Experts to Discuss the Future of Public Schools in Wisconsin at Middleton Performing Arts Center Sept. 5 Wisconsin State Senators Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, and Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, are among the handful of presenters who will participate in “How Many Kids Left Behind? – An Interactive Community Conversation on the Future of Our Public Schools” at the Middleton Performing Arts Center, 2100 Bristol St., on Thursday, Sept. 5.
The forum is free and open to the public and the media. It begins at 7 p.m. and is expected to last 90 minutes. Other confirmed participants are:
• University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Dean Julie Underwood
• Department of Public Instruction policy adviser and federal funds trustee Jeff Pertl
• Wisconsin Association of School Board government relations specialist Joe Quick Media members who would like to interview the participants before the forum are welcome to do so. All participants will be at the Performing Arts Center starting at 6:30 p.m. to meet with the media. Participants will also be available afterwards to answer questions.
Quick will act as the moderator for the program and Pertl will introduce each of the three topics:
• The state of our state’s education budget (growth of poverty maps, needs of our children, and need for adequate funding).
• The second “shadow” school system (vouchers, various charters, private school reimbursement, etc.) and its financial impact.
• Needs of rural districts and the challenges to these districts and communities.
There will be a five-minute presentation on each topic. The other panelists will then respond with additional ideas and reactions, followed by questions from the audience. Each segment will last 25 minutes.
Schultz has indicated he is available on Sept. 2-4 to meet with media to discuss the forum. Underwood is available on Tuesday, Sept. 3 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 4 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. if you would like to interview her for one of your afternoon or evening newscasts. Pertl has also indicated he would be available on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Statewide voucher expansion, attempts to create a board of political appointees in Madison to dictate to local communities where charter schools will be created, and ongoing efforts to give vouchers to students with special needs are just a few examples of the work afoot to undermine Wisconsin’s premier public school system. Can our communities’ public schools thrive with the need to fund two separate school systems using limited public tax dollars, or will they merely survive with increased expectations and dwindling resources?
Schultz was elected to the assembly in 1982 and the senate in 1991. He is a member of the Senate’s Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges. He was the Senate Majority Leader from 2004 to ’06. He is a 1975 graduate of UW-Madison.
Vinehout was elected to the state senate in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. She is a member of the Senate’s Committee on Education and is the ranking member of the Joint Committee on Audit. She graduated from Southern Illinois University and has a master’s and doctorate from Saint Louis University.
Underwood taught at UW-Madison, served as dean of Miami University’s School of Education and was associate executive director and general counsel for the National School Boards Association. She has authored or co-authored four books. She is a graduate of DePauw University, has a law degree from Indiana University and a PhD from the University of Florida.
Pertl has worked for DPI since 2009. He was a legislative services coordinator for WASB and on the legislative policy staff for the Wisconsin Senate. He also is a member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors. He graduated from UW-Madison and has a master’s from the University of California-Berkeley.
Quick has worked as a staff member in both houses of the Legislature, and in the Executive branch, as the legislative liaison for DPI and as an education lobbyist for the Madison Metropolitan School District and WASB. He has more than 35 years of experience. He graduated from UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.
Team Gold, a west side Madison neighborhood team, and the Middleton Action Team are sponsoring the program. The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School Board of Education is hosting. The Board does not necessarily endorse the opinions expressed by individuals at this program. Team Gold and the Middleton Action Team are volunteer organizations dedicated to planning events to promote further dialogue about key issues important to our area, state and country. They both actively engage in service to our communities.
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