UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Kimberley Reilly (DJS, History, Women’s and Gender Studies) has published a book, The Politics of Prosperity: Mass Consumer Culture in the 1920s, with Oxford University Press. The book is part of the “Debating American History” series, edited by David J. Voelker (UW-Green Bay) and Joel M. Sipress (UW-Superior), which allows students to consider competing interpretations of the past using primary source evidence. Reilly’s book helps students to debate the question, “did mass consumer culture empower Americans in the 1920s?”
When Chicago educators hit the pavement last month with picket signs demanding police-free campuses, they challenged a security strategy that teachers unions have long embraced — and one that continues to divide school staff nationwide.
“It’s not a coincidence” that teachers unions are calling for police-free schools in cities like Denver and Los Angeles, where raucous educator caucuses committed to social movements and anti-racism platforms have gained significant influence, said Jon Shelton, an associate professor (Democracy and Justice Studies) at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. “They’re more militant; they’re willing to galvanize their members and go on strike,” such as in the recent “Red for Ed” protests demanding more money for schools. “And these unions have largely been winning,” he added.
As the start of the school year approaches—and the pandemic rages on—many teachers are reaching a breaking point. They’re scared to go back inside school buildings. They’re frustrated with state guidance, which they feel leaves more questions than answers. And they feel like their voices are not being heard in the push to reopen schools.Over the past couple years, teachers have organized strikes and walkouts in more than a half-dozen states and at least five big cities to fight for higher wages and more school funding. Even so, any labor action on a national scale would be “wholly unprecedented,” said Jon Shelton, an associate professor in the department of Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who studies teacher strikes.
In most of the country, teacher strikes are illegal. And even in the 15 states where strikes are legal or not covered by statute or case law, teachers still have to follow a process before they go to the picket lines. Strikes are typically the last resort in a contract negotiation process between the local teachers’ union and the district, after negotiations and mediation fail.
“There’s virtually no state where there’s just an unqualified right to strike,” Shelton said.
Associate Prof. Jon Shelton (Democracy and Justice Studies) and vice president for higher education with the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin labor union gave input on Tommy Thompson’s start as the UW Systems Interim President.
He said while he doesn’t agree with some of the policy platforms Thompson championed during his four terms as governor from 1987 to 2001, he feels that Thompson knows the importance of funding the UW System and ensuring it serves the state.
Shelton also said it’s possible that Thompson’s connections at the federal level could help in securing federal aid for universities suffering heavy financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shelton welcomed Thompson’s inclusive approach, which he said was lacking during the past decade when the UW Board of Regents was dominated by appointees of former Gov. Scott Walker.
“A lot of faculty and staff have felt like they haven’t had people at the system level really listening to their concerns,” Shelton said. “So I think this is a really good step in the right direction.”
Lawmakers, regents, chancellors, staff and faculty all largely praised former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s appointment to serve as interim UW System President.
University insiders say the unanimous Board of Regents pick of June 19 means there will be a passionate advocate for the system through tumultuous budget constraints brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a pretty bold move,” said Jon Shelton, UW-Green Bay faculty representative and American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin vice president. “The system could’ve tried to go with somebody internal, but I think this indicates they’re looking to bring in some firepower to advocate for the system right now.”
UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Jon Shelton (Democracy and Justice Studies) was quoted several times in the Green Bay Press-Gazette story about Black Lives Matter march a week ago. The context for his connection was an article he and several students co-wrote for Voyageur magazine about the history of open housing in Green Bay.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents appointed former Gov. Tommy Thompson as the interim system president, following the collapse of a months-long search for a new leader of one of the country’s largest public university systems.
Jon Shelton, an associate professor at UW-Green Bay and vice president for higher education at the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin, said the faculty members he heard from were cautiously optimistic.
“As an interim appointment at a time with a very difficult future (for the system), the real positive is that he is one of the few people in the state who has the ability in this position to effectively advocate for funding for the UW System,” Shelton said.
He was also quoted in a number of other stories about the UW System president search:
Prof. Katia Levintova (Democracy and Justice Studies and Global Studies) and Prof. David Coury (Humanities and Global Studies) have published the jointly authored article “Poland, Germany and the EU: Reimagining Central Europe” in the journal Europe-Asia Studies. The article was based on a collaborative research projecting examing the use of the terms “Central” or “Middle” Europe in the Polish and German press and how that region is understood today.
UW-Green Bay students have been playing key roles in many protests across the city of Green Bay, calling for change amid the Black Lives Matter movement. Zoe Betancourt (Democracy and Justice Studies), Hannah Beauchamp-Pope, Sierra Slaughter and Jordyn Cook (Human Biology) are inspiring examples of UW-Green Bay students dedicated to bettering their community. See this selection from the Green Bay Press-Gazette story…
Betancourt was one of the students who helped organize a protest. She wants to work in public policy and has a specific passion for health care, education policy and civil rights. She is involved on the UW-Green Bay campus and participated in the Jump Start Program, a mentorship program from MESA for first-year multicultural students to get acclimated to a UW-Green Bay.
Betancourt is excited to see non-black people attending these protests and their understanding of injustices in society, but also wonders why this realization took so long for some.
“I’m grateful, no doubt, people are finally coming to this realization, but in the back of my mind I’m just wondering what changed,” Betancourt said. “These things have been happening for years. So what was the tipping point?”
Hannah Beauchamp-Pope and Sierra Slaughter
Both aspiring lawyers, Beauchamp-Pope and Slaughter have been attending many protests lately and speaking to crowds.
Both are hoping their contributions will have a large impact, especially in reflection of the history their black family members have partook in contributed to.
“My grandfather fought in the Vietnam War. My dad has faced a lot of discrimination here in Wisconsin,” Beauchamp-Pope said. “So when I think about that, when I think about those people, and then I think about the people who will come after me — my daughter, my granddaughters — I don’t want the next generation to keep fighting the same fight my parents fought. That my grandparents fought.”
“My grandpa on my black side protested in the civil rights movement, and I think everything has just changed since then,” Slaughter said. “And hopefully, for us protesting, it can also change even more.”
Cook, a UW-Green Bay women’s soccer player, has been speaking to the crowd at protests. She plans on obtaining a master’s degree in athletic training. She looks at herself as someone with passion for what she believes in.
“I’m part of this movement,” Cook said. “I think I’m doing my part to be a part of this movement. A whole is only good as the sum of its parts.”
She sees the movement as an opportunity for non-black community members to take a stance and encourages everybody to vote, especially in city and state elections that determine how communities are policed.
“And despite — because of my color, you should still love me. We should still be equal, regardless of that. So don’t say, ‘I don’t see color.’ That’s not the point. It is to see it, and love it regardless. To not treat it like less than.”
Prof. Harvey J. Kaye (Democracy and Justice Studies), author of The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great, talked with Bill Moyer about how FDR’s speech was a rallying cry to build the kind of progressive society that Roosevelt hoped for but did not live to see at war’s end. His most recent book is FDR on Democracy: The Greatest Speeches and Writings of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In his conversation with Bill Moyers, Kaye says the president was able to mobilize Americans who created “the strongest and most prosperous country in human history.” How did they do it? By working toward the Four Freedoms and making America “freer, more equal and more democratic.”
He believes Americans have not forgotten the Four Freedoms as goals, but have “forgotten what it takes to realize them, that we must defend, sustain and secure democracy by enhancing it. That’s what Roosevelt knew. That’s what Jefferson knew. And no one seems to remember that today. That’s what we have to remind people of.”