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Posts tagged with “WEAC”

ABCNews’ Jon Karl: “Obama Tougher on Walker Than Mubarak”

Pushed this out on Twitter yesterday when I first heard it as I watched the program live. Since that time, that lone tweet has been “ReTweeted” some 100 times or more on the micro-blogging service; 65 by just those using the “ReTweet” button.

The money quote is around the 4:15 mark, and it’s something to behold when put in proper context by sane observers and not complete union hacks.

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Wisconsin Never Had a Chance

The winners of the first round of “Race to the Top” funding are out, and they were Delaware and Tennessee.  So congratulations to the 1st State and the Volunteer State. Here’s hoping the interstate fighting for federal cash does wonders.

So, how did the Badger State do?  According to the findings by the Department of Education, Wisconsin may have either never had a chance, or factions inside Wisconsin were never going to give to win the funding.

Wisconsin ranked 26th out of 41 states and the District of Columbia that applied for the first round of Race to the Top, a competitive grant process meant to stimulate education reform across the country.

The winners of the first round of the $4.35 billion competition – Delaware and Tennessee – were announced today by the U.S. Dept. of Education. Finalists for the first round included the District of Columbia and 15 other states.

Likely to spark chatter among state leaders and others following education in Wisconsin is the state’s Race to the Top scorecard, which shows Wisconsin earning 341.2 points out of a possible 500.

For comparision, winners Delaware and Tennessee scored an initial 454.6 points and 444.2 points, respectively.

We’re still sifting through the score card and reviewer comments, but it appears Wisconsin’s score was reached by averaging the final scores of five reviewers that assesed the state’s application. The scores from the reviewers ranged from a high of 381 to one reviewer’s score of 293 points.

One theme that emerged among a number of reviewers: Wisconsin lost points because school districts were not explicitly committed to working on certain aspects of Race to the Top criteria. One reviewer points out that only 11% of district-level union leaders committed to the projects Wisconsin proposed in its application.

So when do we just stop and admit the following:

1) WEAC isn’t going to let a little thing like “Better Grades and Performance for Kids” ruin what they have going now.

2) The trip to Madison to announce “Race to the Top” was not about Wisconsin, it was about pushing Tom Barrett into running for governor.

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Yes, But Will Barrett Really Take on WEAC

Interesting blog post by the Journal Sentinel’s Alan Brosuk on Milwaukee Mayor (and Democratic Candidate for Governor) Tom Barrett and what he sees as the biggest hurdle when it comes to truly reforming the finances of the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) System: High-prices health insurance.

Barrett is still pushing for a mayoral takeover of MPS, even though the idea seems all but dead in the Wisconsin State Legislature — controlled by Democrats.  The idea a victim of massive Democratic in-fighting and Republicans unwilling to back the idea for both political reasons and Barrett’s own history of antipathy towards MPS and open hostility towards the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program in his tenure as Mayor.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is calling on Milwaukee Public Schools and union leaders to work quickly on ways to get more MPS employees to take less expensive health insurance.

In an interview, Barrett said, “I’m calling on the school district, on the School Board, on the representatives of the employees, to meet as quickly as possible to see if they can find a solution to stave off” what lies ahead for MPS, including projections of cuts in hundreds of teaching jobs and increases in average class size.

“I believe a big component of that is putting more people into the lower cost health care plan,” he said. MPS offers two health plans, and about 80% of employees take one that costs $7,380 a year more for a family than the other plan.

Barrett put the issue in personal terms: His wife, Kris, is an MPS teacher. Barrett said that when he became mayor, they considered both MPS plans, as well as the city’s plan. They decided that the lower cost MPS plan was equal to the city’s policy. MPS offers $500 to employees who decline insurance. So the Barretts took the city plan and the $500.

“I felt the lower cost plan was good enough for my own children,” Barrett said.

He said he understands that health insurance is a crucial and emotional issue for MPS employees.

“I’m not trying to take away their insurance,” he said. “But I am interested in doing everything I can to make sure we do not have an increase in the average class size per teacher. I don’t want to see hundreds of teachers and other employees from the school district laid off.”

First of all, let me applaud Barrett’s stance on this issue.  I just however wonder if he’s going to stick with it once he has that behind-closed-door meeting with the powers-that-be at the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC).  After all, they’re about to lose their wholly-owned subsidiary in Governor Jim Doyle and they’re going to need a new champion soon.  Barrett, naturally fits that bill.

Recall of course, that the bulk of health insurance for teachers in the state of Wisconsin is provided by WEA Trust; which is nothing more than a side company set up and owned by the very teachers union.  Has anyone asked if Barrett; as Governor, going to allow for school districts to shop around for more affordable health insurance packages?  Or is he going to bend as soon as WEAC tells him to shut up, as they do ever Democrat running for Governor?

Only time will tell.  And an aside, I’m still waiting for that post on WEA Trust’s exploding costs from all the folks who’ve raised holy hell about California seeing a 39% increase from its sole insurance provider.  Perhaps there’s a lesson in allowing people to shop around in there?

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Of Course It’s About the Money, Not Real Reform

(Sung to the tune of “Whatever Lola Wants” from Damn Yankees)

Whatever WEAC wants…WEAC gets.  And little tax dollar, little WEAC wants you.

When you have WASB; the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, calling foul on something, it’s usually a good time to realize WEAC has gone even too far for their local puppets.  Which what they appear to have Governor Jim Doyle, a wholly-owned subsidiary of WEAC, and the state legislature about to do in this ‘reform’ of the state’s teaching laws designed to get more federal stimulus money.

A prohibition on using student test results to evaluate teachers would be removed under a proposal backed by Gov. Jim Doyle as a way to ensure Wisconsin can qualify for federal Race to the Top stimulus money.

While the bill before state lawmakers would remove the prohibition on using the data, teachers could not be disciplined or fired based on the test results.

That limitation caused the state’s school board association to oppose the change Monday. It also resulted in questions from state lawmakers about whether the change goes far enough to meet eligibility requirements under the federal grant program.

The state teachers’ union supports the measure as written and opposes student test data being used to evaluate teachers.

(Emphasis Mine)

Of course the state teachers’ union supports the measure as written.  They were likely in the room writing it.

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