Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Who is watching out for our kids?

Another day, more bad press for Wisconsin’s educational system.

Between the two blaring headlines in today’s Kenosha News, I am not sure which is worse.

We discovered yesterday that our new elite chancellor, scheduled to start a week from today at the University of Wisconsin/Parkside, could very well be in trouble with the federal government.

We also found out that three more Kenosha schools have been added to the watch list and identified as not being up to the required “no child left behind standards”.

The question though our minds today is “Who is watching our for our kids?”

In this state we pay billions of dollars a year to provide a good quality education to our children. Yet, year after year we discover more and more questionable practices taking place.

Let’s start with- who vetted the candidates for chancellor at three state schools?

The University of Wisconsin, Madison, Parkside and Whitewater all spent the spring looking for new chancellors of our schools.

Clearly there were some problems. Former Dean of University of Louisville College of Education and Human Development, Robert Felner, has been hired as the new chancellor as the UW/Parkside chancellor. It was recently discovered and Mr. Felner has admitted that his College of Education and Human Development is currently under investigation by the federal government.

It is not like this investigation just started overnight. It appears that the University of Louisville was so concerned about what was happening at Mr. Felner’s College of Education and Human Development that they contacted the federal government themselves to have an investigation launch.

Surely someone knew something was fishy long before the UW Board of Regents hired Mr. Felner on June 5th.

Clearly the Regents for UW completely missed the boat to be so completely oblivious to what was happening here.

We, the people, after having put our trust in the Regents to pick the best person to educate our children, are currently trapped into not knowing what is happening.

So what has happened in our educational system that has brought us to this point?

We, the people paying the salaries, no longer have control of education in Wisconsin.

Sure, every once in a while, we get to vote on whether or not the school systems will be allowed to build a new school building or upgrade current systems. But this stuff is all bricks and mortar and have very little to do with education.

Those of us paying the bills have no control over hiring and firing. In fact, we are all pretty much oblivious to what is taking place in our schools.

We have no control over the curriculum, planning for the future and the priorities in our children’s education.

Basically we have no control over what our children are being taught and who is teaching them. We are stuck.

There is absolutely no accountability for the billions of dollars spent in this state.

After these little bombshells that were dropped on our heads, maybe it is time for us to wake up and hold these people accountable for the choices they made.

It is time to fight back and show the UW board of Regents, Wisconsin teachers, school administrators and even the students of this state that they will be held accountable for their actions.

Being totally oblivious to the problems facing Mr. Felner right now has jeopardized the education of our children at UW/Parkside.

There is absolutely no excuse for the Board of Regents to vote on this man, especially if they have not fully vetted his background.

We, the people that are paying the bills, deserved better from the UW Board of Regents.

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