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Jun 5, 201510:25 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

School board member says Madison schools can’t compete

(page 1 of 2)

Poor, aggrieved Madison is under attack. Those nefarious Republicans in the legislature have a “Scheme to Stick Charter Schools in Madison.” In Madison — cosseted, blue-fist-of-anger Madison!

So says Ed Hughes, past president and veteran member of the Madison Metro School Board, who offers a Letterman-like “Top Ten Reasons To Be Wary of the Republican Scheme.”

Ed Hughes

The legislative “scheme” would create an office, under the direction of the UW System president, to evaluate and oversee charter school applications in Madison and Milwaukee. As with vouchers to purely private schools, the state shared revenue follows the student. The public school district saves money because it does not have to educate that student, but it still collects the same property taxes.

I like Ed; I’m not picking on him — I’m arguing the case for reform, for competition, for trusting parents to make the best decisions for their kids.

It is a worthy debate, for there is little doubt that the full school board, its superintendent, its teachers union, the Democratic Party, Mayor Soglin, and probably the majority of Madisonians share Ed’s sentiments. For the festive rest of us, the white lab coats at the Blaska Policy Research Werkes have developed an alternative Top Ten, dedicated to the late Larry “Bud” Melman.

1) Attack the motives of your adversaries. “What’s tougher is buying into [the] interpretation that the Joint Finance Committee Republicans are the good guys here, struggling mightily to do what’s right for our kids,” Ed Hughes says. “My much different interpretation is that the Joint Finance proposal is simply another cynical attack on our neighborhood public schools and is motivated both by animus for Madison and by an unseemly obsession with privatizing public education, particularly in the urban areas of our state.”

Unseemly! Particularly in urban Milwaukee, where the public school district as a whole has received a failing grade from the Department of Public Instruction, and in Madison, with a yawning chasm between black and white student achievement.

2) Nobody asked our permission. Ed complains that nobody consulted MMSD about its “strategies for enhancing student achievement, promising practices, charter school philosophy, or anything else.” Um, sometimes results speak louder than pretty words on paper, Ed.

3) Its a conspiracy! Hughes peddles the conspiracy theory that the sponsors are “taking direction from charter school lobbyists.” Could be, can’t say. But we do know the Doyle administration took direction from the teachers union. As do certain school boards. (Cough, cough.)

4) Conjure hobgoblins greedy profiteers! Like liberal-progressive-socialists everywhere, Hughes frets that for-profit companies will operate some of the new charter schools. We can only hope! If Apple Computers operates schools in Madison they WILL make a profit, because they’ll deliver a great product.

5) Resort to partisanship. Nothing like insulting the party in power AND the UW president. Hughes maligns UW System President Ray Cross, suggesting that the educator is more interested “in keeping Republicans in the legislature happy” than in providing more educational opportunities.


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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Jun 5, 2015 10:54 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Sat in on a meeting the other night about Dual Language/English Language Learners.
In another case of "where's the money coming from?", they want parents to be able to ship their kids wherever they want to learn whatever language they want (Spanish/Hmong, maybe more) - gist of it was: "Parents should have the right to choose"
And parents should not have the right to choose to do a voucher/charter school away from MMSD??? I don't get it.

Jun 5, 2015 12:21 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

To me #8 (and #6)are key, and my understanding of the purpose of the bill is to remove the discretion from the MMSD to kill things like the Urban League charter school proposal.

The 25% market share for less-bound charter schools is also interesting, and significant. As they turn the once-excellent Madison Public Schools into a politically correct disaster, escape should be possible.

The only downside is that another bureaucrat, perhaps bound to the "we experts are the ONLY ones who know better" attitude, is now the gatekeeper. Given the "whiffs" of the current gatekeeper, it's a direction whose time has come.

Jun 5, 2015 02:23 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Blaska -

I honestly don't understand your opinion in this area, your love for all things related to Kaleem-"accounting irregularities"-Claire, and now (?) Ed-"swimming in the waters"-Hughes. These are two of the most dangerous people in Madison because of (1) what the seek to do and (2) the fact that people seriously consider them.

Have you read Brown v. Board of Education I?

From the opinion:

"We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. This disposition makes unnecessary any discussion whether such segregation also violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

347 U.S. 483, 495 (here:

Why are you, or any of the Madison liberal-social-progressives for that matter, supporting segregation?

- "Citizen Dave's Remington 700"

Jun 5, 2015 10:20 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Thanks Obama #4: Jobs way up in May, nationally.

But you won't read that, or an examination of why this economic recovery still hasn't hit Wisconsin, on this here business website.

Just more political rhetoric and demagoguery.

Jun 8, 2015 09:04 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

Citizen Dave's Remington 700:

Do you understand that Brown v Board of Education addressed state-enforced segregation? The U.S. Constitution does not prohibit voluntary association; indeed, that right is protected under the First Amendment. No one would have been forced to enroll or prohibited from enrolling in Madison Prep.

Jun 8, 2015 11:08 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Blaska -

Oh, I understand . . . and your point?

What I've read suggests that whites could "conceivably" (?) enroll in Madison Prep. It's stated goal however is to cater to blacks and their problems. To quote this article (which you commented on), it is: "a charter school FOR BLACK STUDENTS in an effort to address a stubborn gap in academic achievement between black students and their white peers."

Read more:

How is this not state-enforced segregation? How is this not inherently unequal? I suspect if you get your pal "Accounting Irregularities" away from a camera or tape recorder and he would tell you he doesn't want whites in his school. Please ask him the next time you see him. (To be fair, Ed Hughes doesn't want white people in school either...)

You: "The U.S. Constitution does not prohibit voluntary association"

Lol. Good one. Then surely you can explain all of the litigation and consent decrees post-Brown, bussing children to get that magical ratio of students that some judge thinks is appropriate. Nobody forced them to do that, right? That was voluntary, right? To take that a little further: why not have Madison prep reflect the population of Madison as a whole, just like the courts have done post-Brown?

Do you want to "voluntarily" associate with your neighbors on the SW side? The ones with the rolling gun battles, home invasions, etc.? Or some "Tiny Homes?" Once upon a time you could pick your neighbors. Then Shelley v Kraemer happened.

Could Madison whites voluntarily associate to create their own schools to address their own needs?

Answer that and you'll see just how ridiculous your "The U.S. Constitution does not prohibit voluntary association" statement really is.

- "Citizen Dave's Remington 700"

Jun 8, 2015 12:13 pm
 Posted by  David Blaska

Citizen Dave's Remington 700 asks "Do you want to "voluntarily" associate with your neighbors on the SW side? The ones with the rolling gun battles, home invasions, etc.?"

Blaska answers, No, not with those neighbors.

The forced busing of the 1970s, particularly in Boston and Milwaukee, to achieve pre-determined ratio quotas were foolish and not in the spirit of Brown v. Board of Education. You may note that this judicial interference is no longer practiced.

Do families, black and white, move out of the bigger cities (if they can afford it) to escape dysfunctional schools? All the time.

Perhaps you have heard of what is now called "traditionally" black colleges like Howard in D.C., Tuskegee, and Spellman in Atlanta.

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court made school integration more difficult when it prohibited the Louisville, Kentucky, and Seattle, Washington, school districts from making racial balance a factor in assigning students to schools. Desegregation efforts are impermissible if students are racially isolated not from government policy but because of societal discrimination, economic characteristics, or what Justice Clarence Thomas, in a concurring opinion, termed "any number of innocent private decisions, including voluntary housing choices."

Tell me where the U.S. Constitution prohibits voluntary association.

Jun 8, 2015 01:29 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous


We haven't heard your outrage over the recent budget proposal by Rep. Jarchow to remove any shoreland zoning responsibilities from the counties. You should be livid at this blatant power grab by big government..

Jun 9, 2015 11:12 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

[Part 1/2]

Howard Univeversity? Private
Tuskegee University? Private
Spellman College - formerly the "Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary?" Yeah . . . that's private

If Oprah wants to helicopter into Madison like it was a crappy 3d world African country (which IS Madison's future, just with more snow), and drop a pile of cash for your pal "Accounting Irregularities" to play with, then by all means, go knock yourself out. Build your Oprah school.

"not in the spirit of Brown v. Board of Education"

Um... this has been my point all along. Erecting a special school just for blacks in Madison is "not in the spirit" of Brown, as in, it is pretty much the exact opposite of Brown. (Query: If bussing is not within the spirit, would we bus blacks in from Sun Prairie or Verona to go to special "Black School?")

You: “Tell me where the U.S. Constitution prohibits voluntary association."

How about the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment? You might be able to band together with some neighbors on the SW side to make a private agreement not to sell to people of the "Negro or Mongolian Race," but the minute one neighbor reneges and you try to enforce that agreement in court, that violates the 14th Amendment. That was the Shelley v. Kraemer case I mentioned above. Those covenants prohibited sale to negroes or those of the Mongolian race.

- “Citizen Dave’s Remington 700”

Jun 9, 2015 11:13 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

[Part 2/2]

You: “Do families, black and white, move out of the bigger cities (if they can afford it) to escape dysfunctional schools? All the time.”

Yes. Yes they do. This proves my point while also ducking my question about white schools in Madison. I’ll ask it again: Could Madison whites band together with public cash and create a whites only school tailored to their needs, like getting into UW-Madison or one of the Ivys while not being distracted by black disciplinary issues? I'll even sweeten the deal and say there would be no teachers union, just to get you on my side. Could that happen?

The answer is: No. It can’t. See Brown v. Board of Education. That is why whites flee black dysfunction, moving farther and farther away, commuting hours from their places of business to live and raise families. They have no other way of addressing it, e.g. by creating their own safe place (like a white charter school). Whites have been deprived of their ability to voluntarily associate.

You’re wrong on the Madison Prep issue, blinded by your union hatred. I never thought I'd see a place where ""conservatives"" (yes, you get the double air quotes) and liberals agree that segregating blacks is an appropriate course of action in 2015.

Welcome to Madison.

- "Citizen Dave's Remington 700"

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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