The nation’s K-12 educators are meeting in Washington D.C., and incoming Wisconsin Education Association Council president Ron Martin says a major agenda item to be considered is a policy statement on discipline and the “school to prison pipeline.”
“It’s pretty significant to us, and I think it’s something we need to address,” said Martin, a middle school teacher in the Eau Claire district.
Martin says progress is being made on this issue, which is closely related to the well-documented achievement gap for students of color in Wisconsin. “So much of it starts even in our preschools and our early childhood programs, and we have to start to address those issues, and we have to start doing it in a very positive way where we work with our communities, particularly communities of color.”
Other issues on the agenda include:
Every Student Succeeds Act Implementation: Students, parents and educators won an unprecedented victory when a new law replacing the flawed No Child Left Behind Act was rewritten after 14 years. The new law, called Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), returns decision making for our nation’s education back where it belongs — in the hands of local educators, parents and communities — while keeping the focus on students most in need. ESSA will help ensure that all students, regardless of their ZIP code, will have the support, tools, and time to learn that they need to succeed and that educators’ voices are part of the decision making process all levels. Find out how Wisconsin teachers are implementing the law.
Wisconsin teaching shortage: Wisconsin is facing a teacher shortage as more educators leave the profession and fewer college students are enrolling in education programs. The Wisconsin Education Association Council is advancing solutions to assist future teachers and early career educators, along with policy changes to promote respect and support for the profession.
Community Schools: Politically driven attempts to usurp local control of neighborhood public schools have failed in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Education Association Council is working for a better solution to support students — Community Schools. These schools unite communities around their public schools, rather than closing schools or increasing government subsidies for private schools.
Education Funding: A student’s chances for success should not depend on living in the right ZIP code. Yet, in Wisconsin’s rural and urban areas, children are getting the shaft because of the state’s broken funding formula. The Wisconsin Education Association Council is working with parents and lawmakers to improve funding for public schools, so all students have more one-on-one attention, inviting classrooms, and a well-rounded curriculum.
Education in Election 2016: Find out how Wisconsin educators are working to support candidates who value the critical role of public schools in our democracy. From local races to the presidential ticket, educators are getting involved because politics impacts every aspect of their classrooms — from resources to teach to the tests we administer.
The National Education Association’s annual meeting runs through July 7th.