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WEAC-FOX VALLEY * 921 W. Association Drive * Appleton, WI 54914-7250 (920) 731-1369 * Fax: (920) 731-1630 * www.weac.org/weacfoxvalley

December 2011, Issue 54

FROM THE PRESIDENT Corey Otis, WEAC-Fox Valley President (otisc@weac.org)

Running Down a Dream Rather than battle the Black Friday bargain hunters, I chose to battle the bulge. After a delicious Thanksgiving meal with family, I had a corpulence surplus. Rather than make short-term cuts through a gimmick diet, I made my way to the gym. Living within my caloric means would require a long-term commitment to exercise and healthy eating, somewhat of a shared sacrifice. Running outside easily provides extrinsic motivation. The constant change in scenery inspires one’s feet to keep moving, and when the inspiration eventually fades, distance is impetus to run home. Running inside, however, requires more intrinsic motivation. Navigating a treadmill requires less physical skill than it does mental concentration. Sure, if you run too quickly, you’re bound to stumble over the conveyor belt. And if you jog too slowly, off the back end you go, risking irreparable injury. But the hardest part of running on a treadmill is overcoming psychological roadblocks. Knowing that you’ll take thousands of steps without advancing one inch geographically presents a difficult hurdle to overcome. In order to successfully complete an indoor run, one must do two things. First, remember that all this hard work is doing you some good. Second, while on the treadmill, envision the positive results. Watching the odometer click away a tenth of a mile at a time will drive you crazy. A good runner sees the finish line from the very first step. I clicked on the TV and reluctantly started my 5K. Commercial television offers runners 10-12 minute chunks of uninterrupted entertainment. Television provides a nice mental escape via sports, home decorating, or “reality.” However, I usually have no remote control at the treadmill, so once the run begins, there’s no escaping my original chosen program or its accompanying commercials. Not even when Scott Walker’s name comes across the screen. Walker’s anti-recall rhetoric began bombarding televisions as soon as a GOP operative filed the first petition to recall Walker, a petition that allowed our governor to begin collecting unlimited, anonymous donations. Just after I began my immobile jog, the first ad, funded by the Koch brothers’ American for Prosperity, boasted how Walker’s policies balanced Wisconsin’s budget: “It’s Working!” Of course, the advertisement does not closely examine how the budget was balanced, how long it will be balanced, and how much long-term damage Walker’s short-term fixes will cause Wisconsin. The ad nearly caused me long-term damage when my foot hit the front of the treadmill and I took a couple of hard steps to maintain balance and momentum. Around mile one of my three-mile stationary odyssey, another pro-Walker propaganda spot appeared. The unnamed “Friends of Scott Walker” pay for Karin, a school board member from an unnamed town, to express her gratitude for how Governor Walker’s reforms reined in her “25” schools’ biggest expense. Of course, Karin subtly alludes to her district’s dedicated educational professionals as ballooning costs, not valuable assets. Karin’s commercial celebration of the end of collective bargaining is ironically titled “Working Together.” Either excessive head-shaking or vicious eyerolling swung my left foot off the treadmill’s walking area, setting off a slight stagger before I regained my composure and speed. (Continued on page 2)

Henry Krokosky, Exec. Director (krokoskyh@weac.org), Debbie Armitage, Staff Assistant (armitaged@weac.org), Laura McCarthy, Secretary (mccarthyl@weac.org) Appleton Education Association ● Appleton Paraprofessional Association ● Appleton Secretarial/Clerical Association FVTC—Educational Support Personnel Association ● FVTC—Faculty Association ● Little Chute Education Association Neenah Education Association ● Neenah Educational Support Personnel Association ● New London Education Association


Issue 54

Propeller page 2

DECEMBER 2011

Running Down a Dream (continued) At the two-thirds mark of my exercise expedition, the anonymous “Friends of Walker” trotted out another trumpeter. Kristi, a high school English teacher, calls the recall movement “sour grapes” and says she stands with Scott. “He did the right thing for Wisconsin,” the teacher says. “He did.” And to punctuate her opinion, she shrugs. Her shoulder shimmy belted me in the belly (figuratively), and my legs were weary. For a moment, I wanted to stop running. But rather than retreat, I stepped up my charge. My goal within reach, I increased my speed and lengthened my stride. By the end of my journey, I was sprinting. Running burns calories and strengthens one’s muscles, but it also clears one’s head. Running allows for intense focus and honest introspection. Running provides opportunity for clarity, creativity, and comprehension. Running reinforces direction. No matter what the party line propaganda may say, Walker’s policies are wrong for Wisconsin and especially wrong for our public schools. It’s not working. Walker is running Wisconsin into the ground. Walker’s benefactors boast that school districts balanced their budgets, but this is actually rather unexceptional: school districts are required by law to balance their budgets every year. In light of historic cuts to Wisconsin schools – Walker slashed $1.6 billion, which meant 97% of our schools received less funding – the question isn’t whether school districts squared their finances but rather how. Recently, the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators explored the ramifications of budget reform. The responses from 84% of Wisconsin’s school districts show Walker’s policies aren’t good for anyone.  Walker’s cuts were too deep for even public employees’ considerable increase in insurance and retirement contributions to off-set: 70% of Wisconsin’s students attend districts with fewer teachers; 90% attend districts with fewer staff overall.  Fewer faculty and staff members meant 79% of our students saw cuts to programs, including special education, library-media, and drug and alcohol prevention. (The survey notes that because not all districts participated in the survey or responded with all of the requested data, the reductions in staff and programming are likely worse than WASDA’s report.)  Most importantly, courses and classes felt the squeeze of Walker’s budget. More than 40% of the districts responding reported larger class sizes in grades K-3 or 4-6. More than 20% raised class sizes in both K-3 and 4-6. Nearly half of the middle and high school students represented saw courses cut, sections dropped, or class sizes increased in the core areas.  And Walker’s short-term fix could cripple Wisconsin’s public schools for years to come. Approximately twothirds of school districts anticipated making the same cuts or greater next year (2012-13). Another study, cited by WASDA and the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, sums up the true impact of budgets like Walker’s: “education cuts have extended the recession, slowed the recovery, and undermined education reform and the ability of school districts to deliver high-quality education.” That statement should make Wisconsinites stop dead in their tracks. But the report will never change the minds of out-of-state billionaires like the Koch brothers, even as Wisconsin continues to hemorrhage jobs. It won’t budge neophyte Karin Rajnicek, a Waukesha School Board member since April 2011, who actually oversees 27 schools. And it’s not going to sway Kristi Lacroix, who teaches in Kenosha, a district that hasn’t put Walker’s reforms to work. Walker attempted to spin the report, but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s “Truth-o-Meter” rated the governor’s assessment as “false.” Walker is clearly running from recall and with good reason: a recent poll shows nearly 60% of Wisconsin residents support the recall of Scott Walker. He can’t run from the folly of his policies, so the tide turns against our current governor. Keep gathering your signatures. Step by step, it’s working. ---------------------------------Contact the WEAC-Fox Valley office for Recall materials and information: 731-1369.


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DECEMBER 2011

Coming Soon to a Computer Near You….. The WEA Academy is adding three new courses to its catalog: National Board Preparation and Support will provide resources, mentoring, coaching, guidance and technical assistance to candidates. It incorporates intellectual, logistical, emotional, and technical support. However, the responsibility of developing and completing the certification materials always rests with the candidate. Participation in and/or completion of this course in no way guarantees that the candidate will certify. This course is available now at: weaacademy.org – go to the online catalog. Spanish for Educators will help teachers develop cultural understanding and a repertoire of communication skills to converse with ELL/Spanish-speaking only students and family members. We anticipate this course being available in early fall. Professional Development for Teaching Online Courses will provide teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary for conducting online courses including structuring and designing courses to actively engage learners, assessing their learning and individualizing instruction as needed. This course is short and will meet the DPI requirements for teaching online course. We anticipate this course being available in early fall. Working with students is both exciting and challenging. The WEA Academy was established in 1992 to provide low cost professional development for members working in the field of education. The Academy provides online and face-to-face training programs, an online video library, and Educational Support Professional certificate programs. Contact us at www.weacademy.org. For an online catalogue of course offerings and certificate programs. Some courses can be taken as a “non-credit” option and add value to your Professional Development Plan. If you are planning on taking them for graduate credit, the cost per credit – currently $155/credit – is significantly lower than graduate credit costs from most institutes of higher education.

Today, American CEO’s make 263 times the average compensation for American workers, up from the 30 to 1 ratio in the 1970s. Courtesy thinkprogress.org


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DECEMBER 2011

Share Your Story There are those that claim schools are doing just fine and that the “sky is not falling.” What they are really doing is attempting to minimize the concerns of many that what has happened since February has had an overwhelmingly negative impact on the employees and schools. And the catalyst for that negative impact was the elimination of Collective Bargaining Agreements that employees had bargained with their employer in good faith. We question how much time these individuals have spent in schools asking the employees how they felt about their working conditions under Employee Handbooks instead of Collective Bargaining Agreements. We question how much time they have spent talking to those employees to really assess how things are going. Well, WEAC-Fox Valley UniServ staff spent time out there talking to members, and we have heard from members who have real concerns. Members who tell us they are not sleeping well and are more stressed NOW than they ever have been. They have told us of their increasing class sizes and work loads. In some workplaces, it appears the employers believe they can assign anything, anytime of the day, and with no additional compensation. They have told us how their employer has, in one month, approved their Employee Handbook and in the next month, modified it. And, that they are expected to keep abreast of these changes and not do anything contrary to the latest modifications. This kind of uncertainty is unnerving for employees. They have told us that they face ridicule and intimidation out in the public from people who feel they make too much money. People tell them it is because of them that “Wisconsin is broke.” And, they tell us they are NOW considering a new career. It is clear that the public must be educated on what is happening in public education. We need to tell our stories to all who will listen. We need to use blogs, websites, letters to the newspaper, and other social media. We cannot let others control the discussion. Their purpose is contrary to the future of public education. And now there is another way to share your story. Go to http://www.facebook.com/SpeakOutWisconsin?sk=wall&filter=2 and “LIKE” the Speak Out Wisconsin Facebook page to follow along and share your story. It is easy and safe. They need to hear from you NOW!


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DECEMBER 2011

WEAC-Fox Valley Retired By Dianne Lang, President (dlang@new.rr.com) It’s already time to mark your calendars for the WEAC-Fox Valley Retired annual informational meeting. This year we are recognizing one of our own, Fox Valley Technical College, as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. Alyce Dumke, Executive Director – FVTC Foundations & Community Relations, will present “100 Years of Knowledge that Works.” The discussion will take a look at the past 100 years of technical education, where it has been, and where it’s going. Obviously, the changes/growth in technology over that time period has been incredible, and the education that currently takes place at FVTC is very different than when we were in college. There will be plenty of opportunities for attendees to participate in the discussion as it relates to their own personal experiences. It should be a great program. Please save the date and join us:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. D.J. Bordini Center 5 Systems Drive (across from FVTC) Appleton, WI If you do plan to attend, please contact the WEAC-FV office, 731-1369, armitaged@weac.org, or mccarthyl@weac.org, so we are sure to have adequate seating for the presentation. We have set our annual meeting date for Tuesday, May 1, 2012. That meeting will also take place at the Bordini Center from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Along with a very brief business meeting, including elections of officers and At-Large Executive Board members, we will have a presentation on using social media, including Facebook and Twitter. In December you will be receiving a mailing from WEAC-Retired. There will be quite a bit of information included in that mailing, so be sure to look through everything carefully. With tighter budgets at all levels of the organization, WEAC-Retired will be sending out fewer mailings and relying more on technology to communicate with members. Please be sure to regularly check out the Retired information on the WEAC website. To find the WEAC-Retired, information, go to www.weac.org and click on Member Communities on the left side of the page. As always, I can be contacted at dlang@new.rr.com, with any questions or suggestions.


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DECEMBER 2011

Travel News http://my.athenet.net/~mesh by Tom Kreif (mesh@athenet.net) The WEAC-Fox Valley Travel Committee is open to all active and retired members. Our scheduled meetings for the 2011-2012 school year are: Jan. 11, Feb. 8, Mar. 14, May 9. All meetings are scheduled for Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. at Mary’s North in Appleton.

There has been quite a bit of research on the most popular oversea destinations. The Grand Circle Corporation, which arranges travel for Americans age 50 and older, top 10 destinations are: The Great Rivers of Europe; Egypt and the Nile; Botswana, Namibia, & Zimbabwe; Rhine; Machu Picchu and the Galapagos; India; Unexplored Serengeti; Eastern Europe and the Black Sea; Australia, New Zealand, and the Fiji Islands; and Vietnam. Cruise rates are generally lower during their “off season” when there is less demand and cruisers are no longer escaping the winter weather. You can save quite a bit of money by scheduling your Caribbean cruise in late April or September and October, or travel to Alaska in the middle of May or early September, or Hawaii in late August or late November. Websites that cater to the “senior” group by offering discounts include: http://www.Cruiseone.com http://www.Cruisebrothers.com http://www.7blueseas.com/bestcruises/ http://www.cruisesforseniors.com http://www.mustcruise.com/cruiseinfo/seniors.html http://www.cruisecompete.com/specials/deals/seniors/ Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel is my favorite travel magazine. There is a section for readers to give travel hints. One person suggests packing a handful of coffee filters in his luggage bag. He finds them cheap, useful, and easily disposable. He uses them as lint free cleaner for glasses, a disposable snack bowl, a fix for razor nicks, a blotter for greasy pizza, a paper towel alternative, and wrappers for souvenirs. Another reader suggests that instead of taking a pillow on flights, pack a camping stuff sack and fills it with soft things like a sweatshirt. A laundry secret to consider when washing clothes, consider packing a few Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets in a Ziploc bag. You use one sheet per load, and it washes and softens clothes while eliminating static. Many readers, including myself, always request a printout of the bill a day or two before the end of the cruise. Then, if there are problems, they can be resolved ahead of time. When making airline reservations, make sure you check the one-way prices. Sometimes you will find that buying a ticket each way costs less, and you might even get a better flight. Tripadvisor.com, which reviews hotel sites, has introduced a new flight aggregator. Its Fee Estimator adds the cost of a checked bag to the price and tallies up all the other extra charges you might get charged for.


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Propeller page 7

DECEMBER 2011

WEAC Board Report—November 2011 Patty Barrette, WEAC Board Representative (barrettep@weac.org) Ready. Set. Recall! The month of November has come to a close, and the state is back in motion. The race to recall Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Kleefisch has begun, and our future depends on the outcome. This month’s WEAC Board meeting focused on three main issues, with the Recall effort being front and center. Educator Effectiveness Model: The WEAC Board spent quite a bit of time discussing DPI’s release of the Educator Effectiveness Model which gives guidelines for Educator Evaluations. While some parts are highly controversial, much of it should not come as a surprise. The process includes: Standards of Practice (What knowledge, skills, and abilities should teachers and principals know and be able to demonstrate? Measures of practice. Measures of outcomes. Process for conducting evaluations and linking evidence to standards for evaluation ratings). The Evaluation Model relies heavily on the Danielson Model which many of us use already. It focuses on four domains: Planning and Preparation, The Classroom Environment, Instruction, and Professional Responsibilities. Keep in mind that recent legislation allows test scores to be used in Teacher Evaluations and this model addresses that use with only 15% of evaluations from the state test being used and 15% of the district assessments. Go to https://www.weacm.org/blogConnections/ for more information. United Wisconsin /Recall Movement: United Wisconsin is the group moving the recall process forward. United Wisconsin is a volunteer grassroots non‐partisan political action committee made up of everyday Wisconsinites concerned about our well‐being and the direction of the state. The movement is about policies not politics and not personal attacks. United Wisconsin is legally represented by a Board of Directors and an Executive Director. United Wisconsin’s mission is to force the recall election of Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. They currently have more than 200,000 pledge members, thousands of volunteers, hundreds of donors and partners, organizations or individuals who have endorsed the recall efforts. Learn more at www.UnitedWisconsin.com. WEAC’s part in this movement includes a call for WEAC members to participate in WEAC’s 4X10 plan which asks each of us to commit to the following: 1. Collect 10 recall signatures 2. Donate or raise $10 for the recall effort 3. Reach out to 10 voters (friends, family and neighbors) 4. Give 10 hours of time to help with the effort (actions, events, phone banking, member walks, letter writing, etc.) Go to www.weac.org for more information. Other information: 1. A discussion on the possibility of making a change to the 2012 WEAC RA 2. A request for people to be willing to serve on the WEAC Review Board Committee (if interested please let me know) 3. An update on the current action the legislature is taking regarding “double-dipping”. Information is currently being compiled by ETF on what other states do in these situations. Again, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent you on the WEAC Board of Directors. It is also my new honor and pleasure to represent you on the WEA Trust Board of Directors as well (beginning Nov. 2011). Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. You can email me at pattybarrette@yahoo.com


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DECEMBER 2011

PDP Goal Approval Workshop Summary By: Noelle Mudrak, WEAC-Fox Valley PI-34/PDP Committee Chair Bright and early on Saturday morning, November 12, educators started walking through the doors of WEAC-Fox Valley, ready to present their PDP goals to their three-person teams. Many of these thirty-one educators attended the “How to Write a PDP” workshop a few weeks earlier and now they were ready to discuss their goals for approval. While many of them entered feeling nervous, it’s safe to say they all left feeling at ease about the process and happy that their goals were approved and ready to be sent to DPI. To capture the success of the day, it’s best to see what participants said in their evaluations. One educator said, “You made this so simple and doable for us. Thank you for helping us focus on the goal-setting and taking the worries away as far as finding a team and organizing the approval part.” Another said, “It was a great opportunity to meet and discuss my goal and get feedback on ideas and activities to use to help me complete my goal”. Another participant commented about the service we offer for goal approval: “I have friends in other districts at the same licensure point as me who have had no help. It was great to not have to do this alone.” Finally, an educator left saying, “I am more motivated to research (my goal) further and do better as an educator now that I have a goal and objectives written out.” It’s safe to say the day was a complete success! WEAC-Fox Valley will sponsor one more PDP workshop for its members on Saturday, January 28. This session will be for members who need to have their PDP goals verified, so they can move on to the next stage of licensure. If you have questions about this or any other PDP/PI-34 workshops, please contact Noelle Mudrak or the WEAC-Fox Valley office.

Aimee Auer, Michelle Beres and Christine Tipps made up one of four PDP review teams.


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DECEMBER 2011

CALENDAR December 13—Board of Directors Meeting, WEAC-Fox Valley

LEGAL WORKSHOP

Presented by: Renee A. Read, Attorney Location: Remley & Sensenbrenner, S.C. Law Firm 219 E. Wisconsin Ave., Neenah, WI Signup Information: Call 920-725-2601 Website: www.remleylaw.com or Email: info@remleylaw.com

How to Get Your Nursing Home Care Paid by the State An introduction to Medicaid eligibility and planning Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 6:00-7:00 pm Lifetime savings may be quickly depleted by the cost of nursing home care. Learn ways to preserve family assets while still qualifying for Medicaid. Limit 15. THE PROPELLER GOES GREEN!

The Propeller is being delivered electronically to WEAC-Fox Valley’s members’ home email addresses. The Propeller will also be available via WEAC-Fox Valley’s website and Facebook page. If you have questions, concerns, or need to update/provide your home email address, please contact Laura McCarthy (mccarthyl@weac.org). REMINDER: The Propeller and all other union benefits will be available only to active dues-paying members in good standing beginning October 2011.

The Propeller  

WEAC-Fox Valley

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