Wisconsin Education Action Guide from SPARC 2014

Dear friends of SPARC,local action excellent schools

As many of you know, there are several proposals before the legislature right now that threaten both public school funding equity and our most vulnerable students.  As in previous terms, advocates for students with special needs and public education have been standing up in force to these bills, and this opposition has dominated the public hearings. Legislators are listening, and there is hope that these measures will be defeated – so now is the time to make sure our voice is heard loud and clear.

The anti-public education “school choice” lobby that has written and promoted this legislation, however, is a powerful influence at the Capitol and has poured huge investments into the campaigns of many of these legislators.  Due to their persistence and influence, these measures, which were defeated in past sessions, have once again been introduced.  These parties are often given the spotlight at the hearings, where they use discredited evidence and misleading appeals to “choice” and “small government” to promote bills that limit local control and promise lucrative contracts to their own financiers.

In spite of this, there are proven ways we can take action to ensure that the voices of the taxpayers, parents, and all who care about the future of our state and our children, are heard above the sound of those cash registers.

Here are 6 things you can do to stand up for public education in our community:

  1. Contact your legislators. 
    It is time to call on them to do what is right for Wisconsin children and to reject any proposals that would hurt special needs children or further remove local control from the chartering process. I urge you to write your legislators and the bills’ sponsors and committee chairs and ask them to stand with Wisconsin parents and taxpayers. Your letter need not be long: just saying you oppose this legislation sends the message.

      • Click here to find your representatives if you don’t live in the City of Sun Prairie


  2. Write letters to the local papers. You can submit a letter (350 words or less) to the Sun Prairie Star at spedit@hngnews.com.  Capital Times:tctvoice@madison.com,    Wisconsin State Journal (200 words or less):wsjopine@madison.com .  Be sure to include your name and address for verification.  Effective letters focus on one topic, provide clear reasons or examples, and are short and to the point.
  3. Hold the Department of Public Instruction accountable for enforcing  anti-discrimination policy against students with special needs at voucher schools, and to improve the process for reporting complaints against voucher schools which do not comply with these policies.  
  4. Stay informed, and trust your sources.  In this effort, you may also find these resources especially valuable:
    • The Institute for Wisconsin’s Future and the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools also follow this news very closely, and you can find updates and action alerts on their websites.  SPARC is a member of the Wisconsin Public Education Network, a statewide coalition of educators, advocates, grassroots teams and individuals connected and committed to public education.
    • Public School Shakedown is a new feature of the Progressive magazine which tracks and reports the national assault on public education. Editor Ruth Conniff and her team do a fantastic job staying on top of state and national education here.  Their Wisconsin Capitol reporter, Rebecca Kemble, also does an amazing job of live reporting and covering how special interests groups connect to education policy and legislation in Wisconsin.  
  5. Get involved locally.  Attend events supporting our children and our schools.  Connect with local schools, and attend school board meetings to share your concerns and ideas.  Citizens have a great deal of local control over what happens in our schools, and attending meetings where curriculum and policy are being planned is the best way to have a voice in these things!  Never underestimate the power of citizens at these meetings, which are often very poorly attended..

  6. Spread the word.  Make your position known to your family and friends.  Use social media and email to share news and events.  Talk to other parents and neighbors about your concerns, and urge them to pay close attention to what’s being done with our tax dollars.The louder our voices, the stronger we stand.

In Sun Prairie, and statewide, we need to reinvest in and support of strong public schools that serve ALL students, and stand up against measures that line the pockets of special interests at the expense of our kids.

Thank you for your support of SPARC and the excellent public schools in Sun Prairie and Wisconsin!

Heather DuBois Bourenane
SPARC member and proud SPASD parent

Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC)

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Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition is a grassroots information and action network working to move Wisconsin forward. Local action works!