The state’s biggest teachers union has elected not to participate in a governor’s task force. “The shared trust and respect that we feel is necessary in order to enter into what are sometimes really difficult discussions about how we hold schools accountable just weren’t there with the governor and the leaders of the Republican legislative committees,” said Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell in explaining WEAC’s decision to not participate in Governor Scott Walker’s task force on educational accountability.
State Senator Luther Olson and Representative Steve Kestell, chairs of the legislature’s education committees, and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers are serving on the panel Bell says WEAC isn’t concerned about not having a seat at the table. “In our conversations with superintendent Evers, we expressed that we believed the work was important, but that we had serious reservations about the other individuals that were chairing this,” saud Bell. “It was only our deep respect and appreciation for his efforts to lead education in the state of Wisconsin that made this as difficult as it was.” Bell said WEAC members will be soliciting input from parents and others around the state, and will continue to share information with Evers.
“While it’s disappointing that WEAC is choosing not to participate in an important education initiative that could be a model for the nation, the design team will make sure that teachers who are interested in being a part of the process to improve education in Wisconsin are able to have their voices heard,” said a statement released by Walker spokesman, Cullen Werwie.
Evers released a statement in which he said he’d hoped WEAC would have participated. ” Teachers should absolutely have a voice in the important discussions around student and school accountability. While WEAC has indicated that they will not be participating in the formal group which will begin meeting next week, I will continue seeking their input as this process moves forward. I am encouraged by their commitment to solicit input on these matters from teachers and other school personnel in communities around Wisconsin.”