When you think change agents, what comes to mind? Barack Obama? O.K., I'm down with that. Didn't vote for the man, but the people wanted change.
How about the Kathleen? A change agent? Maybe change from the Kathleen of 2004, when she ignored public safety recommendations that the county paid good money to purchase from independent emergency call center consultants. Now she's got a sheriff to "beard" her sorry public safety record. (Dave Mahoney continues to believe he owes his election to The Kathleen.) Still, I'm seeing lots of Nancy Mistele yard signs and, in the countryside, 4 by 8s.
The teachers union? Change agents? Only in the sense of "fork over your change."
That is why I think that Rose Fernandez has a better than even chance of defeating teachers union toady Tony Evers, the bland functionary, for superintendent of public instruction.
Aaron Rodriquez in the Hispanic Commonweal notes that Rose defeated teachers union puppet Evers in the liberal stronghold of Milwaukee in the February primary. The future of that troubled Rust Belt city goes straight through its dysfunctional public school system. And WEAC is standing, arms crossed, at the school entrance barring reform from getting inside. Aaron writes:
Evers' marriage to WEAC has hamstrung him from promoting a variety of attractive "school choice" programs, and his candidacy looks more like a one trick pony show that cannot offer parents anything other than a "brick and mortar" public school. Fernandez, on the other hand, provides parents with real choices by fighting to use accessible state funds for performance-based charter schools, to lift the caps on accessible virtual schools, and to increase vouchers for private schools. With Fernandez, all options are on the table for parents, and her allegiance isn't to any lobbyist group. [Hispanic Commonweal: Eye on the Truth: How the Left Views School Choice]
WisPolitics reports that Wisconsin Education Association Council is ready to resume its role as that 800-pound gorilla. WEAC is set to saturate the Milwaukee airwaves from March 27 through April 6, the day before the spring election. One station listed an estimate for the market-wide buy at $149,000. Here in Madison, they've ponied up $26,750 to buy time on WISC-TV3. Paging Paul Soglin. Oh, that's right, he's only worried about WMC.
Still, it is significant that the Wisconsin State Journal endorsed Fernandez, which will give her (and the State Journal) some needed credibility. (The Journal used to wait until the last few days before it endorsed. Glad to see they are out of the gates earlier.)
With so many high school students failing to graduate in Milwaukee, with so much at stake for Wisconsin in the changing, knowledge-based economy, Fernandez is the best candidate to invigorate DPI. [Wisconsin State Journal: Fernandez would invigorate DPI.]
Even Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times appears to have taken to the education reform message. Sunday he was singing the praises of Michelle Rhee, the chancellor of Washington D.C. schools. Kristoff writes that "Education reform could be the most potent antipoverty program in the country." D'ya think?
has ousted one-third of the district's principals, shaken up the system, created untold enemies, improved test scores, and - more than almost anyone else - dared to talk openly about the need to replace ineffective teachers. … This is Ms. Rhee's second school year, and there is upheaval and recrimination - but also progress. Test results showed more educational gains last year than in the previous four years put together. [N.Y. Times: Education's Ground Zero]
Of course, the Democrats in Congress, in thrall to the teachers union, are trying to croak school choice.
As Chancellor Rhee correctly notes:
Part of my job is to make sure that all kids get a great education, and it doesn't matter whether that's in charter, parochial or public schools," Ms. Rhee said. "I don't think vouchers are going to solve all the ills of public education, but parents who are zoned to schools that are failing kids should have options to do better by their kids." [New York Times: Democrats Limit Future Financing for Washington Voucher Program]
So, who endorses The Kathleen? None other than Madison Teachers Inc. Talk about the status quo candidate.
Platinum subscriber level bonus material
- The Capital Times was fraught with worry about the dreaded curse of "divisiveness" on the Dane County Board in 1994 when the Blaska boys were riding high. But nary a word on divisiveness when it is their lil' darlin' from Progressive Dane, Madame Brenda.
- I've had my fun with Ed Garvey, who reminds me of Ted Kennedy - far Left but the embodiment of geniality. Now I have to give Ed credit for critiquing (to use the Marxist patois favored by John Nichols) the Obama regime. "There is something surreal about the president's cool response to the A.I.G. outrage. More Ivy League than Big Ten. Polo not rugby," Ed blogs at his Fighting Bob website.
- What A.I.G.? Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, zero to hero? Hey, taking the Dow up 500 points and the S&P 500 up 7% in one day will get your Blaskaman cheering, too. If this holds, it will have been a good three weeks. Cue up the Monkees: Now I'm a Believer!
- Rose Fernandez in her own words: Madison does not have all the answers. I'll second that!