Mar 11, 201611:02 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Madison’s trickle-down theory of education
(page 1 of 2)
I’m going to be sick.
“John Matthews is a champion of public education and Wisconsin”? So says the Corporation that Speaks in the Progressive Voice.
No one fawns better than this in-kind contributor to left-wing candidates (and enjoys exemption from all campaign finance reporting laws).
Do you remember Matthews raising a hoo-ha over the racial educational gap in Madison schools? Neither does anyone here at the Policy Werkes. (That would be Kaleem Caire.) Did John Matthews speak up in favor or opposition to Common Core educational standards? No, he did not. Start up a public charter school aimed at improving minority achievement? Fought it tooth and nail. Did he require all high school students take the ACT college test? That’s a negative, little buddy. Pay teachers on merit? Nope. Fought that, too.
The publication that denounces “cronyism” always gave Matthews a pass for his sweetheart deal with a private health insurance provider on whose board of directors he served (and was handsomely compensated).
“No one fought harder for public education than Matthews,” the CT avers. Let’s parse that claim. He and his Madison Teachers Inc. always fought for more teacher pay and more fringe benefits. That was his job, pure and simple — and he was good at it. More than once Matthews himself eschewed any other responsibility. Let’s call this the trickle-down theory of educational excellence. Feed the teachers and their students will reap the crumbs.
Now, for what The Capital Times does not claim. His teachers union never fought for better education. The claim specifies “public education.” That means the government monopoly, union-controlled K-12 system. No competition in the marketplace. Sure, you can send your child to a private school and pay the tuition — as long as you continue to pay the monopoly. What a business model!
You want local control? The ultimate local control pushes decision-making down to the family kitchen table. The Republican state government gave the UW System authority to create charter schools that are independent of the school district. This is something that the Madison School District asked for, however unknowingly, when it denied Madison Urban League’s proposed Madison Prep charter school.
Under this UW aegis, the state per-pupil stipend follows the student to the independent charter school.
One bright spot: Madison schools Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham appears to get it. “My intent is to make [the independent charters] obsolete — that our schools will be serving students so well that there isn’t a need.” (Quoted here.)
That is the value of competition, my socialist acquaintances. Still time, Jennifer, to work up an in-district Madison Prep. Act 10 frees you from making that charter school subject to union work rules.