Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wisconsin's Next Big Battle

H/T David Sirota for showing us what the fate of "School reform" in the last election, when the mainstream media ignored this story.  Not only did "education reform" fail in Colorado and Idaho(details in Sirota's column), but also in Indiana: 

In Indiana, the results were even more explicit. There, as the Indianapolis Star reports, Superintendent for Public Instruction Tony Bennett became “the darling of the reform movement” by “enthusiastically implement(ing) such major reforms as the nation’s most expansive private school voucher program; greater accountability measures for schools that led to the unprecedented state takeover of six schools last year; an expansion of charter schools; and an evaluation system for teachers that bases their raises, at least in part, on student test scores.” For waging such a scorched-earth campaign against teachers and public education, Bennett was rewarded with a whopping $1.3 million in campaign contributions, much of which came from out of state. According to Stateline, Bennett was underwritten by “some of the biggest supporters of education reform in the country, including Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, billionaire financier Eli Broad and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,” and NPR reports that he also received big donations from private corporations that stood to profit off his school takeover policies.

Ultimately, he was able to grossly outspend his underfinanced opponent, local educator Glenda Ritz, by more than $1 million. Yet, in the conservative union-averse state of Indiana, he was nonetheless booted out of office in what the Star called “the Election Night shocker.” That was thanks not to some brilliantly vague personality campaign by Ritz, but to a substantive, laser-focused assault on Bennett’s corporate-driven privatization agenda. As the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported, she “attack(ed) Bennett for his school and district accountability system, voucher program and use of student testing data for teacher evaluations”; “criticiz(ed) Bennett’s policies as funneling taxpayer dollars to private companies”; and slammed Bennett’s corporate donors — all while she “advocated returning local control to districts, ending the current administration’s focus on standardized testing and spending more on early childhood education”; and pushed to “provide more support for low-performing schools instead of threatening them with sanctions.”

 This is going to be the next big fight in WI.  Unfortunately due to their unethical redistricting, we are powerless to stop it.  The only chance we have is if we have a republican who will fight his party and champion public education.  The prospects look bleek!     It was beaten back in very republican anti union states like Idaho and Indiana and yet the private education profiteers will be lining up in WI to loot our coffers and  fill their pockets. 

The next two years will decide who wins.  If convicted felon Scooter Jensen has a good two years that means education in Wisconsin has greatly suffered.  

Do we make our children a priority or this guy? 


  1. I'm a Hoosier. Indiana has a HORRIBLE education system and with the election of the Tea Party extremist Mike Pence to the governorship, it's going to get a LOT worse here. Of course, the dumber the population, the more likely they are to vote Republican.

    Watch Indiana! Watch what unfolds here. Let us be the Bad Example.

    Indiana is the ONLY state in the Midwest to go for Romney... and we are in the bottom ten states in the Union when it comes to citizens with a college education. And now we've just elected a guy who has NO intention of making a good public education a priority.

    Watch what unfolds here in the Hoosier state. Let it be a warning about what happens when Republicans and (worse) Tea Party politicians have control.

    I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if there also follows gerrymandering and voter suppression laws. And our citizens are certainly not going to get a better education!

    Watch us and learn.

    At least we defeated Richard Mourdock and didn't subject that lunatic on the nation. ::: sigh :::

  2. Great article, Jeff.
    Been absent due to working conditions. Been seeing Cognitive dissidence again for a few days.
    November 6th happened, mostly to my satisfaction. But what's happened to Lefty Blogs? That's been down since a couple days prior to the election.
    Will write a response in the next day or so, but in the meantime, I'm under fire with the the locals.
    Take care!

    1. Leftyblogs might have their server on the east coast and is having problems due to the damage from Hurricane Sandy.

  3. Funding based on performance continues to fail across the country. Why bring it here? Only to allow privatization vultures a shot at the money.

    This is a real problem for all people who are parents. No matter how you feel about Milwaukee Public Schools, are you planning on writing off communities of kids due to circumstances not of their own making? I'm hoping I can count on the state to make this stop.

    From what I see the plan is to starve these schools into oblivion. After that the kids are "free" to go to for profit schools that don't use licensed teachers, are not accountable to anyone, and send kids out into the world without a basic education. Ask people you know about some of these "choice" schools in the city. It's pathetic.