Commentary: The First Step to Rightsizing Education Spending Is Reforming Teacher Pensions

In the past year, Congress has rushed more than $204 billion in federal emergency funds to states to support K-12 schools. 

But 23 states had fewer incoming students this fall. This declining enrollment is likely in part due to pandemic-related trends but is also a symptom of changing birth rates and families geographically relocating.

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Wisconsin Lawmakers Look at Opt-out Option for Parents on Gender and Sex Classes

Girl student standing and holding books in hand in a classroom

Wisconsin lawmakers are wrestling with the question of who should talk to their kids about sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Assembly Committee on Education on Thursday held a marathon hearing on a plan that would allow parents to opt their kids out of classes on both.

“This is merely just a way to give parents a choice,” Rep Bob Whitke, R-Racine, said. “Because there are a lot of concepts now that are coming out in school … it’s being done in a way that parents don’t understand, and parents aren’t notified.

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Wisconsin Representative Tiffany Demands ‘Full Membership’ to United Nations for Taiwan

Wisconsin Representative Thomas Tiffany (R-07-WI) wrote a letter to the Biden Administration demanding full membership to the United Nations for Taiwan. In a tweet about the letter, Tiffany said, “America doesn’t need a permission slip from Communist China to support our allies.”

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Wisconsin Office of Special Counsel Tells State Election Commission to Prevent Evidence Destruction

Flag with ballot form

Special Counsel and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Mike Gableman is attempting to prevent the potential destruction of evidence pertaining to the 2020 presidential election in the state.

Gableman reminded the Wisconsin Election Commission via letter of its duty to prevent the tampering and destruction of evidence.

“I hereby request that you and your office preserve any and all records and evidence […] including but not limited to information retained on any and all voting machine,” including “metadata, router information, and/or access logs,” he wrote.

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Job Creators Network Bring Small Business Back Tour Coming to Waukesha, Wisconsin

The Job Creators Network’s (JCN) Bring Small Business Back (BSBB) tour is coming to Waukesha, Wisconsin on Tuesday. Wisconsin Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-05-WI) will be attending and will be given JCN’s “Defender of Small Business” award. The tour will be in Waukesha at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, September 14, at Weldall Manufacturing. Participants can register to attend on EventBrite. According to a press release, the speakers at the Waukesha stop will include Rep. Fitzgerald and JCN Chief Communications Officer Elaine Parker.

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Wisconsin Representative Gallagher Calls for Fauci to Resign

Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher (R-08-WI) called for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Adviser, to resign in an interview with Fox News. Gallagher said, “At a minimum he should step down and we should have a full investigation to untangle the complex web of US taxpayer dollars funding this type of research.”

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Wisconsin Rep. Gallagher Opposes Using Photos in Navy Promotion Decisions to Enhance Diversity

Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher (R-08-WI) wrote a letter to Vice Admiral John Nowell opposing the use of photographs when making decisions about promotions in the Navy. Gallagher and five other members of Congress wrote the letter because he believes that basing a decision about giving a naval officer a promotion on their headshot is not a good criteria.

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Wisconsin Democrat Candidate for Senate Charged with Theft and Fraud

Chantia Lewis

A Wisconsin candidate for U.S. Senate was charged with theft and fraud after violating campaign finance laws. Chantia Lewis, a current Milwaukee city council member, allegedly used over $21,000 improperly. As was reported by the Houston Chronicle, Lewis used over $21,000 of campaign finances on “car payments, family trips, a worship conference and other personal expenses.” The Milwaukee county attorney’s office filed a total of four felonies and one misdemeanor against her.

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Wisconsin Charter Schools Growing, Overcoming Law and Misperceptions

Wisconsin charter schools are on the rise despite legal hurdles and widespread myths.

First established in 1993, Wisconsin charter schools now number 235 with 14 schools listed as new since last year. That’s a 6% upward trend.

One of the schools listed as new is the Carmen Middle School of Science and Technology South Campus. The school was categorized as new because of a location move.

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Wisconsin Rep. Bryan Steil Questions Why Biden Admin Shuttered Trump Era Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau Before Afghanistan Withdrawal

Bryan Steil

Wisconsin Representative Bryan Steil (R-01-WI) is questioning why the Biden Administration shuttered the Trump era Contingency and Crisis Response (CCR) Bureau prior to withdrawing from Afghanistan. Steil co-wrote a letter to the Secretary of State Anthony Blinken with another Representative, saying that he believes that the decision to shut down the CCR made the Afghanistan situation worse.

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Wisconsin State Superintendent Calls Mask Protests ‘Noise,’ Pushes Masks and Vaccines

Wisconsin’s state superintendent is taking a swipe at parents who don’t want their kids to be forced to mask-up this school year.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly on Wednesday wrote an op-ed that dismisses parents who are protesting mask mandates at their local schools.

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Report: Wisconsin Lost Track of 82,000 Ballots in State Biden Won by 20,000

Wisconsin lost track of more than 82,000 mail-in ballots cast in the state in the November 2020 elections—more than four times the margin of difference separating the two presidential candidates in the state, according to a report by the nonprofit Public Interest Legal Foundation.  

The legal foundation, an election integrity watchdog group, released a research brief Friday looking at one of the most closely contested states in the 2020 presidential election. 

However, the Wisconsin Elections Commission disputes those findings, as the commission spokesman said the report “mischaracterizes election systems and cherry-picks data,” adding, it is “unreliable and frankly, it’s sloppy work.” 

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State Senator from Wisconsin: Governor Evers Has Failed to Raise Refugee Concerns

The Wisconsin state senator who represents the towns around Fort McCoy has issued the strongest objection yet to the still murky plan to bring thousands of Afghan refugees to central Wisconsin.

Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, on Friday sent a strongly worded letter to Gov. Evers asking for answers about who the refugees are and where they will go once they arrive.

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Wisconsin Republicans Ask Judge to Toss ‘Obstructionist’ Redistricting Lawsuit

Republicans in Wisconsin say Democrats are running to court before they’ve even had a chance to draw a new political map.

The Republican-led legislature on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit from a handful of voters that asks the federal court to draw Wisconsin’s new political map.

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Wisconsin Leaders React to Afghan Refugees Coming to the State

There are more questions than answers about the likely thousands of Afghans who are coming to Wisconsin.

The Pentagon on Tuesday said 22,000 Afghan refugees will be sent to military bases in Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Wisconsin base is Fort McCoy.

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Redistricting Lawsuit Filed, Democratic Groups Want Wisconsin Courts to Draw Maps Immediately

Less than 24 hours after the U.S. Census Bureau delivered Wisconsin’s 2020 Census numbers, a handful of voters have filed a lawsuit to toss out the state’s current political map, and have judges skip the legislature and draw new maps on their own.

The lawsuit will be heard in federal court in Madison. It argues that because of the Census data, the state’s current congressional and legislative maps are out of date, and cannot be used in any upcoming elections.

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Journalism Professor Deletes Tweet That Appeared to Advocate for Violence Against Rand Paul

University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism Professor Mike Wagner appeared to encourage Republican Senator Rand Paul’s neighbor to assault him in response to the libertarian politician’s comments on COVID mandates.

Rene Boucher, the senator’s Kentucky neighbor, attacked Paul in 2017, allegedly over a dispute about a pile of sticks. Boucher had to pay damages to Paul and served home confinement and time in jail, according to NBC News.

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Wisconsin Democrat Rep. Ron Kind to Retire in District Trump Won, Opening Door for GOP Contenders

U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI-03) will retire from Congress at the end of his term, deciding not to run for re-election in the Wisconsin swing district.

Kind’s southwestern Wisconsin district has gradually evolved over his approximately 25-year career in the House of Representatives, with former President Trump winning the district in the November 2020 election.

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Wisconsin Republicans Issue Subpoenas for Election Materials

Representative Janel Brandtjen

Wisconsin State Representative Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) on Friday issued subpoenas for a host of election materials, including all ballots and voting machines in two Wisconsin counties.

Brandtjen called the efforts a “top-to-bottom investigation of the 2020 Presidential General Election,” after the probe was initiated by Assembly Resolution 15.

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Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos Expands Election Probe

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said Friday he plans to hire more investigators and anticipates allowing more time for a probe into the 2020 presidential contest for Wisconsin’s 10 Electoral-College votes, the Associated Press has reported.

The official vote count in Wisconsin last November put Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump by 20,682 votes. The margin was just over 0.6 percent of the nearly 3.3 million votes cast statewide. 

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Wisconsin Officials Pledge to Conduct Forensic Audit of 2020 Election

Janel Brandtjen

Wisconsin State Representative Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) pledged to conduct a full forensic audit of ballots cast in the state’s November 2020 election.

“I’ve traveled around our state as Chair of the Campaigns and Elections committee, voters have made it clear that they want a thorough, cyber-forensic examination of tabulators, ballot marking devices and other election equipment, which I will be helping facilitate on behalf of the committee as the chair,” Brandtjen, who serves as the head of the Wisconsin Assembly elections committee, said in a statement.

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Data Shows Increased Homicides in Six Major Cities Across the Country

Police line do not cross tape

The number of homicides in six major cities across the country has increased compared to last year, disproportionately affecting black people, according to crime data.

Black people have represented a massive share of murder victims in six major cities through the first six months of 2021 compared to last year, which itself saw a large crime surge, according to data analyzed by the Daily Caller News Foundation. The DCNF analyzed both police department data and homicide reports compiled by local news outlets to determine how black people have been victimized in the wake of the 2020 crime spike.

“We are seeing an uptick in violent crime across the country, specifically gun violence,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told The New York Times earlier this month.

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