S.O.S. Wauwatosa proudly co-hosted the second annual Wisconsin Public Education Network Summer Summit, which was held at Wauwatosa East High School on August 23. Attendance more than doubled from last year’s Summit, with over 350 registrants. Attendees included active parent advocates, school board members, educators, superintendents, and elected officials from every corner of the state.

In the morning, Dr. Phil Ertl and Tosa’s high school principals, Mr. Nick Hughes and Mr. Frank Calarco led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a welcome from Dr. Tony Evers, Wisconsin’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. There were a dozen breakout sessions from which participants could choose. They included education funding & the state budget, public schools and democracy, advocating for equity, teacher morale and shortages, privatization issues, local control, positive messaging, legislation & policy, rural and urban connections, starting a local group, community organizing toolkits, and communications & media.

Tashia and John Morgridge, 1951 graduates of Wauwatosa High School, and 1955 graduates of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, gave a wonderful lunch keynote on “80 Years of Public Education.” Their talk was followed by a bi-partisan panel on education issues with former Republican State Senator Dale Schultz and former Democratic State Senator Tim Cullen, as well as Madeline Power, producer of “Whatever Happened to Wisconsin Nice?, a short film that is part of the PBS series “Postcards from the Great Divide.”

The day was capped off with coalition-building strategy sessions for “Local-Level Action with State-Level Impact” and an afternoon keynote by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II on “Our Moral Moment: Public Education, Civil Rights and Democracy.”

The Wisconsin Public Education Network (WPEN) is a statewide coalition of people and groups who support excellent public schools. It was our honor and pleasure to work with them to make this event a success.