Governor Evers announces $90 million investment in K-12 public education across Wisconsin The Badger Herald

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Governor Evers announces $90 million investment in K-12 public education across Wisconsin The Badger Herald

Governor Tony Evers announced a $90 million investment in public schools on August 30. press release from the governor’s office.

According to a press release, these funds come from a federal budget allocation in Wisconsin’s U.S. Relief Plan Act. The funds are intended to address staffing issues, increase classroom support, and expand mental health services in public schools. This funding is divided by school district per student and distributed over multiple grades.

Of the $90 million reportedly, $15 million will be used directly to improve mental health services through Evers’ Get Kids Ahead program, while $75 million will be used to expand teacher staff and reduce class sizes. will be release.

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The allocation of funds comes after the COVID-19 pandemic forced many teachers to take safety measures into their own hands amid long working hours and culture wars, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. It took place after a tumultuous time for teachers. Additionally, the number of students graduating with an education degree will drop significantly in 2021, according to a Wisconsin Policy Forum report.

These difficulties have caused many students, including Senior Jack Cots at the University of Wisconsin, to rethink their future career plans.

Kotz had planned to become a history or Spanish teacher after graduation, but said she was re-evaluating this plan given how teachers are treated in Wisconsin. rice field. Kotz also noticed a difference in the treatment of his Wisconsin teacher mother after his Act 10 was passed in Wisconsin.

Law 10, passed by former Governor Scott Walker nearly a decade ago, limited the ability of public employees, other than firefighters and police officers, to bargain collectively. Additionally, according to Spectrum News 1, benefits such as pensions and health care have been cut for all civil servants, including firefighters and police officers.

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According to Wisconsin Public Radio, Act 10 created enduring problems for teachers that are still visible today, especially in a post-COVID-19 society, resulting in fewer teachers and more staffing issues.

Kotz said he believes Evers’ new investment will help, but that it may not address the root of these problems.

“Money seems to treat some symptoms instead of going like the root of the cause,” Kotz said. I think. [for staffing issues] After Act 10, all teachers were retiring, and I’m pretty sure that’s rooted in workers’ rights and the lack of a strong public teachers’ union. ”

The funds are aimed at returning teachers to schools after data showed public sector workers left the industry at the highest rate in 20 years in 2021, according to a press release.

Julie Underwood, former dean emeritus of the University of Washington School of Education, spoke about the high potential of $90 million in public schools.

Underwood said the $90 million provided to the school over an extended period of time, as opposed to the school’s only one-time funding in the past, would allow the school to actually hire much-needed teachers. Underwood said the one-time funding would allow schools to contract substitute teachers and other temporary workers, but not the licensed teaching professionals that schools need. or contract with a psychologist.

“stretch [the funding] Over the years, school districts will spend money on licensed staff such as teachers and school psychologists and counselors,” Underwood said. It’s the kind of staff that is urgently needed.”

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Underwood also spoke about the importance of money set aside for public school mental health services, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Underwood, 1 in 5 schoolchildren have mental health issues, and many of these students seek help from schools. But schools are often ill-equipped to deal with these issues, so these funds can help, she said.

“Providing additional access to [the students] There is a desperate need to get better treatment and counseling more often or more quickly, especially now that the COVID pandemic has just ended,” Underwood said.

Underwood also believes that while the $90 million investment is a good step forward, an even bigger investment is Evers’ new proposal to give $2 billion to schools statewide in the 2023-2025 budget. I’m here.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the proposed $2 billion will be used to help improve literacy rates in public schools, increase aid to special education, expand access to mental health and nutrition services, and more. will be used.