The Madison School Board meets tonight, March 28, at 6 pm at its 545 W. Dayton St. headquarters to vote on whether to support the Urban League's submission of a $225,000 charter-school planning grant to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
This is the key vote. Urban League president Kaleem Caire says, "This grant is essential to the development of Madison Preparatory Academy for Young Men, an all-male 6 to 12th grade public charter school."
I feel strongly enough about this to lend my voice at tonight's meeting. I confess this: I do not support our public schools; nor do I attack them. I support education, however it may be achieved. That is the proper role of government: to encourage and facilitate, where necessary, education for young and old. Government need not be the provider of that education.
America was built on competition, not regimentation. One size does not fit all. Let a thousand flowers bloom. Give new thinking and better ideas room to breathe.
That is why I support the Urban League's Madison Prep school. It's aimed at male minority students -- the most at-risk here in Madison and in many places throughout the country.
I've seen the sharply dressed, polite and well spoken young men turned out by its Chicago model. They are pictured above in an image taken from the Madison Urban League's website. None of them were lookin' like a fool! (Blaska's Blog: 02-26-2010)
Madison Prep will offer a new standard, it will shine as a beacon of hope, a swelling source of pride -- a new paradigm of what is possible.
What's more, the numbers work
Madison Prep is as entitled to our district school dollars as any entity. And the financial numbers seem to work. Kaleem Caire provides Blaska's Blog with this info:
Recent headlines ... (imply) that Madison Prep will somehow cost the district more than it currently spends to educate children. This, in fact, is not accurate. We are requesting $14,476 per student for Madison Prep's first year of operation, 2012-2013, which is less than the $14,802 per pupil that MMSD informed us it spends now. During its fifth year of operation, Madison Prep's requested payment from MMSD drops to $13,395, which is $1,500 less per student than what the district says it spends now. Madison Prep will likely be even more of a savings to the school district by the fifth year of operation given that the district's spending increases every year.
The great thing is, if Madison Prep does not produce results, pull the plug. For young black men, Madison Metropolitan School Districts has proven it cannot.
No money back guarantee
James Taranto's blog in the on-line Wall Street Journal (the best publication in America; I subscribe to it) is always a must-read. Thursday, he scores my alma mater. In "The Telltale Fin," Taranto reports that Steven Elbow committed a journalistic no-no by contributing financially to a political campaign. After writing a "news article" about the very race in which he backed one of the candidates over the other, he now wants the money back.
Taranto calls it one of the funniest "editor's notes" ever:
Capital Times reporter Steven Elbow has asked for the return of a $5 donation he gave to a door-to-door solicitor in December who was working in support of JoAnne Kloppenburg's Supreme Court campaign. The return of the donation, which editors learned about after the publication of this article, was necessary to avoid the appearance of bias in Elbow's coverage of the race.
Editor's note or not, Elbow's story, to our eye, does have the "appearance of bias." ... It's about what you'd expect from a newspaper that proclaims itself--as the Capital Times does atop every page of its website--"Your Progressive Voice." Which makes the paper's fastidiousness about Elbow's fin all the more hilarious.
As Taranto notes, it is not the money that created the bias, it was the act of giving. Or, as the old punchline goes, we know what you are, madame, we're just negotiating the price.
Precious coffee is spilled
The squire of the stately manor spilled his coffee on Monday morning's paper over a letter to the editor alleging that "Great teachers are not supported by GOP." (I have no link.) It was signed by one Kevin D. Cunningham, UW-Madison School of Education. He is, it turns out, a teaching assistant.
And one wonders how the Left is able to attract so much protest fodder for its Siege of the Capitol.
The UW School of Education was front and center in counter-attacking the muckraking documentary "Waiting for Superman," which cast the teachers union as an agent of teacher enrichment rather than education advancement.
I do not often walk past the Education Building but when last I did who should be entering that shrine of education but one John Matthews, MTI. His union opposes Madison Prep because it requires its teachers to be professionals, not assembly line clock punchers.
Indeed, Madison MTI president Michael Lipp brags that his previous union card read United Auto Workers.
Spring election countdown to April 5
- The Left has convinced itself that the Siege of the Capitol is what democracy looks like. Ol' Sparky, my vintage Univac mainframe computer, is still warming up but I'm getting emanations that even Eileen Bruskewitz in Dane County will show better than expected, despite a regrettable tendency to pull her punches.
- Dane County voters are being asked to curb First Amendment free speech rights for those with whom they disagree - employers but not unions. It will pass but this is the slipperiest of slopes, as I explain in the current issue of Wisconsin Interest magazine.
- Write in Thuy Pham-Remmele for Mayor! She got courage!