Manski and Democrats used Madison’s minorities as partisan cannon fodder

Part 4 the last. Madison Prep was the mouse that roared. How can you explain the fear and loathing Madison’s power elite directed at the Madison Urban League’s proposed charter school?

The Urban League’s Madison Prep charter school would have been just one school amid 50 Madison public schools. It would have taught 800 kids out of 27,000 enrolled in the district. The school board would have retained the ultimate authority to shut it down. So why the sturm und drang over this niche school? Two reasons:

• Because it would have been non-union.

• Because it might have succeeded. The Democratic Party cannot allow one small chink in the solid teachers union barricades.

How else does one explain Sarah Manski’s endorsement from the leader of the State Assembly Democrats, Peter Barca of Kenosha? How else does one explain an endorsement from the leader of the State Senate Democrats, Chris Larson of Milwaukee?

The purpose of the Manski campaign was all about staving off any threat to the teachers union hegemony. The power structure encouraged her to run after Ananda Mirilli, an immigrant Latina who supports the charter school (a public school, by the way), entered the race.

Husband Ben Manski said as much in his notorious December email blast.

Sarah Manski’s candidacy succeeded in squeezing Mirilli out of the three-way primary and keeping her name off the April 2 general election ballot.

Her campaign was a Trojan horse created to attack Gov. Walker for promoting Act 10 and proposing that disadvantaged children in underperforming schools have other choices. Ironically, that very intransigence with respect to reform and innovation on the part of so-called progressives is what drives Republican efforts to expand parental choice.

Sarah Manski and Peter Barca, D-Kenosha


Public schools are a means to an end, not the goal itself

Democrats are using the city’s minority population, which almost universally supported Madison Prep, as partisan political fodder in this supposedly nonpartisan race.

They have no answers for Mr. Caire, the energetic Urban League president who, alone, pushed Madison’s nose into the long-ignored minority achievement gap, in which fewer than half of black and Latino students graduate, where only 7% of black high school seniors and 18% of Latinos were considered college-ready.

He proposed longer school days and longer school years than permitted by the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

The Madison Machine shot down his proposed solution without offering alternatives. They have none today. Instead, the local Democratic Party is trying to take out James Howard, who voted for Madison Prep. Howard is astonished that the local Democrat(ic) party injected partisan politics into a supposedly nonpartisan race by endorsing his opponent – and Dean Loumos versus Wayne Strong.

“Almost anyone else who supported Madison Prep has been labeled the enemy because communities of color are asking for a better future for their children,” writes Derrell Connor at Channel 3000. “… I believe that there is a movement in this community to silence anyone that doesn’t walk in lockstep with the status quo. They will trample over voices of color in order to preserve it.” (“Madison liberals hurting communities of color.”)


No control is more local than the kitchen table

The irony, of course, is that Scott Walker, various Koch Brothers, ALEC, WMC, the Bradley Foundation – and all the rest of the hobgoblins conjured by the conspiracy weavers running Madison’s political machine – had nothing to do with Madison’s minority achievement gap. Liberals have owned Madison’s public schools for at least the last 40 years. They own its problems.

Remember that the next time you see a letter penned by the Raging Grannies* of School Boards Past defending the status quo; they being Carol Carstensen, Barbara Arnold, Anne Arnesen, and Nan Brien (Sarah Manski’s campaign treasurer).

Now that its stranglehold on the people is in jeopardy, the Madison Political Machine is doubling down its protection of the institution at the expense of the people it was intended to serve.

Gov. Walker has proposed to allow parents in failing school districts to use school vouchers, wherein the state’s per-pupil payment follows the child. It’s only an advisory vote, but the Madison School Board voted 7-0 against the idea. Surprised? If you ran the monopoly feed store, would you vote to allow competition? 

Progressives spend sleepless nights fearful that ordinary citizens will make their own decisions. Proponents of big government, like my friend Dave Zweifel, are appalled at this affront to the gatekeepers:

Instead of school boards, mayors and village presidents making decisions about the kinds of schools and municipal rules they want for their own communities. 

Should majority rule trump individual choice?

Or – what say parents make decisions about their schools? Yes, parents can choose private schools now – but first they must pay for the public schools they don’t attend. A great business model.

State Sen. Mike Ellis, a Republican, is just as bad. He wants a referendum before permitting school vouchers. If the vote is 99 to 1 opposed, why fear that one family will make its own decision? If the vote is 50 to 49 against, are the big government elites really going to hold those 49 hostage to the government-controlled monopoly?

The progressives have it upside down. They regard the public schools as an institutional end in themselves and not a means to an end. The Machine fears allowing individual families to choose alternatives – they might make the wrong (non-union) choice.

That was the Manski campaign slogan: “For Our Public Schools” – not “For Teaching Our Children.”

Some credit must be given to The Capital Times, which I have mercilessly pilloried this week, for endorsing James Howard and Wayne Strong in the two remaining contested school board races. I’ll temper that by speculating that they backed themselves into that corner by slavishly defending Sarah Manski. We have already documented the resulting backlash from Madison’s minority community. Face must be saved.

Vote Manski – As for the remaining seat, we urge you to vote Manski. Her name remains on the ballot. Send a message: You don’t like being played by the Manski-ites and you don’t buy T.J. Mertz’s slavish devotion to the teachers union.

Sign up for the free IB Update – your weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. Click hereIf you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.