Monday, September 25, 2006

Doyle is the "educator's" governor, not the "education" governor

Over this past week, I have spent some time studying up on Wisconsin’s educational system.

Before the next debate between Mark Green and Jim Doyle, I wanted to check into the truths and the realities of how Wisconsin schools are really performing.

One of the most frustrating parts about being a conservative is that we have let the liberals take control of our educational systems. Even worse, we have let the liberals drive conservatives out of the debate all together.

Education is a democratic issue and we as conservatives are not allowed a voice in the educational debate.

Because of the conservative’s inaction, today’s national educational system is severely damage. As a nation, we are way behind other countries in education. Countries like India are beginning to lap us now.

Well, those days are over. President George Bush brought conservatives back into the debate with the bi-partisan legislation known as “No Child Left Behind”.

One of the benefits of having Mark Green run for governor is the fact that Mark Green has no fear when it comes to talking about Wisconsin’s educational system.

Mark Green has made Wisconsin’s educational system a top priority in this election.

One of the biggest failures of this nation and the state of Wisconsin when it comes to education is the fact that education is no longer about students but about educators.

We have let the National Education Association and Wisconsin Education Association Council take over our educational systems in this country.

The problem with letting this happen is that students are no longer the top priority in our educational systems. The priority of WEAC and the NEA are the teachers, not the students.

To be perfectly fair, WEAC does not represent the students in Wisconsin. The job of WEAC is to solely represent their members, the teachers.

Wisconsin’s teachers deserve good representation and that is the goal of WEAC.

However, the problem comes in when WEAC affects policy and education in this state. WEAC’s influence has changed the top priority from Wisconsin students to given the top priority to Wisconsin teachers.

I know Governor Jim Doyle wants to be known as the “education” governor. Clearly, the evidence points to the fact that Jim Doyle’s educational priorities are wrapped around WEAC instead of Wisconsin’s students.

At the bidding of WEAC, Governor Jim Doyle vetoed legislation that would have expanded the school voucher program in Milwaukee for low income and minority children.

MJS-

At the urging of the state's largest teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, Doyle blocked a move to expand the program that lets poor Milwaukee children attend private schools at state expense. WEAC endorsed Doyle and played a critical role in his election victory over then-Republican Gov. Scott McCallum in November.

Many of Milwaukee's political and civic leaders had asked Doyle to approve the removal of the limit on choice students, which is 15% of Milwaukee Public Schools children. But Doyle called for a "full and open" debate on that change.

Even as political leaders were pleading with Jim Doyle to help Milwaukee schoolchildren, Governor Jim Doyle chose to support WEAC instead of supporting Milwaukee students.

Just last week, Mark Green proposed improvements to our educational system that would actually help Wisconsin students get a better education.

Mark Green proposed:
  • expanding the school choice program that would give low income children opportunity to receive a better education
  • merit based pay for teachers. Teachers that do a good job teaching will get a pay raise.
  • raising the percentage of state aid for public schools that must be spent on classroom programs to 70%.
  • raising the math and science credits required for high school graduation and allowing any four-year University of Wisconsin System campus to establish its own independent charter school.
  • giving school boards new authority to save money with competitive bidding.
  • eliminating the residency requirement for Milwaukee Public Schools teachers

Each one of these proposals goes to improving the quality of our children’s public education.

What was Governor Jim Doyle’s reaction to these proposals?

Doyle’s campaign had this to say:

Anson Kaye, spokesman for the Doyle campaign, said Green's plan would "cut thousands of teachers" and "force school districts to cut things like school nurses and school buses."

As you can clearly see, Jim Doyle’s primary reaction is to protect Wisconsin teachers, school nurses, and school bus drivers.

What you do not see from Jim Doyle’s reaction is someone who puts Wisconsin’s children and their education first.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Jim Doyle would put Wisconsin’s children at the top of his priority list instead of putting WEAC at the top of his priority list?

Governor Jim Doyle has clearly shown that he is the “educator’s” governor and not the “education” governor.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are soooooo correct. The situation has gotten so far out of hand, that at my son's Middle School, an English teacher had a poster in her room saying, "War is NOT the answer". Neither she nor the Principal could understand why my son and I were offended and asked that it be removed.
Her alibi: It is a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote and she teaches a section on him to her 8th Grade English class. She said it was no different than having up Dickens' quotes. She further indicated it had been up for four years and no other parent had complained. I am not sure what part of this is the scariest???
1) It was allowed up
2) She teaches MLK as 8th grade ENGLISH
3) She compared MLK to Dickens
4) No other parent complained.....

Interloper said...

Lots of rhetoric but few facts here. And the few facts are false or, at best, selective. For instance, Governor Doyle proposed a Milwaukee compromise that expanded the enrollment cap in the Milwaukee voucher program from about 15,000 to about 22,450 pupils.

And I'll answer your question about where was Governor Doyle's reaction to Mark Green's education proposals.

Right here: http://www.thewheelerreport.com/releases/Sept06/sept19/0919doylegreenedplan.pdf

And here: http://www.doylelawton.com/content/view/317/35/

Further, Mark Green's proposal is a combination of a rehash of things Governor Doyle has already proposed or accomplished along with empty-headed conservative ideas.

As previously mentioned, Governor Doyle already signed a law expanding the $100 million Milwaukee school voucher program which included educational and taxpayer accountability for the first time in the program's history. Governor Doyle proposed reforming teacher compensation in the 2005-07 state budget, but Republicans legislators supporting Mark Green stripped this from the budget. And in his 2005 State of the State address, Governor Doyle called on Wisconsin to require all high school students to graduate with at least three credits of math and science.

Question for Green: Does he agree with Governor Doyle or is he simply plagarizing his ideas? It wouldn't be the first time Green has taken someone else's ideas and passed them off as his own. See here: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=494376

Finally, Green's 70% proposal has been debunked by the likes of Standard & Poor's as well as a number of conservative critics, such as Frederick Hess of AEI and Checker Finn who served under President Reagan. It is a dumb idea that bears no relationship to student achievement and will severely financially penalize Wisconsin's rural schools. Read Standard & Poor's take here: http://www.schoolmatters.com/pdf/65_paper_schoolmatters.pdf#search=%22standard%20%26%20poor%2065%25%20solution%20here%22

Again, lots of RHETORIC, no SOLUTIONS.

K. Carpenter said...

Oh please, you still have not answered as to why the first words out of Doyle's campaign is to immediatly panic over teachers losing jobs.

The Doyle campaigns first reaction: "cut thousands of teachers"

That is pathetic!

By the way- I bet I could make the same arguments against Doyle's press releases by linking to Mark Green's press releases.

I am certain that there are plenty of links that I can come up with that say exactly the opposite of what Doyle is claiming.

Campaigns will be campaigns, but in the end results matter.

I have seen the results and they are not pretty.

Could you try to think for yourself and not let Doyle think for you?

Dohnal said...

Warren Knowles was the education governor, expanding the University system and combining school districts limiting the use of one room schools. The results were great until the teachers union took over edcuation, bankrupted it with their demands for salaries, vacations, benefits and pensions then tried to use the kids for their left wing agends.
That is what happened to education under the teachers unions.
Check the reading scores, math and science in the 50's and 60's compared to now.

whatsleftwi said...

The Doyle campaigns first reaction: "cut thousands of teachers"

Yeah, you're right. I'm sure Green has a plan to have those kids teach themselves so we can save some money.

jeff said...

To Anonymous:

What is wrong with a poster which says, "War is NOT the answer!"?? To my mind, wars happens when there is no other way to solve a problem among nations or that the solution of a problem would be morally unacceptable. War IS something to be avoided if possible.

MLK was a prolific writer. His work, 'Letters from a Birmingham Jail' is a classic of the Civil Rights era. I would have no problem with it being taught to 8th graders. MLK in his writings did produce some things(see the book previously mentioned) which would rival Dickens' social commentary in his numerous works. Also 'Letters' would be a great companion piece to the study of the Civil Rights movement in a History class. It would be also a great example of an 'integrated curriculum' where the same thing is reinforced across multiple disciplines at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate the lecture from WEAC.
But, I send my child to school to be taught facts...NOT LIBERAL, COMMUNIST, OR SOCIALIST ideology!!!

Interloper said...

I don't see why we should treat teachers as second-class citizens. Why should we care less about them losing their jobs than other Wisconsin workers? Why do you conservatives seem to hate teachers so much? Why do you complain about teachers receiving fair salaries and benefits when your energy would be better spent arguing that all workers should receive livable wages & benefits rather than tearing others down to the lowest common denominator? If you want to attack a class of 'workers,' why not go after CEOs of oil companies?

Any Wisconsin Governor--Democrat or Republican--cares about Wisconsin workers. That includes bankers, lawyers, farmers, cashiers, tradespeople, and yes, teachers.

Whether you want to admit it or not, teachers make a difference. And gimmicks like TABOR and Green's freeze would have an impact on Wisconsin's education system. And the communities that would be hit the hardest would be those with the fewest resources. Teaching quality is the #1 school-based factor that impacts student learning. Freezes and cuts would have a detremental impact on teaching quality and would inevitably raise class sizes and limit curricular options, lowering the quality of public education in Wisconsin. Over time, that would affect all of us in negative ways.

TrueConservative said...

Green's 70 cent solution is not supported by the data he uses. Allocating more than 65 cents shows a drop in performance. The selective reporting of the data is what makes the case for a 65 cent solution however you could look at the entire data set and see that there is no real correlation at all. When a politician who has never spent a day working or serving the education of children starts to present a plan based on selective data, just sit back and laugh.

Russ said...

Dohnal hit the nail on the head. The teacher's union has bankrupted the Wisconsin educational system. Here in Milwaukee County household median incomes have dropped since 2000. Yet during that period WEAC has insisted on maintaining their yearly 3.8 % increases. Demanding pay and / or benefit increases and sticking the taxpayers with endless school property tax increses is nothing short of extortion.
This gross injustice is what happens when government monopolies are allowed to unionize.
Public educators have over priced themselves because they can. The only solution now is deregulation. Allowing taxpayer paid vouchers for private schools will, over time, either force public schools to compete on quality and cost or they will be replaced over time by private schools. If the City of Milwaukee cost differential holds true statewide the taxpayers will be the big winner. $6,000 per student for vouchers vs Approx. $11,000 for MPS. The other big winner are the students. School choice (competition) will raise the quality of education and lower costs just it does in all other competitive consummer services.

jeff said...

anonymous,

Please check your facts before labeling anyone anything. I am not a member of WEAC. Also, it is scary to think that someone believes that 'war is not an answer' is a liberal or further left thought.

Also, to be functioning human beings, we need to develop our ability to think for ourselves and not kowtow to the opinions of others. So schools should teach the facts and also how to analyze(think) those facts and their applications to life.

jeff said...

Russ,
That 3.8% annual increase you talk about is the QEO(Qualified Economic Offer). This is the minimum in salary and benefits school districts are required to provide teachers by state law. It was put in place because there is a cap on the increase a district can levy year to year. If a district has the funds, it can increase salary and benefits more than the 3.8 minimum. I know here in Kenosha and I also believe statewide, the reality is the 3.8 increase has been mostly benefits rather than salary over the past few years.

The economic argument you failed to mention is that the 'deregualted' system you mentioned would also allow schools which attracted and keep students to potential pay its teachers bonuses based on merit. WEAC is currently against this also.

It didnt make much news but the State Superintendent, Elizabeth Baumeister, has put the idea of merit pay bonuses in the rough draft of her proposed department budget for the upcoming biennium.

I believe that you are right, at least partially. We need a shift in the education management model. It should be decentralized even at the district level to the individual schools. Each school and district should be run on the charter school model. 80-85% of the per student money would go with the student to the school their parents choose for them with the balance of the money going to the District to provide support services such as HR and payroll, consultation for special ed and bilingual programs, and achievement monitoring. Site councils made up of parents, teachers and the principal would set the budget for individual schools and be held accountable for the progress of the students.

What do you think?

christopher robin said...

I got all of the proof I needed about Doyle and WEAC from my mother.

She is a member of WEAC. In an effort to get a reaction and dialog going about Doyle with her, I said "Boy that Doyle is a piece of work."

My mother's comment was "He is the best governor money can buy."

This was said very matter of factly as if this was okay.

After saying "Doesn't this concern you?"

My card carrying Democratic mother said, No, I'm getting mine."

As a tax payer I told her "Your welcome."