Opportunity for area students to learn firsthand about how the State Senate Operates.
MADISON - State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) announced today that the Senate Scholars program is now accepting applications from high school students age 16-18 to participate in the weeklong program that provides high school students with a hands-on learning experience about how the Legislature operates and the role it plays in state government.
“This is a great opportunity for high schools students from our area to learn about their state government in a way that goes beyond the classroom and into the halls and offices of the State Senate,” said Senator Hansen.
Senate Scholars will see the State Senate in action behind the scenes and learn how policy is developed, legislation is created and passed, the public hearing process and constituent relations. They will have the opportunity to work with state senators and legislative staff and have the opportunity to learn more about our democratic system of government from University of Wisconsin faculty.
“Over the years we have had many Senate Scholars from the 30th Senate District and Northeast Wisconsin," Hansen said. "It is an invaluable learning experience for any student of political science and state government. I would encourage any student with an interest in working in government or becoming involved in the legislative process to apply.”
Information about this program and the application process can be found online at www.senatescholar.com or by contacting Dr. Tammy Wehrle, Legislative Education and Outreach Officer, at (608)261-0533 or
. All applications for the 2016 Senate Scholar program are due by January 3, 2016. Students can apply at any time and have their application considered for future programs if they aren’t immediately accepted. While this is a highly competitive program, each Senate district is allotted a minimum number of participants.
Legislative Staffer Jay Wadd contributed to this story.
Historic K-12 cuts and massive voucher expansion can’t stop local schools.
MADISON, WI – State Superintendent Tony Evers delivered a powerful State of Education Address to a packed capitol rotunda audience today. In his speech, Supt. Evers highlighted the resiliency of Wisconsin’s public schools and their success in the face of political adversity.
“Like Superintendent Evers, I appreciate the amazing efforts being made by local schools, teachers and parents to provide students with a quality education despite the obstacles being created in Madison,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “In the face of deep budget cuts, teacher shortages and political attacks, our public schools have risen to the challenge and continue to deliver a top notch education. Even in tough times, Wisconsin families know that a quality education and investments in local public schools are key to expanding economic opportunities and raising wages in our state.”
While Supt. Evers highlighted many of the accomplishments of Wisconsin’s public schools and the increasingly active role of parent-led advocacy organizations, he acknowledged that additional state support and stability is needed. To improve education opportunities and strengthen local schools, Sen. Shilling and other Democrats have proposed restoring the historic budget cuts enacted by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans, strengthening local control and increasing voucher school accountability to reduce fraud.
“Just this month, we’ve learned that Gov. Walker’s private school subsidy program will cost taxpayers over $1.1 billion in state funding,” added Shilling. “Rather than continuing to subsidize Gov. Walker’s underperforming voucher program that has been plagued by waste, fraud and abuse, we need to increase voucher accountability and restore our investments in local public schools.”
State Senator Chris Larson of Milwaukee said on the State of Education address by Superintendent Tony Evers:
“One of our cornerstone American principles is that access to quality education is a freedom and right that every child deserves. As we heard today from Superintendent Evers, Wisconsin can no longer honestly say every child has equal access to the kind of education to put them on the path to live the American Dream. It’s long past time we end the political rhetoric and reinvest in our traditional Wisconsin values to ensure every single child, regardless of economic background, obtains the knowledge and skills to put them on a path to success.
“Despite the recent historic cuts made to our traditional neighborhood schools, Governor Walker and Legislative Republicans continue to throw money at unaccountable, for-profit voucher schools.
“It is morally, ethically, and fiscally unacceptable that 57 taxpayer-subsidized voucher schools have been shut down since 2003, yet nothing has been done to ensure taxpayers or our children are protected. The most-recent voucher school to close its doors did so just nine days into the school year, leaving students and parents scrambling for a new school before open enrollment ends. How many more kids are they willing to let down before we put an end to this abuse of power?
“The facts show voucher schools are failing our children. That’s why I introduced Senate Bill 3, which would protect our children and families with basic safety and educational standards that every school should practice. Wisconsin must put an end to the blatant waste, fraud, and abuse that has run rampant in the voucher system for the past 25 years. It’s time to do what we know works and invest in all our kids’ future.”
Legislative Staffer Tony Palese contributed to this article.
Rep. Dana Wachs asks for greater notice, media scrutiny, input from public on creation of the WTCS/UWS Merger Work Group.
MADISON – On Friday, August 14, Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) sent a letter to Rep. Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg) requesting that meetings of the WTCS/UWS Merger Work Group be properly noticed, open to the public and media, and include participation from Democratic members of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities.
“Like many of my legislative colleagues as well as concerned citizens throughout Wisconsin, I was surprised to hear about this work group,” said Rep. Wachs, ranking Democratic member of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee. “The potential for such a merger deserves much more than closed door meetings with a few people. Public input, media scrutiny, and participation from both sides of the aisle should be the cornerstones of any legislative discussion.”
The creation of the WTCS/UWS Merger Work Group was recently announced, and the first informal meeting was held on Wednesday, August 12. The work group, which is chaired by Rep. Katsma, also includes Reps. Dave Murphy (R-Greenville), Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan), Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) and Dan Knodl (R-Germantown).
“While we may have differing opinions on the merits or details of such a merger, one thing that that we should all agree upon is the importance of open, honest discussions about legislation that will affect Wisconsinites,” added Wachs. “I have requested that these hearings be given greater public notice, be open to the public and the media, and include Democrats who serve on the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities. I welcome further discussion on this issue. As an elected representative and the ranking Democratic member of the committee, I respectfully request that the concerns raised in my letter be given the consideration that they deserve.”