State news roundup for May 24, 2014

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Wisconsin — Only 19 percent of voucher applicants attended public schools

In the second year of statewide vouchers, the trend continues to provide more resources to a handful of unaccountable private schools while defunding public schools.

Under vouchers, Wisconsin has two separate and unequal school systems,” said Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) President Betsy Kippers, a teacher from Racine. “Voucher schools have received large increases in state taxpayer funding, while the majority of children who attend neighborhood public schools are left behind.

Get the full story at weac.org

New York — Voters again demonstrate strong support for school budgets

NYSUT image

Voters across New York state again demonstrated great confidence in their local schools, approving 98 percent of school budgets in Tuesday’s balloting, according to a preliminary analysis by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). Based on an unofficial count, NYSUT said voters approved 549 school budgets and defeated 12 for an unofficial pass rate of 98 percent.

Read more at nysut.org.

Oklahoma — Gov. Fallin refuses testing fairness, vetoes HB 2625

ExamGov. Mary Fallin used her power to veto House Bill 2625, ignoring petitions and cries for help from the very people who elected her–thousands of parents, educators, and community members throughout the state. It is evident that the pleas for support of the 7,970 young children—8-and-9-year-olds—fell on deaf ears.

The governor has stated many times that she is in support of local control and encourages parental support. In light of this decision, it leaves many questioning the validity of her statements. HB 2625 would allow students to advance to the fourth grade if they scored proficient or above in any of the other state-approved reading test taken throughout the school year and would have offered more local control by establishing retention/promotion teams. The teams would consist of parents, teachers, principals, and reading specialists—individuals who know best the child’s overall abilities. Read more at okea.org.

Illinois — Judge grants stay in retirement security case impacting educators and other public workers

Illinois’ new pension law will not go into effect starting June 1 after a judge today granted the members of the We Are One Illinois coalition, of which the Illinois Education Association is a member, a stay in the case. Sangamon CountyPrint Circuit Judge John Belz heard from all sides on the issue and granted a temporary restraining order, meaning none of the law is to be implemented until he rules on the entire case.

“For our members who are part of TRS and SURS, we had a victory today in being granted this stay,” said Illinois Education Association President Cinda Klickna. “Now we’ll wait to see what the court says about the entire case.”

The law, known as SB1, was passed in December and slashes cost-of-living adjustments, reducing the value of pension benefits by one-third or more after 20 years in retirement. It also hikes the retirement age and makes other unconstitutional cuts to the pensions of working and retired members of the Teachers’ Retirement System, State Employees’ Retirement System and State Universities Retirement System. Read more at ieanea.org.

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