.

“As a middle school teacher myself, I understand how important qualified and caring educators are to students at this stage of their lives,” said WEAC President Ron Martin. “Our entire WEAC family – representing teachers and support staff across Wisconsin – congratulates Sandra on her well-deserved accomplishment.”

Kowalczyk has been a middle school literacy educator for 27 years, teaching intervention classes for high-needs students reading below grade level. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who has been a Wisconsin Middle School Teacher of the Year (2009), National Council of Teachers of English Outstanding Middle Level Educator (2015), and was a Global Teacher Prize Top 50 Finalist (2015) among other awards.

Kowalczyk co-designed integrated reading/language arts curricula integrating music, dance, and drama as part of a K-12 project selected by NASA as one of eight projects aboard the 1998 STDS Discovery Space Shuttle Mission, Astronaut John Glenn’s historic return to space. Her reading program was selected in 1999 as winner of the International Reading Association Exemplary Reading Program Award. She regularly presents at state, regional, national, and international education events. Kowalczyk was awarded a Global Diversity Grant by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Madison, she was a Top 50 Finalist for the Varkey Global Teacher Prize in 2015, and she wrote and implemented five competitive grants awarded by the Sun Prairie Education Foundation.

Kowalczyk’s inclusion of international experiences in her teaching excites and engages students while promoting global literacy. She was the recipient of U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays summer travel awards in Peru (2016), China (2014), Morocco (2007), and India (2003); a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar in Istanbul, Turkey, (2015) and Oaxaca, Mexico, (2010); the Hilton Teacher Trek Award in Malaysia and Singapore (2014); and U.S.-Eurasia Teaching Excellence Award in Uzbekistan (2005) where she initiated and implemented a Culture Bag Exchange among multiple middle schools in Wisconsin and Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Rebecca Murray, a former colleague at Patrick Marsh Middle School, said, “Sandy immerses our students not only in literacy, but in social justice and cultural experiences as well. We are fortunate and privileged to have such a dedicated and creative educator and middle level advocate in our midst.”

According to Patrick Marsh Middle School Principal Corey Shefchik, “I can attest to her passion, leadership, vision, and advocacy for middle level education. Sandra clearly values this age group with whom she has worked for 27 years. She thrives on challenges and continually seeks to update her own and others’ knowledge.”

“I owe my accomplishments to both the inspiring teachers I have had, as well as the talented teachers I’ve had the opportunity to work with as peers. Our world is a better place because of passionate and dedicated teachers everywhere and those who acknowledge and reward them,” said Kowalczyk.

From the Association for Middle Level Education

WEAC Board recommends Evers for governor, Barnes for lieutenant governor and La Follette for secretary of state

The WEAC Board of Directors on Monday concurred with recommendations of the WEAC Political Action Committee and voted to recommend Tony Evers for Governor, Mandela Barnes for lieutenant governor and Doug La Follette for secretary of state. The General Election is Tuesday, November 6.

In making these recommendations, the Political Action Committee said:

WEAC Recommendation for Governor:

Tony Evers

Dr. Tony Evers met with the WEAC PAC this morning, Wednesday, August 15, and answered the Committee’s questions in his most direct, engaging, and genuine manner. Dr. Evers’ authentic manner will do us proud as we engage the struggle to restore Wisconsin values to the Governor’s office.

Specifically, Dr. Evers will place in statute requirements for teacher voice to be part of all education-related decision and policy-making initiatives.

In addition, Dr. Evers will advance a state budget that restores the State’s commitment to two-thirds public education funding with weighting for poverty. Special education funding will also be increased to 60%, with a trajectory established to reach a 90% funding level.

Dr. Evers spoke forcefully about the need for voucher transparency and seeks to freeze the program as a first step for the eventual phase-out of this unregulated and ineffective program.

Lastly, Dr. Evers answered in a most forthright manner that he strongly supports:

  • Community Schools Initiatives
  • The WTCS system
  • The WRS retirement plan
  • Mental Health Services
  • Increased funding for Educational Support Professionals

WEAC Recommendation for Lieutenant Governor

Mandela Barnes

Mandela Barnes met with the WEAC PAC Wednesday, August 15, and answered the Committee’s questions in a very professional and succinct manner. At the same time, Mr. Barnes came across very sincere and determined in speaking about the four main issues he will address in this historic campaign:

  • Addressing health care costs and needs.
  • Funding and supporting our public schools.
  • Addressing our State’s environment and natural resource treasures by fully staffing the departments that have regulatory authority and, where appropriate, enforce penalties. In addition, Mr. Barnes will seek to expand renewable energy opportunities.
  • Building a truly robust State economy.

Mr. Barnes is a proud graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools and has always supported MTEA goals and initiatives. During Mr. Barnes’s legislative career, Mr. Barnes has earned WEAC support and is most proud of all you do.


WEAC Recommendation for Secretary of State

Doug La Follette

Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette met with the WEAC PAC Wednesday afternoon, August 15, and answered the questions posed to him in a well informed and thorough manner. In answering the Committee’s questions, Mr. La Follette displayed great knowledge about our State.

Mr. La Follette has extensive knowledge about Wisconsin State government and indicates a belief in needing to partner with the State Treasurer. This partnership is critical in restoring the duties and responsibilities of these offices.

Lastly, Mr.La Follette shares our Wisconsin values and strongly supported public education and all of us during the Act 10 tragedy.

For more recommendations visit the WEAC Elections Page at weac.org/elections.

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

Evers to face Walker on November 6

Tony Evers

State Superintendent Tony Evers will face Scott Walker in the November 6 election for Wisconsin governor. Evers handily won the eight-candidate Democratic Primary election Tuesday. On the Republican side, Walker easily defeated little known Robert Meyer of Sun Prairie.

In an email to supporters after winning the nomination, Evers said:

“This race is a choice between 4 more years of Scott Walker putting Scott Walker first, or a new governor focused on making decisions in the best interest of real Wisconsin families — who deserve access to good healthcare, safe roads and high quality public education.”

In other races on Tuesday:

  • Lieutenant Governor: Democrat Rep. Mandela Barnes of Milwaukee will be paired with Evers as the lieutenant governor candidate. Incumbent Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was uncontested in the primary.
  • State Treasurer: Businesswoman Sarah Godlewski, who was recommended by the WEAC Board, won the Democratic nomination for State Treasurer. The Republican candidate will be Travis Hartwig.
  • Secretary of State: Incumbent Doug La Follette won the Democratic nomination. Republican businessman Jay Schroeder will challenge La Follette in November.
  • U.S. Senate: Republican State Senator Leah Vukmir of Brookfield advanced to take on Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in November.

Read about other Primary Election results:

Election results: Wisconsin and Milwaukee-area August 2018 primary election

Wisconsin and Milwaukee-area residents head to the polls on August 14 to vote in a number of contested state and local primary races. Here’s who’s on the ballot.

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More Resources:

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.