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May 22, 201511:45 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Madison liberals are making the case for school choice

(page 1 of 2)

Can you blame parents for wanting out of our public schools? Taxpayers for balking at more spending? Republican legislators for promoting alternatives to the public school monopoly?

Madison’s public schools have degenerated into a dystopia run by feral youth, as described in the novel Lord of the Flies. Pat Schneider recounts in The Capital Times why one veteran teacher is giving up:

“I’m seeing behaviors on a regular basis that I haven’t seen in 20 years of teaching,” Bush said. Some of this alarming conduct included students swearing at teachers, kicking trash cans, walking out of class, and kids wandering the hallways and in and out of classrooms, she said.

… The lack of consistent response and consequences for violating rules has taught students there are no real consequences, Bush adds.

“This is basically ‘Bad Parenting 101,’” she said.

The chaos is the result of the all-liberal Madison school board’s “Behavior Education Plan,” the euphemism for a school discipline policy that does not require discipline. Seems the problem, if such it was, was that too many children of color were being suspended and expelled. Sound familiar? Isn’t that what Young and Foolish are claiming about the population of jail inmates?

In neither example has the case been made that the school suspensions or the jail incarcerations are disproportionate to the offenses committed.

In the case of the schools, reporter Schneider tells us, “The new code has sharply reduced the number of out-of-school suspensions, although the racial disparity persists.” Now, there is a surprise!

Yes to the teacher’s call on bad parenting. Do you think Young and Foolish would be marching in downtown Madison in the wake of good parenting? That the southwest side of Madison would resemble a shooting gallery if parents actually parented? (And yes, that applies to the motorcycle gangs of Waco.)

It’s not about race; it’s about behavior

Bad enough parents don’t enforce boundaries on behavior. Now our schools must follow suit? How does such moral relativism help the young miscreant, never mind other students trying to learn? How is that not damnably racist?


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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
May 22, 2015 02:47 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

"Madison’s public schools have degenerated into a dystopia run by feral youth, as described in the novel Lord of the Flies." writes the guy who last set foot in a Madison school when?

May 22, 2015 02:51 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

What you meant to say is that every single school voucher is snapped up by people who already send their kids to private school. See, that's actual fact, not the highly biased perspective you disguise as fact for your eager readers.

May 22, 2015 09:28 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Everything the liberals push on us are nothing but lies since day 1. Public schools, Social Security, The Great Society, Gun Control, Drug Legalization. They claim all are good for us, but none have ever made our country better.

Dave, not B

May 25, 2015 09:40 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I taught Civics in Wisconsin for almost three decades. I undertook my teaching responsibility as seriously as any wounded veteran might. For me, our collective historical debt to veterans could never be measured by the mere observance of Memorial Day, one day each year. Our collective debt is far greater! And, in my view, it approaches as close to a secular religious experience of universal and national import as one might imagine.

Beginning in 2017, each high school student must pass a Civics test with a score of 60% or greater as a condition for a diploma. Yes, a mere 60% -- a "D."

Now, as minimalist as this is, the "education" columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Alan Borsuk, wrote a column about this change. Read it for yourself (1*), but I was shocked by not only the tenor of the column, but by his question: "...would you want to stop people from going to college or getting a job because they didn't have a diploma due to a shaky grasp on the Constitution?"

My unequivocal answer is, "Yes. If they can't do that much, in light of sacrifices of millions of veterans over the course of the nation's history, then, Yes, do not grant them a diploma."

To me, Borsuk's column crystallized the intellectual rot that has been the hallmark of educational reformers, professional educrats, and "progressives" since Viet Nam. The column reflected the callous attitude of those who, like Borsuk, have never served (2*), have no first-hand experience in service to the nation, or have never witnessed a 'brother or sister' die in service. Borsuk's column reflects the Liberal, pansy-assed, self-indulgent, mollycoddled point of view that has become the major characteristic of our social pathology for the last fifty years.

Borsuk asks, " ...due to a shaky grasp of the Constitution."

My response: By comparison, Sir, what of the shaky grasp of a Senior veteran who walks up a flight of stairs?
end pt 1

May 25, 2015 09:51 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

pt 2
By what comparison, Sir, of the thousands of veterans who strap on a prosthetic limb each day, if only so that they can walk to a bathroom?

How could anyone, except one who had not served, ever compare the difficulty of passing a Civics test at 60% proficiency with the challenge of living an entire adult life with a prosthetic limb?

Who, but one who has never served, could even consider arguing that a "high stakes" Civics test was too great a challenge for a diploma, even though society spends over $11,774/yr for each student (3*).

For all that we spend on education, why is a 1" high-bar, too high? Let Borsuk weep as he tells the children of veterans that passing a civics test is simply asking TOO much.

Enough misplaced angst. Borsuk's column is disgusting. I wish that I could have the opportunity to witness him as he reads it to an audience of disabled veterans, their families, or the families of veterans who died in service to us all.


May 25, 2015 11:44 am
 Posted by  Anonymous


Why don't you examine the impacts choice and voucher schools will have on rural districts where there are no vouchers schools, or near-by districts to send your kids? Up here, where we have very strict behavior policies, our district is being penalized by the legislature and made to subsidize urban school districts. In effect we are paying for 2 public school systems. How is that fair or reasonable?

The choice/voucher decisions affect the whole state, not just Madison or Milwaukee. You need to get out of the Madison rut and see how these changes to pander to the far right are putting non-urban schools at peril.

May 26, 2015 08:41 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

"Pander to the right." Sheesh! How many of the 26,000 voucher students in Milwaukee, income capped at 185% of the federal poverty level ($37,000 for family of three) do you think are right-wing Republicans? Yes, in Wisconsin wealthier districts subsidize poorer districts. You might be relieved to know that voucher schools educate each child for much less money than the bloated Milwaukee public school system.

In 2012-13, MPS per pupil taxpayer cost was $13,441, which is made up of state, local, and federal aid compared to $7,775 for independent charters and a maximum of $6,442 combined state and local aid for MPCP. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau found that terminating the Milwaukee School Choice Program would reduce state aid to districts outside Milwaukee by $74 million.

May 26, 2015 10:36 am
 Posted by  Anonymous


how did you know troupis was a judge two days before announced.

head up walkers a--.

good for you, hope it's a nice view.

May 26, 2015 10:42 am
 Posted by  Anonymous


back to this topic, school is an entitlement.

I have been paying for it for over 45 years and have no children.

if people want to god outside the norm for charter schools or religious schools then let them pay for it themselves, like my parents did 55 years ago.

really tired of this subject.

education is the only thing that makes us better than others.

get it!!

May 26, 2015 01:05 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous


You missed the whole point. School districts in rural areas are subsidizing the voucher schools. Can't you do any original analysis? I'm not talking Madison, Milwaukee, Racine or Kenosha, but rather rural schools in Forest, Marinette or Taylor Counties. Take a geography class and discover there is more WI north of Sun Prairie.

If Scott Jensen wants vouchers schools in urban districts why do the folks in the rural areas have to pay for it? Answer please.

anon 11:44

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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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