Monday, December 5, 2011

Recall Walker: News Highlights of the Week. Also — essay on “MPS at the Crossroads,” and founding meeting of “Parents for Public Schools.”

It’s been a busy week on the Recall Walker Front —highlights below on items you may have missed in the media, from TV ads, to opinion pieces, to parents organizing.

Coming up:  On Saturday Dec. 10, Parents for Public Schools will hold their inaugural meeting in Milwaukee. (Details at the end of this post.)

Finally, in the spirit of looking backward in order to move forward. Journalist Barbara Miner has written an essay, “MPS at the Crossroads,” that looks at the challenges facing the district within a historical context.

Some of the challenges are not new, especially as they relate to issues of race, segregation, jobs and unequal opportunities. But there’s also a new factor. As Miner writes, “Today’s crossroads also involves an issue that could not have been predicted by previous generations: the need to defend and support the very concept of a democratically controlled system of public schools serving all children.” The essay is especially useful for those who may not be aware of Milwaukee’s history.

The essay was written as a background paper for the Nov. 30 summit, "Reimagining the MTEA and MPS: Defending Democracy and Public Education."

Now, back to news highlights on the Recall Walker Front.

1) TV coverage: Sour Grapes or Rotten Grapes?
A new Walker TV ad features a Kenosha teacher claiming that those working to RECALL WALKER are motivated by "sour grapes." That is so wrong. We’re motivated not by sour grapes, but rotten, moldy grapes that Walker has served up to the kids of Wisconsin through his $1.6 billion budget cut to public schools, while giving away hundreds of millions in tax breaks to wealthy corporations and expanding vouchers to wealthy families to send their kids to private schools. That’s what I told a WISN news report.

2) Walker curtails freedom of speech at the Capitol —a la Myanmar.
Walker took the unprecedented step towards restricting basic freedom of speech and freedom of assembly last week.  According the Dec. 2 MJS article, the Walker administration issued a new policy that states, “Groups of four or more people must obtain permits for all activity and displays in state buildings and apply for those permits at least 72 hours in advance. “

 Ironically this came the same week that NPR reported that the totalitarian regime in the Asian country of Myanmar eased its law against public demonstrations, now requiring a five-day advance notice.  Is Governor Walker trying to imitate some of the worst dictatorships in the world, or is he merely ignoring the Bill of Rights?

3) Healthcare my editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and good background on Badgercare, from Wisconsin Citizen Action.
Healthcare continues to be a key issue for Wisconsin workers. As I explained in an op-ed on Dec. 2 in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we need to be guided by core principles that will protect all peoples’ health care and help school districts attract and retain quality teachers.

For good background on the ongoing controversy over Badgercare, read the op ed in the Capital Times, by Robert Craig of Wisconsin Citizen Action. As Craig notes, Governor Walker is on the verge of reducing health care for tens of thousands of people in Wisconsin, seeking .a waiver from federal regulations regarding. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Walker waiver would force over 67,000 people off BadgerCare, including over 29,000 children.

4) MJS Opinion Defends Smaller Class Sizes; Parents for Public Schools.
In an opinion piece in the Dec. 4 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Congratulate Kids, Don’t Belittle Them,” MPS parent Angela McManaman explains how small class sizes are essential for student academic and social development. Walker’s massive cuts to public schools in Wisconsin has led to larger class sizes in for many students. In Milwaukee it meant the elimination of the class-size reduction SAGE program in a number of elementary schools. McManaman’s opinion was in response to a piece by a senior fellow with the conservative think tank, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, who called the SAGE program a "horror" for Wisconsin. 

McManaman is a co-founder of the parent group, I Love My Public School, which is launching a chapter of Parents for Public Schools in Milwaukee.

The first meeting of Parents for Public Schools is on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Community Room of the Washington Park Public Library, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd. Contact Sachin at or 414-412-6099 for more information.

1 comment:

  1. So true about the sour grapes! The actor in the commercial claims she wants a governor who tells the truth. Prior to being elected, Governor Walker never said he was going to set about busting the unions. This commercial is incredibly disingenuous.