West Bend Education Associationest.1930

In Spring 2010, the WBEA funded the advertisement above along Hwy 41 / 45.


The West Bend Education Association, est. 1930,
or WBEA represents the Teachers 

and their Professional Rights and Responsibilities
who work for the West Bend School District of West Bend, Wisconsin.

We are You.


Attention Teachers in the

West Bend School District! 
It's Time to Vote for the
Please Support Your Colleagues by voting 
to re-certify the WBEA.

Voting Begins:  
Noon on Thursday, October 27, 2016 

And Voting Ends:  
Noon on Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Don't wait until the last minute to vote - 
Vote NOW to recertify the WBEA! 
The recertification vote is conducted via telephone or online voting. Please follow these steps to cast your anonymous ballot to show your support for having an independent voice with our employer: 
Voters who choose to vote online 
1. Log on to  http://www.aaaelections.org/WERC and follow the on-screen instructions for online voting.  
2. Make sure you VOTE YES for recertification and submit your vote.  Then CONFIRM your vote by selecting "yes"again.  
 3. Wait until you are informed that your vote has been successfully processed before leaving the site.
Voters who choose to vote by Phone 

1.  Dial:  1-866-458-9862 (toll free) anytime;
2. When prompted, confirm your identity by entering the first 4 letters of your LAST NAME, then the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number.  
3. You will then be asked "Do you want to continue to be represented by the WBEA for the purpose of collective bargaining?"
4. When prompted, VOTE YES to recertify your union; after voting, STAY ON THE LINE. Do not hang up until you receive a "thank you"message. Otherwise your vote is simply not counted and therefore you will need to go back and vote again.   The same is true for interrupted calls - you must repeat your call and vote again to be counted.  
Additional Information:

Your vote is secret;

All employees in a bargaining unit vote, not just union members;

The union needs to win 51% of all unit employees to recertify, which means that not voting is the same as voting no.  Your colleagues need your support, so please vote YES.

 Employees experiencing trouble using the telephonic or online voting system, can call 1-800-529-5218 during the hours of 10 am to 6 pm Monday-Friday.

If you have problems casting your vote, report the problem as instructed and report it to our UniServ Director Steven Cupery at (262) 853-5142 orCuperyS@weac.org.

When you vote YES to recertify the WBEA, you are sending a message that you and your colleagues stand together in addressing important issues such as
reasonable workloads, fair compensation, and meaningful testing.   When you vote YES to recertify the WBEA, you allow our association to continue to address these important concerns.
Please take a few moments to vote YES in this important election.  Thank you! 
Tanya Lohr, President 
West Bend Education Association 

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Teachers union presence
* significantly decreases high-school dropout rates
* lowers teacher attrition / turnover
* leads to more highly qualified teachers 
Note: The new laws restricting bargaining rights in those [Wisconsin] reduced teacher salaries by about 9 percent.
Strauss, Valerie.  
Think teachers can’t be fired because of unions? Surprising results from new study.   7.21.2016.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/


​​The WBEA’s  Response to Statements by West Bend School District’s Chief Academic Officer, Jeanne-marie Ciriacks, and Director of Accountability and Assessment, Kurt Becker, on the Galileo Testing System

Statements made in the West Bend Daily News article “Test Creates Controversy” are found in italics followed by the WBEA’s response in regular type. 

They (Ms. Ciriacks and Mr. Becker) said questions in the test bank were written by people with the experience and expertise necessary to write them.

 First, many of the questions in the test bank were entered by teachers in unknown districts that are also using Galileo, making it difficult to discern whether or not a particular question was written by someone with experience and expertise.

Second, Mr. Becker told teachers who were entering their own questions into Galileo that they should be careful when entering their questions because ATI (the company which developed Galileo) would not be reviewing them for quality.   

Becker said, “In other subjects, there are fewer questions available in the test bank so our teachers have the option to write their own if they didn’t like them.”

It is very concerning that the district is paying Galileo to test our students using questions West Bend teachers have already developed and can give to our students for free.  

They (Ms. Ciriacks and Mr. Becker) also claimed teachers know state standards and should have plans to reflect those standards.

The issue isn’t whether or not teachers are teaching to the standards, but rather, whether or not Galileo can accurately measure whether students have learned the standards being taught in each class.

For instance, one of the Wisconsin State Social Studies standards is “Describe the relationships between and among significant events, such as the causes and consequences of wars in United States and world history.”  A teacher in U.S. History 1 may very well be teaching to that standard, but the question selected by Galileo could be, “Which of the following was a factor which led to World War II?,” a topic that will not be covered until U.S. History 2.   If a student got this question wrong, would it be a true indication of whether or not the standard is being taught? 

They (Ms. Ciriacks and Mr. Becker) have procedures, schedules and instructions outlined made available to principals and teachers.

It is true that procedures, schedules, and instructions have been sent to teachers throughout the last several months.  The problem is that these procedures, schedules, and instructions are constantly changing, making it difficult for teachers to prepare students for Galileo testing. 

“If anyone had any concerns, they were free to come and talk to me about them,” Becker said.  “If there were, I worked with teachers on them.”

Several teachers reported to the WBEA that their questions to Mr. Becker often went unanswered for several weeks at a time, and in a few instances, not answered at all.  

​​The following statement in italics came from an email sent by Chief Academic Officer Jeanne-marie Ciriacks to parents on Friday, January 8th.  The WBEA’s response follows in regular type. 

“This instructional improvement system costs $8 per student per year and reduces the overall budget for district assessments by $62,000 annually.”

It is our understanding that $8 per student per year (which is approximately $56,000/year) is just one part of the cost of using Galileo.  We have been told there is an initial cost of purchasing the system.  Money was also spent bringing staff in during the summer to learn how to operate the system and enter questions into the test bank.  We are unsure if the cost of flying in trainers from Arizona and putting them up in hotels is part of the initial start-up cost, or is paid separately by the district.  There is also the cost of hiring an administrator to oversee the Galileo testing program in the district.   It would be interesting to see the total cost of using this system.  ​​


The WBEA’s Response to President Marquardt’s Statements on Executive Board Member Tanya Lohr’s Paid Administrative Leave

The West Bend Educators Association has the following response to recent statements made by West Bend School Board President Randy Marquardt in the Washington County Insider article "WB School Board President Talks About Galileo Testing".  

President Marquardt:  “The board sets standards and curriculum and a teacher is hired to teach that standard and curriculum for a certain class.”
And In response to the statement that teachers in the West Bend School District have expressed concern the Galileo system does not align with the curriculum. “If that’s the case then they’re not using it correctly.”

The problem with the “just teach to the standards” argument is that the standards are so general, you can pick one you cover in your class, and the question selected by Galileo might not actually apply to that class.  For instance, U.S. History I may be assigned the standard “Students will understand the factors that lead to war” and the question selected by Galileo could be “Which of the following was a factor which lead to World War II”, a topic that will not be covered until the second semester of U.S. History II.  Would it be fair to grade a student in U.S. History I based on this question and would doing so accurately reflect the quality of instruction occurring in that classroom?

Another problem that developed is that the standards do not reflect the level of the course.  At the high school, courses are typically offered at three levels. For instance, there is a Core Biology, a Biology, and an Honors Biology.  All 3 teach to the same standards, but the curriculum is altered to meet the level of the students.  However, Galileo in limited in its ability to differentiate for these three levels.   So the same standards are being taught at all three levels, but the questions selected by Galileo may be more appropriate for the Honors level, or the Core level curriculum.  Students doing poorly on a question may not be because the standard wasn’t taught, but rather because the standard was taught at a different level than the question asked.  This is another reason why teachers were concerned about the use of Galileo for assigning student grades and determining staff compensations. 

President Marquardt: “It’s my understanding there’s a world of questions out there that they can select from.  They can write their own and submit them and have them looked at by others and make sure it’s aligned and on point; this isn’t something we dreamed up, it’s a product that’s out on the marketplace.”

Teachers were also told there would be “a world of questions” to select from, but once we got into the system, this turned out not to be the case.  That is why so many subjects ended up typing their own questions into the system. 

It is also important to note that there is a difference between “a world of questions” and “a world of quality questions”.  Many teachers found the questions that were available to be poorly worded, grammatically incorrect, and in some cases, to have the wrong answer selected within the program.   There were also instances where the standard selected for testing did not match up with the question selected by Galileo.  For example, a standard for identifying theme in a piece of literature may have been selected, but the question given by Galileo actually asked about setting or word choice. 

President Marquardt: In response to the statement that The West Bend School District adopted the Galileo testing system two years ago. “I know the system is used across the country but I can’t tell you how many districts have it.”

First, we have not been able to find any districts in the state of Wisconsin who use the Galileo testing system.  We asked every time a trainer flew in from Arizona where else Galileo was used, and every state that was named was south of the Mason-Dixon line.  The program itself was designed in Arizona, which one trainer said, was still their primary focus. 

Second, Galileo may have been purchased by the district two years ago, but it was first introduced to teachers last May, which is also when teachers began voicing their concerns with it.  This year is the first year it’s being implemented, and the implementation has not gone smoothly.  Galileo is both costly, and time consuming, and it has not delivered what teachers were promised late last spring.

President Marquardt: “If this is a case of someone not doing their job then there are only two choices, they either improve and start performing the duties they were hired to do or they can quit or be fired,”

First, Ms. Lohr was not placed on leave because she was not doing her job.  She was placed on leave because of a conversation she had with Principal Bill Greymont about staff concerns over Galileo testing.  There is a significant difference between the two.    
Second, the WBEA is unaware of any teacher in the district refusing to give the Galileo tests.  In fact, the request on our petition outlining teacher concerns was “In light of the quantity and severity of problems that have surfaced since the introduction of Galileo, we ask that it not be used for student grades, or as part of staff assessment.”   
The WBEA believes it is important for the community to have accurate information pertaining to this situation.   Please feel free to contact us with questions. 


The WBEA sent out the following message to members on January 4th: 

​Dear Members,
The WBEA is informing you of a situation involving Executive Board member Tanya Lohr. 

Tanya Lohr has been placed on paid administrative leave.  It is important to note that paid administrative leave is not discipline.   The WBEA is very concerned about the district’s choice to take an experienced, high quality educator out of her classroom, especially the week prior to final exams.  Educators know the importance of teachers being with their students during this critical time. 

Tanya’s administrative leave came after she spoke with Principal Bill Greymont about staff concerns regarding a threatening statement made by an Assistant Principal, and the chilling effect this statement had on the circulation of a petition outlining staff concerns with the Galileo testing system.  Tanya spoke to Principal Greymont in her role as a union representative. 

In these discussions, the WBEA felt they had reached an agreement with Principal Greymont wherein he would send out an email informing employees they were free to sign the petition without fear of retribution.  Instead, an email was sent out that many employees, including union officers, believed was designed to further discourage them from signing the petition and raising their concerns.  When Tanya met with Principal Greymont about his email, she was also threatened with retaliation. 

These actions on the part of the employer have led to an immediate investigation by the WBEA, Region 7, and WEAC legal as they raise serious questions about the legality of the employer’s actions.   

It is also important to note that there is legal protection for employees acting together for the purpose of mutual aid and protection to raise concerns about their working conditions, which is why it is important to raise our concerns collectively rather than on an individual basis. 

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.  Thank you! 


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