Annual Meeting 2014 – Minutes

Chippewa Valley Civil Liberties Union
Annual Meeting Minutes for October 8, 2014
L.E. Phillips Memorial Library, Eau Claire. WI
(Minutes to be approved at 2015 annual meeting)

1. President Stephanie Turner called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. in Red Cedar Room at the library.

2. Minutes of the September 24, 2013, meeting were approved as distributed.

3. The treasurer’s report was approved as distributed. As of September 30 the savings account had $5.01 and the checking account had $1207.04. Since then there have been income and expenses for the annual newsletter and dinner/fundraiser, and rebates for recruiting new members; these figures will be updated at the next regular board meeting.

4. President Turner reminded us of our three candidates for the board, which included Heidi Sanders, Marni Kaiser ((Memorial student) and incumbent Ann Heywood. Dr. Mahmoud Taman was added as candidate at the meeting since his biographical statement was not submitted in time for the newsletter. Dr. Taman introduced himself. All four candidates were elected to the board.

5. The members next reviewed three proposed amendments to the bylaws concerning having at least four meetings per year, limiting board officers to two consecutive two-year terms, and using the current edition of “Robert’s Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedures.” All amendments were approved.

6. The meeting adjourned at 7:23p.m. Members moved to the Eau Claire Room for the evening’s presentation, open to the public.

Respectfully submitted,
Ann Heywood, secretary

The following are notes from the presentation. I cannot vouch for their completeness or accuracy. I hope they are a generally helpful summary.

Dr. Julie Mead, Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, School of Education, UW-Madison presented her remarks on “Public Schools and Privatization: What’s at Stake.”

What is public about public education?
` public funds
– public purpose
– public benefit
– public accountability
part of the “commons”

Privatization means or involves
public funds for a private purpose
policies based on a market principle
permitting individuals rather than elected bodies to direct tax dollars
policies that permit private entities to receive public funds earmarked for a public purpose
various forms of private school choice: voucher plans, tax credits, charter schools authorized by unelected entities.

Wisconsin offers a variety of public school choices. They are
Intra-district
magnet schools
statewide open enrollment
charter schools authorized by the school district or other entities like universities or tech schools.

Each of the states’ constitutions require public education to be funded collectively. The public schools have a zero rejection principle. Litigation has pushed rights to cover issues like race and disability. Public funding also means there is public accountability. Teacher licensure, for example, is one of the basic standards. The curriculum shifts as needed such as new offerings in technology or requirements of public service projects.

Wisconsin was the first state to try voucher programs. Milwaukee’s system started in 1990, Racine’s in 2011, and statewide in 2013. The original Milwaukee program was limited to 1% (about 1000 of MPS). The eligible voucher schools were private, non-sectarian, within city limits. Now the limitations have been removed. Family income eligibility is 300% of poverty level. Voucher value is $7210 for K – 8 and $7856 for 9 – 12.

Currently Milwaukee participation involve 108 schools and 23,734 students at an annual cost of $161,050,000. The average participating school has 82% vouchers. 75%of the schools enroll at least 80% of the students by voucher.
Racine has the same eligibility and requirements.

Wisconsin statewide eligibility is 185% of federal poverty level. No more than 1% of the local public district may be voucher students. The cost for the first year statewide is $2,212,303. In 2014 the statewide program enrollment doubles to 1000 students.

All the vouchers plans together in Wisconsin cost $171,857,421 in 2013. At the same time Wisconsin cut 15.5% to public school funding.

What does a private school mean for student rights? The First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments do not apply. Thus, for example, students do not have rights for freedom of expression, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, or due process. Laws about LGBTQ don’t apply. IDEA does not apply. The ADA requires acceptance if reasonable accommodations can be made.

Currently MPCP enrollments include 2% of students with disabilities. MPS enrollment is 20% students with disabilities.

Privatization involves parental rather than public accountability for education. Parents personally need to evaluate the program quality, content, and personnel qualifications.

There have been three important court challenges to vouchers:
Davis v. Grover in 1992
Jackson v. Benson in 1998
Vincent v. Voigt in 2000

At what point does funding of private education undercut the basic, constitutional floor of requirements in public school? Are we converting the right to an education to the right to shop for one? Tony Evers, DPI Superintendent says we have crossed the line.
Why privatize?
Are people dissatisfied with public schools? No. Most Wisconsin students enroll in public schools
Are public schools failing? No
Do voucher schools show they produce better results? No
Do charter schools produce better results? No

Public education is a $500+ billion enterprise.

Resources:
50 Myths and Lies that Threaten America’s Public Schools: the Real Crisis in Educationby Berliner and Glass
Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools by Diane Ravitch
Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance by Carter and Weiner
The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future by Linda Darling-Hammond

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