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October 3, 2016

Dear Rep. Stuck,

My name is Kam Simonis. I am a certified German teacher and currently the Library Media Specialist at
Wilson and Einstein Middle Schools in Appleton, WI. Im also working towards my professional 902
license as a Librarian and my MAE in Educational Technology. I am writing to you today, because I am
very concerned how the budget cuts in education are impacting our students education and future. Our
students need to have the necessary skills to work in an interconnected, competitive, digital world and the
personnel trained to teach these skills are being eliminated.

In 2015-16 the Appleton Area School District conducted a Bright Bytes survey on skills necessary for 21 st
Century students. At Einstein Middle School 436 students and 33 educators participated. The survey
included students digital citizenship knowledge, for example, responsible behavior when using
technology, legal use of content, establishing a presence online, online safety and cyberbullying
prevention. The results of this survey were jaw dropping.

Fifteen percent of students said that these skills were taught on a monthly basis.
Only 17% of teachers felt highly knowledgeable teaching these important skills.
83% of teachers spend less than 3 hours per year teaching digital citizenship with their students.

The survey results concluded that 83% of teachers at Einstein Middle School do not feel knowledgeable
enough teaching these important skills. The solution is within their building. Librarians not only provide
resources through Common School Funds, but also teach how to use information ethically, how to use
technology appropriately, how to behave in online environments, how to be safe and deal with
cyberbullying. This is our area of expertise. But due to state budget cuts, administration has reduced these
positions to 50% at the elementary and middle school levels in my school district, where these skills are
introduced and built upon in the curriculum year after year.

I am very concerned that the budget decisions being made in Madison not only affect my students lives,
but also their futures. The next time you convene with the Committee on Jobs and the Economy, please
consider the impact that budget cuts for public education have on todays students. We live in an
interconnected, digital world and we need to prepare our students with the necessary skills to be
responsible productive citizens. Without these skills, Wisconsins future work force will not be capable to
handle the demands of the 21st Century careers and our state will suffer economically.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Kam M. Simonis
Kam M. Simonis