Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Wisconsin principals tell it like it is: Walker's cuts are hurting our students

Letter to the governor details problems with budget cuts in school district funding

If the principal of your child’s school held a meeting to tell parents that the school’s funding was inadequate, you might be alarmed.

So how will Wisconsinites react when 35 Wisconsin principals of various school districts say the same thing?

In a letter addressed to Gov. Scott Walker last month, teachers from across the state made it clear that the cuts to education were having dire consequences. Most notably, the letter said, the cuts were creating separate classes of students: the “haves and the have-nots.”

“We are burdened by the cumulative effects of budget cuts resulting in increased class sizes, cut programs, and deferred maintenance plans,” the letter states. “Our districts are struggling to maintain our current educational and co-curricular programs, while recognizing we need to expand educational opportunities and choices for students and families to prepare students for 21st century skills in a globally competitive climate.”

While he’s off campaigning for president, Scott Walker will likely allow this letter to go unnoticed. In fact, he continues to believe that his “reforms” have improved the situation in schools.
Our school scores are better. Our ACT scores are second best in the country. Graduation rate’s up over the past four years. Reading scores are up over the past four years, because we put the power back in the hands of the hard working taxpayers and the people they elect to run their school boards.
But those claims are grossly exaggerated, and cannot be tied to any program that the governor put in place. In short: Wisconsin is doing well in test scores in spite of Walker’s cuts, not because of them.

In fact, Wisconsin’s ranking only went up because Iowa’s ranking went down. “Wisconsin’s 2014 composite score is the same as it was in 2011, when Walker took office,” notes the Washington Post.

When it comes to the state of our schools in Wisconsin, my gut tells me to trust the teachers and administrators running them. Scott Walker is running around the country trying to get elected president. His claims of improving test scores in his state are exaggerated, highly spun to make him seem like a successful candidate on the issue of education.

But he’s not -- he’s been an enemy of educators since the start of his tenure.

Trust the teachers, not the snake oil salesman.

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