MADISON, Wis. — Teachers, administrators and students from across the Badger State came together for a “Unity in the Community” rally Monday night in an effort to push people toward the polls to bring change to Wisconsin’s education system.
Monday night’s rally at the Capitol focused on fairly-funded public education, as attendees stressed how critical it is for voters to continue electing politicians that support positive futures for Wisconsin students.
“Public education is a source of solutions to problems, it’s an energy for an opportunity, it’s essential for the future of Wisconsin’s kids, and it’s a cornerstone for all Wisconsin communities,” said Downtown Madison, Inc. President Jason Ilstrup.
Part of the rally included speakers, ranging from administrators and educators to students from across the state. One of the biggest concerns expressed during the rally is a lack of increased education funding from the state legislature.
“If we simply maintained the 1993 level of public funding and did nothing else, we’d have another $30 billion in our schools and our state’s economic prosperity,” Ilstrup said.
Across Wisconsin, the highest number of school referenda since 2001 has taken place, with 166 already this year, including the 81 referenda on the upcoming November ballot. With funding falling on the shoulders of taxpayers, activists said this midterm election is critical for the future of Wisconsin students.
“If things keep going the way they are, research tells us that Wisconsin will be short 130,000 people for available jobs by 2030 just eight years from now,” said Kaelee Heideman from the Oshkosh Area School District. “We can prevent this problem from getting bigger if we call on our business leaders and political leaders to invest in public K-12 education.”
Rally attendees spent the evening urging action while also offering hope to supporters that it’s not too late for them to make a difference.
“We can’t undo the past, but we can change the narrative of why we’re here today and we can start a new conversation about what’s happening here in the state of Wisconsin,” Ilstrup said.