In 1984 the National PTA designated the first week in May as Teacher Appreciation Week.
A quarter of a century later, voters in Wisconsin will have the chance to help that week actually mean something.
This Tuesday, May 8, voters will decide who will run against Wis. Gov. Scott Walker, the poster child of the conservatives’ anti-teacher agenda.
On June 5, voters will have a chance to expel Walker.
According to the National PTA the appreciation week is a “special time to honor the men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating our children.”
In the past year, Walker has dishonored both teachers and their students.
Walker enacted the largest cuts to public education in the history of the state – nearly $1 billion – harming hundreds of thousands of children and students.
Walker wrote a blank check for the expansion of the private school voucher program. In the current 2011-12 school year Wisconsin taxpayers are spending an additional $14.2 million on the expansion of the Milwaukee voucher program, for a total of more than $150 million in that school year.
This contrasts sharply to the cut of approximately $84 million of state aid to the Milwaukee Public Schools during the same school year. That cut led to mushrooming class sizes and the virtual elimination of physical education, art, and music teachers and librarians in MPS elementary and K-8 schools.
Walker’s signature legislation, Act 10, essentially banned collective bargaining by public workers, including teachers and other school staff. This dishonors teachers and our professional as collective bargaining is a basic civil and human right guaranteed by the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights.
Most recently Walker ordered the Wisconsin Employee Relations Commission to adopt a rule that the base-salary upon which any future possible raises can be calculated (or bargained) must exclude any compensation for educational attainment, credits or degrees. Act 10 and this new rule, reconfirm that Walker’s intentions were to strip ALL collective bargaining rights from teacher unions.
Walker also pushed through legislation that ties teacher evaluation to test scores. He summed up his intentions during a recent visit by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Walker said, “We can now hire and fire based on merit. We can pay based on performance. That means we can put the best and the brightest in our classrooms, and we can keep them there.” (Education historian Diane Ravitch has resoundly debunked the myth about merit pay.)
Teachers in Wisconsin are wearing red on Monday to show solidarity with all who wish to Reclaim Wisconsin.
On Tuesday we are voting in the Democratic Primary.
On June 5, we will cast our ballot in the recall election.
We invite anyone from out of state to donate money or volunteer before the June 5 Walker Recall election.
For more details on that, contact: We Are Wisconsin
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