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GOP lawmakers target public schools with “transparency/culture war” legislation

GOP lawmakers target public schools with “transparency/culture war” legislation

A number of legislative proposals have been introduced that target public schools (including independent charter schools) with measures aimed at increasing transparency to parents and the community. It’s possible these bills could have public hearings in the near future and we wanted to make you aware of them. The WASB is concerned with the trend of these types of bills that indicate a lack of trust by lawmakers in locally-elected school board members and local control of K-12 education in general.

The following is a list of bills dealing with school referenda, budget transparency, anti-racism & anti-sexism instruction (critical race theory) and a mandate to post curricular and instructional materials online.  Along with a description of each bill is an excerpt from the bill’s co-sponsorship memo. These memos are written by the bill authors to explain the need for the legislation to their colleagues and request their support. (more…)

CDC updates COVID-19 guidance for schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance for COVID-19 prevention in schools today (7/9).

The updated guidance focuses on helping administrators in K-12 schools, along with state and local health officials, safely support in-person learning as well as sports and other extracurricular activities. The updates are based on the latest science and emphasize the COVID-19 prevention strategies most important for K-12 schools to support in-person learning. 


Emergency Connectivity Fund Filing Window Opens

Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the initial filing window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a $7.17 billion federal program that will help schools and libraries provide the technology tools and services their students and communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period.  

From June 29, 2021 to August 13, 2021 eligible schools and libraries can apply for financial support to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons. 


Emergency Connectivity Fund Program funding window to open soon, training available

As we reported in an earlier post, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) enacted by Congress in March 2021 provides $7.1 billion for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create an Emergency Connectivity Fund Program to help schools and libraries purchase eligible laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connectivity for students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack connected devices and/or broadband connections sufficient to fully engage in remote learning. (more…)

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…)