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Hearings set for bills on transgender athlete participation in HS sports

A pair of companion bills aimed at barring male-to-female transgender athletes from competing as girls in interscholastic sports are moving forward.  Two separate public hearings have been scheduled for next Wednesday morning (5/26). The Assembly Committee on Education will take public testimony on Assembly Bill 196 at 9:00 a.m. in room 412 East of the State Capitol and the Senate Committee on Human Services, Children & Families will hear on Senate Bill 322 at 11:00 a.m. in room 411 South of the State Capitol.

For years, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) has established and enforced policies regulating student participation in high school athletics for school districts around the state. (more…)

FDA authorizes use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12-15

The federal Food and Drug Administration yesterday (5/10) granted Pfizer’s request to authorize the use of its COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15. This follows the FDA’s action earlier this year approving emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents ages 16-17. Thus far, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine to have been approved for those under age 18.

The new emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine opens the possibility of vaccinations to millions of children nationwide, including roughly 300,000 in Wisconsin. Infectious disease experts believe vaccination is an important step for increasing immunity in the population and preventing new variants from gaining a bigger foothold. (more…)

New Secret Service report on school shootings; Experts advise vigilance as schools reopen

New Secret Service report on school shootings; Experts advise vigilance as schools reopen

From NSBA National Connection:

ABC News (3/30) reports a study released Tuesday by the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center suggests “targeted violence against schools is preventable, if the warning signs are identified.” The report “studied 67 thwarted school violence plots and 100 plotters to come up with a framework to further prevent school attacks.” The agency determined there were “several consistent factors in attacks that were prevented and attacks that happened, such as a history of discipline or law enforcement interaction, if the plotter had experienced bullying or had underlying mental health issues, intended to commit suicide or had been impacted by childhood conditions.” The Secret Service also “found that 45% of the attacks planned, but not carried out, were based on a grievance with a classmate,” and that “15% of potential attackers wanted to kill.” (more…)

U.S. Education Dept. announces official American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding allocations

Today (3/17) the U.S. Department of Education announced funding allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) for all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

The announcement includes a table outlining the individual funding amounts that will be distributed to each state.

These allocations are from the $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding 


WASB supports inclusion of all K-12 educators in Phase 1B vaccine distribution

This afternoon (1/18) the WASB submitted written comments via email to the Department of Health Services and its State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee’s Vaccine Subcommittee regarding its draft Phase 1B vaccine distribution recommendations.

The email read:

“The Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) is a voluntary membership association representing all 421 of Wisconsin’s locally elected public school boards, including roughly 2,800 school board members, serving in Wisconsin’s largest communities to its smallest communities.

“WASB members are deeply concerned about disruption of student learning and school activities that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our public schools provide essential services to our communities and to nearly 840,000 students. These schools provide safe places for students to learn. They feed and nurture students. They relieve parents of caretaking responsibilities during the workday. And, most importantly, these schools teach our students valuable lessons. 

“From a learning standpoint, we know that in-person instruction is more effective than remote learning, and more equitable, too.  However, the matter of how to provide in-person instruction safely—in a manner that protects the health of all students, staff, parents and community members—is also of vital concern.  Prioritizing the vaccination of our educators and those school personnel who are essential to the delivery of educational services is a key to ensuring the continuity of in-person instruction. (more…)

Bipartisan group unveils two-part $908 billion federal COVID relief package

With Congress facing a time crunch to approve both a federal budget deal and more federal COVID relief aid, a bipartisan group of lawmakers today (12/14) unveiled a two-part $908 billion COVID-19 relief package.

The first part would provide $748 billion to fund another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) assistance for small businesses; an extension of unemployment benefits; and more money for schools, COVID testing, vaccine distribution and other widely agreed-upon items. 

The proposal is said to include $82 billion for education, an amount which includes $54 billion both K-12 education and $20 billion for colleges and universities. In addition, $7.5 billion is included for a Governor’s Fund.  Provisions earmarking some of this funding for private and parochial schools are also included in the bipartisan package, although details were not available at the time this post was written.