President Biden’s American Rescue Plan finally puts forward funding and a policy response which meets the moment that we are in. The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools commends and supports President Biden’s proposal to provide immediate and much-needed relief to the education professionals in public schools who have worked tirelessly and without sufficient resources to meet the needs of students and parents during this global crisis.
The U.S. is entering the deadliest phase yet of this pandemic and the American Rescue Plan breaks through the half measures and false remedies that we have seen to date and puts in place the tools we will need to protect our families, neighbors and communities and to help schools reopen in a manner that is safe and based on science rather than political whim. Our schools should not be political footballs. The most precious educational resource that our students have are their teachers. Equally, the most precious educational resource that our communities have are the women and men who have educated generations of Wisconsin citizens and who have made this state as great as it is. They are our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. They are leaders in our communities and they and our students need the full measure of respect, safety, support and protection that our country can give them. The American Rescue Plan provides those cornerstones on which we can build.
It is clear that our students need the foundation that the American Rescue Plan provides. As many have documented, Wisconsin’s education system entered the pandemic at a low ebb. After years of defunding, state per pupil funding has dropped into the bottom half nationally and Wisconsin trails every state in the Union when it comes to how it funds students challenged by disabilities, how it funds students learning English and how it supports those challenged by poverty. In order for all students to be truly successful, Wisconsin cannot simply get back to the already weak point it was in before the pandemic, it will have to come back stronger. The American Rescue Plan, through the support it provides to our students, communities, and schools serves as a key starting point from which we can regain strength. This generation of students needs our support and they need our leadership now.
The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools and the Executive Director of Wisconsin Public Education Network strongly support this plan and encourage our statewide partners to support it by contacting elected officials at the state and federal level.
Julie Underwood, President, Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) Board of Directors
Heather DuBois Bourenane, Executive Director, Wisconsin Public Education Network