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Sep 12, 201408:42 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Does your Madison public school teacher get ‘down and dirty’?

(page 2 of 2)

‘Resisting things that make education better’

Madison misses journalist Jason Shepard, who captured “John Matthews of MTI: A Lion in Winter” for the Isthmus weekly of March 27, 2008:

But while Matthews laments the failures of government to improve teaching and learning, he glosses over his own pivotal role in local educational leadership. That role includes standing in the way of programs like 4-year-old kindergarten that could help the district meet its educational objectives.

Matthews is no shrinking violet. He drops the f-bomb nearly a dozen times and sprinkles his more entertaining stories with other verbiage from George Carlin’s famous “seven dirty words” satire.

… “John has his peculiarities, and there are certain things that he expects,” says [former school board member Carol] Carstensen, herself once a victim of what she calls Matthews’ “little tricks.” She attributes some of this to gender bias.

‘Do not discuss accountability or innovation’

Media producer John Roach, in Madison Magazine on March 24, 2013, declared that “Madison Teachers Inc. head John Matthews should step down”:

His $300K per annum package at the helm of Madison Teachers Inc. has placed him among the very one percent many of his followers revile. … He now prowls his mansion at night, toying with the local Democratic Party he has purchased, fighting enemies that do not exist, in battles that need not be waged.

In Madison, at this time in history, there is no room on the justice agenda for black and brown people. Scotty Walker has spooked the progressive herd. White folks with college degrees, a 175-page contract, pensions, limited accountability, three months of summer vacation and unassailable job security have bum rushed their way to the head of the Justice Line.

What is worse, they have rewritten the language of productive political discussion. “Support our public schools” has become code for “blind allegiance to John Matthews and MTI.” “Privatization of our schools” is Pig Latin for “Do not discuss change, accountability or innovation.”

Liberal Madison won’t impose sweatshops

“The union draws support from conveying the impression that it’s only the efforts of the union and the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement that protect teachers from the predations of a ‘hostile’ school board intent on imposing ‘inhumane’ changes in working conditions,” school board member Ed Hughes wrote in his May 9, 2011 blog:

If the collective bargaining agreement were to disappear, the school district wouldn’t immediately resort to a management equivalent of pillaging the countryside. Instead, the district would seek out alternative ways of achieving the ends currently served by the collective bargaining process, because the district, like nearly all employers, values its employees and understands the benefits of being perceived as a good place to work.

But when employers aren’t interested in running sweat-shops, organizations set up to prevent sweat-shop conditions aren’t all that necessary. It may be that John Matthews’ ramped-up rhetoric is best understood not as a protest against school district over-reaching in bargaining, since that did not happen, but as a cry against the possibility of his own impending irrelevance.

That irrelevance just got a little closer with the filing Wednesday of Blaska v. Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education and its union.

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Old to new | New to old
Sep 12, 2014 09:32 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Summer is over and Blaska is bored. Must be time to get his name back in the media!

Sep 12, 2014 10:48 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Dave, allow me to state the obvious: you filed a lawsuit against Mary Burke, not John Matthews, at the height of the gubernatorial campaign, during a time when your sleepy-eyed Boy Governor is taking daily, well-earned hits in the press. You're represented by the WILL, which is funded by the Bradley Foundation (whose leader just happens to be Walker's campaign chair). I don't have strong opinions for or against MTI (I do think Matthews, like Marty Beil, is a dinosaur, but that doesn't negate the need for unions), but please don't feed us this load of manure about the minority population clapping you on the back. This is just too obviously partisan campaign politics from you, a good little soldier of the GOP. And it worked, you got your press, but it's hard to take the lawsuit seriously; I'm sure it'll disappear after the election. But this is all about distraction and propping up your boy. Your motivations are not the children of Madison. Be honest.

Sep 12, 2014 01:05 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Gee Dave, how much are you and Ricky paid to shill for your handlers? Also why do you care?

Sep 12, 2014 03:43 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous


Sep 12, 2014 04:47 pm
 Posted by  Mr. C

Anon 1:05pm.

Why do you?

Sep 12, 2014 05:26 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I've always wondered why Blaska didn't just run for school board. If taxpayers stand with him as he insists they do, you'd think he'd win in a landslide. Maybe he couldn't stand up to the scrutiny.

Sep 12, 2014 07:31 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Good luck Dave. The Mathews crime syndicate is almost as bad as the Obama crime syndicate. If Dane County had more residents like you I might even consider moving back there someday.

Dave, not B

Sep 14, 2014 12:03 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

anon 5:26 has posed an interesting question. Blaska should run for any and all elected offices he is qualified for. Heck, he could run for office up here in northern WI as a Glenn Grothmann carpetbagger. Worked for Glen, and Ribble as well.

But DB won't because he would have to appeal to a majority of the voters, and the failure to do that would be too big a blow to his ego.

So he will remain a sideline player.

Sep 17, 2014 10:46 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Looks like the usual WEAC howler monkeys are out in force.

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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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