Contact(s): Heather DuBois Bourenane, Executive Director, Wisconsin Public Education Network
(608) 572-1696


Dennis R. McBride, Support Our Schools (SOS) Wauwatosa
(414) 391-1140

Sun Prairie, Wisconsin – With the state budget still stalled, organizers have added a special session to their annual event on August 9, 2017 in Lake Mills: Public Matters: A Conversation with Representatives Joel Kitchens and Chris Taylor, moderated by Alan Borsuk.

While public (and political) support for public schools remains high in Wisconsin, partisan divides seem wider than ever. Marquette University Law School’s Alan Borsuk sits down with Wisconsin State Assembly Representatives Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Chris Taylor(D-Madison) to find out what’s really going on at the Capitol, and where we might find some common ground.

Building on a “Go Public!” theme that encourages participants to share their stories and experiences with public schools, the Summit will open with a welcome from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Tony Evers, and close with the Wisconsin premiere of the new documentary, Backpack Full of Cash, narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Matt Damon.

The film will be followed by a conversation with its director/producer Sarah Mondale and producer/editor Vera Aronow.

This new documentary examines the spread of market-based education initiatives and how they affect America’s most vulnerable children. To understand the impact of privately-run charter schools, student testing and vouchers, Mondale and Aronow interviewed school principals, policy analysts, funding activists, students and teachers across the ideological spectrum. The documentary focuses on Philadelphia, New Orleans and Nashville, cities at the center of the battle over school privatization.

The event also features two dozen breakout sessions on a wide range of topics, led by advocates, experts, board members, administrators, and educators. Intended to inform and inspire, these sessions provide background and context for understanding the challenges facing Wisconsin public schools, and action steps for those who wish to get involved to support local students.

WPEN connects education advocates and professionals to information, actions and each other.  It is the hub for positive efforts to support Wisconsin’s excellent public schools, organize education advocacy and inform state residents about education issues that matter locally. Its members include parents, students, educators, administrators, school board members, grassroots organizers and advocates of all types.

WPEN held its previous Summits in Middleton in 2015 and Wauwatosa in 2016.  This year’s Summit is hosted by Citizen Advocates for Public Education (CAPE), a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that advocates for public schools in Lake Mills and throughout Wisconsin.  Its members are taxpayers, parents and students in the Lake Mills School District.

More than 300 parents, educators, elected officials and other advocates from across Wisconsin are expected to attend WPEN’s third annual Summer Summit. Tickets and the full agenda are available at Registration for the conference is required, but the screening of BACPACK FULL OF CASH from 3:00-5:00 pm is free and open to all.

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