School board race heated already

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jjoyce
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby jjoyce » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:16 pm

Hank, the point I'm trying to make, and the problem with a lot of Democrats these days, is that while they want to have philosophical discussions about the future of education policy, a growing number of kids is getting screwed. Education needs to be better and a lot of parents are sick of waiting.

Remember when every Democrat in the state talked about reforming the school funding formula? And remember when Democrats controlled both houses of the legislature and Jim Doyle was governor and none of them did a thing about the school funding formula? I do.

I think that if your big thing is church/state, which is an important issue to be sure, you're not really hearing the complaints of parents who send their kids to crappy schools every day and didn't have their problems addressed by the defenders of the church/state separation.

Donald
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Donald » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:31 pm

Manski's response was unprofessional, and almost disqualifies her from my consideration. Let's hope she's big enough to apologize. Mertz' criticism is valid, and her immediate response was off-the-wall nutty. I voted for her, but I'd hate to think she would comport herself like that with parents or others who come to the board with concerns. You can't behave like that and expect anyone to take you seriously.

People have been talking about the deterioration of the Madison schools for the last 12 years. It's partly a funding issue, partly a curriculum issue and partly a governance issue. One thing we don't need is money leaking away to privatized education.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby jjoyce » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:01 pm

Donald wrote:One thing we don't need is money leaking away to privatized education.


I completely agree. Completely.

But the public's trust in school districts is eroding (has eroded) at the same time that the so-called, self-titled defenders of public education have been getting trounced at the polls. Who is being honest about this? I mean, it's not like the Republican's so-called solutions represent what parents want, either. It's completely out of touch to suggest that most people WANT to move their kids out of neighborhood public schools and into private schools. They demand vouchers when they feel they're out of options.

When will someone work to gain the public's confidence? I mean, if Tony Evers can't beat Don Pridemore, then it starts to look like it's not just the battle that's been lost, but the war.

The Republicans want to make this about the teachers union and they've been largely successful. The teachers union, in my humble opinion, hasn't been doing a very effective job of representing the actual teachers ("We proudly endorse Kathleen Falk for governor!"). And Democrats, in their zeal to get union money, hasn't been doing a great job of responding to parents.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Meade » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:07 pm

Neither one really got an enthusiastic plurality of votes. I'll bet if Mirilli had gotten through, she would not now be calling her opponent a liar and/or a political opportunist. I can't tell who is worse - Manski or Mertz.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby SlayerDave » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:47 pm

What a depressing race.

david cohen
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby david cohen » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:15 pm

Perhaps you folks need to attend one of the many candidate forums and see/hear the candidates for yourselves. There is always some upside, some new ideas, some passion, and some horror to be found at these forums.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby doppel » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:28 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Does it bother you that taxpayer money will be spent for sectarian religious instruction?

Henry Vilas wrote:A TV commercial is being run locally advertising a gun show at the Marriott in Middleton. The ad stresses hunting but I wonder if assault-style firearms, which are inappropriate for any typle of hunting, will be for sale. After all, it might be the last chance to avoid a background check in order to secure one of those people killers.


Henry channels Eddie Ben once again:

Henry Vilas wrote:"Only obey good laws."
Eddie Ben Elson


1st amendment good...2nd amendment bad.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby pjbogart » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:34 pm

doppel wrote:1st amendment good...2nd amendment bad.


I think it's pretty much been pointed out ad nauseum that the bulk of us do not agree that the Second Amendment protects your right to own whatever weapon of mass destruction tickles your fancy.

I respect the Second Amendment, I just think your interpretation of it is horseshit.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby snoqueen » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:23 am

Public schools are underfunded not at the Madison level but at the state level. It's a statewide problem and has to be addressed at a statewide level. For that reason, our local school board members are pretty much treading water. That's exactly the kind of situation that leads to infighting, blame-casting, and lots of other non-productive activity which is what you're seeing now.

We're a comparatively wealthy district and are taxed accordingly (which is only right) but we also have one of the state's more complicated and diverse student demographics (not a bad thing) and we have parents with high expectations (not bad either). We just can't give everybody what they want with what we have, and the frustrations and incivility are a result.

I agree with what Donald said about Manski. The school board race is not a "fight," and she's foolish to make it into one. It is -- or ought to be -- about comparing the candidates' personalities, proposals, and perspectives. I voted for her too, and I think I'll change my vote to Mertz in the general. It was a tossup to begin with and she just pushed me over the line.

If you want to say being combative is part of being pro-union, I don't care. That's not what I'm looking at here. I'm looking for knowledgeability and a willingness to work well with the rest of the board members on behalf of the parents and the students, and being combative doesn't square well with that.

If I had a magic-bullet solution it would be more well-qualified teachers. Classrooms of fifteen do better in almost every study than larger ones. Is that about to happen? Nope.

I'd like to hear what Donald means when he says it's partly a curriculum issue. I think I agree but first I need to know more about what I'm agreeing with. i would also like to know how much of our curriculum issues are the product of various state and federal requirements that don't fit our local situation and/or don't do what they purport to. Tighter regulation might be needed at the SEC, where the actors have a interest in circumventing anything you can write, but it doesn't seem to help the Madison school district a whole lot. Here we've actually got an interest in helping the students, which benefits everybody not just a bunch of hedge fund traders.

While we can be frustrated at both Republicans and Democrats about school funding and support, it's no solution to stamp out of the room and refuse to engage in the entire process. That just looks silly.

I don't think anybody's really upset about vouchers to send kids to Catholic schools. The Catholic schools can't take many more kids, but they are run by local parishes and nuns with good intentions and without a profit motive. It's not foremost a constitutional issue but a quality one. We're upset about a bunch of profit-motive business types setting up private schools to make money for themselves by providing services that work poorly and exploit public funding the same way the University of Phoenix does with adult students. Why anybody thinks replacing so-called overpaid teachers with overpaid executives is an improvement beats me. And that's exactly what we'll get if we don't guard against it at every turn.

Let's frame the issue in terms of educational quality not box ourselves into a corner by focusing on it as a church-state conflict. That aspect is present but is a minor player.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Michael Patrick » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:28 am

snoqueen wrote: I don't think anybody's really upset about vouchers to send kids to Catholic schools. The Catholic schools can't take many more kids, but they are run by local parishes and nuns with good intentions and without a profit motive.


The problem is that current Catholic school students can wind up with vouchers. So you get less money going to the already underfunded public schools to pay for what is essentially the status quo.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Meade » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:49 am

snoqueen wrote:It's not foremost a constitutional issue but a quality one. We're upset about a bunch of profit-motive business types setting up private schools to make money for themselves by providing services that work poorly and exploit public funding the same way the University of Phoenix does with adult students.

But enough about the teachers' unions. School choice is coming to Madison. Choice is good.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Westsidegal » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:56 am

It is always hilarious to see Madison get worked up over an election that pits two white candidates against each other that barely have two shades of difference.

But in the other school board race between two progressives, Wayne Strong and Dean Loumos, expect it to be completely ignored by progressive white Madison. Even though Strong (who is African American) has demonstrated in forum after forum that he is the more thoughtful progressive candidate. But his opponent is tightly tied into the white progressive power structure including MTI that choke decision making in Madison, making sure there is the least amount of diversity of decision makers possible.

Madison and its public schools will suffer for not bringing in a wider, more diverse group of decision makers. Mark my words.
Last edited by Westsidegal on Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gargantua
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Re: School board race heated already

Postby gargantua » Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:18 am

OK, I'll mark them. Seriously. I would like to point out that Strong hasn't lost yet. It sounds like you are expecting him to.

While I largely agree with your observations about the gatekeepers, I wonder if it's different in most other places or if Madison happens to be unique in this regard.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:19 pm

jjoyce wrote:Hank, the point I'm trying to make, and the problem with a lot of Democrats these days, is that while they want to have philosophical discussions about the future of education policy, a growing number of kids is getting screwed. Education needs to be better and a lot of parents are sick of waiting.

If you want to ignore constitutional questions concerning public monies for religious education then lets look at practical considerations. Should Madison, which has a couple schools getting a D on their state report card, be open for vouchers for all students within the district? Would that improve educational outcomes? What schools would they attend instead?

Tuition at Edgewood High School is approximately the same as for an in-state undergrad at UW. Vouchers would not cover that cost. As far as elementary schools, private ones also charge high tuition. As Donald said, those presently attending those non-public schools would take the voucher money to ease the tuition burden they already bear.

Even Kaleem Caire says he opposes the voucher plan, as it would do little to help him establish his ideal charter school. All Walker's plan will accomplish is to take away public money from school districts that are already underfunded.

Students living in proverty tend to be the ones that do poorly on state mandated acheivement test. Vouchers aren't going to do much to help them.
Last edited by Henry Vilas on Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: School board race heated already

Postby mifflander » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:47 pm

jjoyce wrote: Would you put up with a crappy classroom just because you didn't want your kid to take a half-hour of Bible study each day?


Do you really think spending 35+ hours a week in a Christian school only gets you half an hour a day of Jeebus talk? There are whole lot of teachers in parochial schools who love to infuse every class with their "Christian" values.

You think these religious teachers (many who consider what they do a vocation not just a job) just flip a switch when it's time to study science or current events? Do you think parents who are non-believers, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu etc. wouldn't have a problem with an hour minimum of bible study (no religious school would ever have just half and hour a day of religious indoctrination) imposed on their children?

Fine, let the religious schools accept tax funded school vouchers. Just start taxing the damn churches then.


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