For those of you who get the paper edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sundays, first of all, I’m sorry. 🙂
Also, every Sunday columnist Alan Borsuk offers his personal insight on schools. This week he takes a rosy outlook because his wife sees budding flowers or something like that. You’ll see when you read it.
Retired liberal MPS folks I know can’t stand Borsuk. They think he’s not liberal enough, and is too critical of MPS. They might be shocked when they pick up their paper Sunday.
Why? Because Borsuk is all giddy about all kinds of new spending on the rathole that is public education, but especially MPS.
The flood of federal money to Wisconsin schools. Wahoo! $2.2 billion is coming to Wisconsin public schools, thanks to the pandemic recovery funds approved by Congress and President Joe Biden. To be spent over the next several years, at least 20% of the money is required by federal law to be spent on programs to help students rebound from the impact of the pandemic. That could mean more summer school, more tutoring, smaller classes, extended school years, more teachers, and on and on. It could have real impact if spent well. We should be optimistic about handling this opportunity wisely, right?
The flood of federal money to Milwaukee Public Schools. Double wahoo! Maybe triple! MPS, with its great concentration of poverty, is due to get $798 million of that money. That’s equal to more than two-thirds of the annual budget for MPS. So much could be accomplished with this. More reason to be optimistic, of course.
Here we go again. It’s not like we haven’t heard it before. More money=better schools=better students=better achievement.
Same crap for the past 150 years. Proof it works? Non-existent.
“Even though he has not yet announced that he is running, and I certainly hope he does, I am giving my Complete and Total Endorsement to Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. He is brave, he is bold, he loves our Country, our Military, and our Vets. He will protect our Second Amendment, and everything else we stand for. It is the kind of courage we need in the U.S. Senate. He has no idea how popular he is. Run, Ron, Run!” President Trump endorsing US Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
“Today, we witnessed a blatant overreach and attack on our second amendment rights. The sitting president of the United States of America signed six executive orders aimed at stripping millions of legal gun owners across the country of their sacred, unalienable rights.
“It’s been said time and again – our Second Amendment right to bear arms is the only thing protecting the American people from an overreaching government. Our Constitution is set in stone. You don’t get to pick and choose which sections you adhere to and respect based off of a political agenda, and this bill makes that crystal clear.” State Senator Mary Felzkowski, a Republican lawmaker out of Tomahawk, is authoring legislation that would make Wisconsin a Second Amendment sanctuary state. The bill would prevent the federal government from confiscating firearms or ammunition which are legally owned and made in Wisconsin. Her announcement came on the same day President Joe Biden announced executive action on gun reform.
“Your sports league might be a little too woke if it will freely do business with Communists in China and Cuba, but boycotts a US state that wants people to show an ID to vote.” Senator Rand Paul
“[Major League Baseball] ditched Atlanta for a less diverse city in a state that has more restrictive elections over a bill that has a plurality of support.” Lisa Boothe
“Taking the All-Star game out of Georgia is an easy way to signal virtues without significant financial fallout. But speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party would involve a significant loss of revenue and being closed out of a lucrative market. I am under no illusion that Major League Baseball will sacrifice business revenue on behalf of its alleged corporate values. Similarly, I am under no illusion you intend to resign as a member from Augusta National Golf Club. To do so would require a personal sacrifice, as opposed to the woke corporate virtue signaling of moving the All Star Game from Atlanta.” Senator Marco Rubio to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred
“Stacey Abrams and the Democrats cost Georgia $100 million in revenue because they complained about something they didn’t read and they said something about it that wasn’t true.” Senator Rand Paul
“CHALLENGE: Find one Georgia citizen who WANTS to vote, but is thwarted by having no ID. Just one. And if you find one, watch how quickly their problem is solved by volunteers. What we have — in all likelihood — is an imaginary problem, which is fairly normal for us.” Scott Adams
“Denver’s black population … is somewhere around 9 percent. You want to see a segregated city, come visit Denver. That might be something [MLB Commissioner Rob] Manfred, who runs a league with one black majority owner, might ponder as his limo drives by the blinding whiteness of neighborhoods … on his way from Denver International to downtown. … A new Morning Consult poll shows only 36 percent opposition to the new law. Can you imagine what those polls would look like if most of the media weren’t blatantly lying about the bill 24-7? But Manfred obviously doesn’t care about the lies. He doesn’t care about the fans. He doesn’t care to know anything about the law. He doesn’t care about the black community. If he did, he wouldn’t have moved the game. Rob Manfred, like so many others who wilt at the first sign of left-wing hysterics, is there to protect Rob Manfred.” David Harsanyi
“Wait until the MLB finds out that the former president of Coors Brewing Company (Coors Field), Joseph Coors, was a Goldwater supporter and helped start the Heritage Foundation.” Amber Athey
“Delta, Coke, Major League Baseball, they all work in China, a country now committing genocide. What standards do we hold people to?” NY Times columnist David Brooks
“Our flight deck should reflect the diverse group of people on board our planes every day. That’s why we plan for 50% of the 5,000 pilots we train in the next decade to be women or people of color.” United Airlines
“I’m excited to never fly an airline that insists on hiring pilots by color rather than skill level. Because I’d be insane to fly an airline that does the opposite.” Ben Shapiro
“Paid leave is infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure.” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
“This tweet (Gillibrand’s) sums up the Democrat Party agenda now very well: Obvious falsehoods, repeated with religious zeal, brainwashing the simple to obey the powerful.” Buck Sexton
“Be careful what you wish for. Everyone thinks they love infrastructure: repairing bridges, roads, tunnels, schools, building out broadband, even investing in new technologies like AI and space and ultra-micro processing and so forth and so on. … President Trump talked about draining the swamp. But President Biden wants to rebuild and reinflate the swamp into a quagmire of central planning.” Larry Kudlow
“I think the CDC and the Biden administration needs to come out a lot bolder and say, ‘If you are vaccinated, you can do all these things. Here are all these freedoms that you have.’ Because otherwise, people are going to go out and enjoy these freedoms anyway.” CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen
“Wokeness is sort of the product of political correctness, and I don’t even understand how people who think logically can not see through what’s being done to divide us. We can’t be destroyed by Russia or China or North Korea or Iran or anyplace. We can only be destroyed by ourselves. And there are those who know that and therefore they plant the seeds of dissension.” Former HUD Secretary Ben Carson
“It’s really unacceptable that Biden is so obsessed with Trump reversals that he’ll literally put the American public, and these [migrant] kids, at risk the way he is. And then he gives Kamala Harris — apparently, she’s the one in charge. This is the same person who encouraged 7,000 migrants to come to America. She referred to ICE as the KKK. She’s now in charge of this. She’s been missing in action, and God help us if she ever becomes president, because if this is how she handles a crisis, I mean, I just can’t imagine how she would run our country.” Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley
The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…Originally written by both my lovely wife, Jennifer and me, this blog brings you the latest news about our furry friends including articles, columns, photos and videos. Enjoy!
THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.
TODAY: Cloudy with periods of rain. Chance of rain today and tonight: 100%. High of 52. “F”
SUNDAY: UPDATED: Partly to mostly cloudy. Slight chance of a rain shower. High of 57. “C”
Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.
Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
Back in February some people found this hilarious, creative, innovative.
The Wenatchee High School in Washington state provided its musically inclined students with individual pop-up tents for band rehearsals. Each student was zipped into their own pop-up tent, with their instrument. Together, the tent-wrapped musicians played and remained six feet apart. The band also rehearsed in shifts, to reduce social contact.
I found the whole scene rather silly. But even during COVID, music found a way.
This week, a rerun of a special blog from March of 2017 with some very talented kids.
“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” singer B.J. Thomas has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The 70-year-old legendary singer said he is receiving treatment in a Texas health care facility.
“I just wanted to take this unique opportunity to share my gratitude to Gloria, my wonderful wife and my rock for over 53 years, my family, friends, and fans,” Thomas said. “I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to record and perform beautiful songs in pop, country, and gospel music, and to share those wonderful songs and memories around the world with millions of you. I ask all of you for your prayers during this time and that my music can live on with you.”
“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” was written for the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Dionne Warwick convinced Bacharach to consider Thomas to sing the song. No one knew that the song had already been turned down by Bob Dylan and Ray Stevens.
The day before he was to record the song, Thomas was warned by his doctor not to sing. “I had come off a two-week tour and had laryngitis and was barely able to eke out the thing for the soundtrack,” Thomas recalls. He struggled through five takes before Bacharach was satisfied. An exec from 20th Century Fox at the recording session congratulated Thomas on how much his raspy voice sounded like Paul Newman’s.
Thomas says, “There’s maybe only two or three times in my career when I felt like I’d recorded a hit record, no doubt, and that was one of them.”
This won the Oscar for Best Song From A Motion Picture at the 1970 awards.
Two weeks after soundtrack was recorded a single version of the song for radio was recut at A&R Studios in New York, this one with a healthier performance from Thomas. Released in October 1969 to coincide with the movie, “Raindrops” climbed to No. 1 on January 3, 1970, and stayed there for four straight weeks.
At the 1969 Grammy Awards “Raindrops” was nominated for BEST CONTEMPORARY VOCAL PERFORMANCE, MALE. It lost to “Everybody’s Talkin'” by Harry Nilsson, who also beat out “Games People Play” by Joe South, “Gitarzan” by Ray Stevens, and get this, “My Way” by Frank Sinatra.
Just about everybody and his uncle, and that would include newspaper editorial writers, advocates for high, higher, highest voter turnout each and every Election Day. Not me.
I’ve blogged on the subject several times. Here’s one from August of 2016:
On Tuesday turnout in Franklin for the primary election was 25%. The predicted turnout was about 16% but as the chief inspector at my polling place told me Franklin always does better than expected.
Even so most newspaper editorial writers around the state would probably lament Franklin’s 25% turnout as dismal and a troubling social ill.
Even before a vote was cast the Beloit Daily News was expressing disgust.
“We in the news business become frustrated after working hard to keep issues of self-governance in front of people, large numbers of whom demonstrate lack of interest.”
Low voter turnout makes many people disappointed, even angry. As for me, I’m cool with it.
I wrote the following back in March of 2008:
I have blogged several times that I’m more than ok with a low voter turnout on Election Day.
Oh, the horror!
Yes, I know that such a notion sends newspaper editorial writers into orbit.
Then again, I don’t really care what editorial writers think. They’re notoriously wrong, most of the time.
If you haven’t read a single newspaper article about a certain election, you should stay home.
If you don’t know who the candidates are, you should stay home.
If you don’t know where the candidates stand on the issues, you should stay home.
If you’re basing your vote on the 30-second ad you saw the night before the election, you should stay home.
If you’re voting for a candidate because your spouse is, you should stay home.
If you’re voting for an incumbent because the incumbent has experience, you should stay home.
If you’re voting for the challenger because you feel it’s time for a change, you should stay home.
If after a gazillion months of campaigning, zillions of ads, trillions of news stories, and billions of speeches you wake up on Election Day and are undecided, please, please, please stay home.
I have nothing against a high voter turnout if somehow we could get more voters to the polls who have studied the issues and the candidates.
If voter turnout is low because people could care less or are unsure of who to choose because they just don’t know enough, I’m not going to lose any sleep.
Enter into the discussion my friend and former colleague at the state capitol Christian Schneider.
Schneider blogs about an interesting article he found in the 1958 edition of the Wisconsin Blue Book.
Lo and behold, the article says, “It is essential in a democracy that the people keep informed about the objectives and operations and operations of their government, exercise the privilege of voting and participate in the activities of their government.”
Schneider puts it bluntly, and well, I might add when he writes:
Basically, the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau had no problem essentially calling people dopes if they either made an ill-informed vote, or threw their vote away as a “protest.”
Schneider’s blog is worth a look, especially given the renewed controversy over photo ID. —March 4, 2008
MORE…from May of 2010:
Lo and behold I am proud that conservative columnist John Hawkins, one of my favorites feels the same way.
“In all honesty, we’d be better off if less people voted. If the only people voting were well informed, highly motivated people who paid income taxes, I guarantee you we’d have a much better government and a much better country,” Hawkins writes.
Today’s read is from best-selling author and radio talk-show host Larry Elder. Here’s an excerpt:
Suppose Obama encouraged Blacks to comply with the police and that if one feels mistreated, to get a name or badge number and sort it out later. Eric Garner died after an encounter where New York City cops arrested him for selling cigarettes. Had he not resisted, he would likely still be alive. Jacob Blake was shot several times by the Kenosha, Wisconsin, police when they suspected him of reaching for a knife. Had Blake complied, he would not be in a wheelchair today. Would that have encouraged Black suspects like George Floyd to respond differently to an encounter with the police?
On Tuesday Franklin voters had to choose among six candidates for three seats on the school board. Voters could select up to three but weren’t obligated to pick three. Four of the six were very liberal.
At the end of the night three liberals were elected. The lone conservative, my choice, Angela Christie, and a moderate incumbent, Claude Lewis, didn’t crack the top three.
With 96% of the vote in and Christie in 1st place I thought she had won a position. I was premature and wrong. A flurry of final votes dropped her down to 4th place. Lewis, who never lifted a finger to help himself during the campaign, never had much of a chance.
Was Christie done in by the numbers, one against five with voters having the option to opt for three?
Here are the final results:
Franklin Schools (3 seats) 100% of precincts reporting
Maqsood Khan 2,328 22%
Ann Sepersky 2,173 20%
Angela Bier 2,088 20%
Angela Christie 2,027 19%
Claude Lewis 1,245 12%
Shuchi Wadhwa 759 7%
As I wrote prior to the election typically in school board races throughout Wisconsin the slate of candidates as well as the actual board members are more liberal than the communities they come from. That has certainly been the case since I moved into Franklin in 1992.
The fact is Franklin is a majority conservative small city. It just is. However the school board has never truly represented the conservative values of the city in the nearly 30 years I’ve been a resident. That has bothered and perplexed me for a long time.
About the final tally, did Franklin voters take advantage of being able to vote for three candidates? I didn’t because in my view there weren’t three candidates worth my vote, only one for sure and two at best.
Consider out of 5,655 total votes cast in Franklin there were 3,669 under votes. What does that mean? More voters DIDN’T vote for all three than did. That suggests that the 1,956 who made three choices selected the three ultimate winners.
The conservative choice for state DPI Superintendent Debb Kerr also lost in Franklin.
Did conservatives stay home? Or, and I know you should never insult the voters, were they just inexplicably non-conservative? Or just plain dumb?
Strangely Franklin’s results contrast with those in the Oak Creek-Franklin joint school board where two incumbents who favored virtual school in the fall lost their seats. We’re also starting to hear similar reports in other districts that delivered loud and clear messages to liberal school board members. Franklin went just the opposite.
Let’s look at Tuesday’s winners.
When the Journal Sentinel asked candidates the simple question, “How would you assess the district’s plan to reopen schools during the COVID-19 pandemic?” Khan responded:
Khan: Franklin Public Schools made a good effort in reopening its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic. I realize it’s difficult for parents who quarantined their kids often because a classmate became infected. But frontline workers, like school nurses and me, got vaccinated. Teachers will too. According to the Jan. 20 Monitor and Transition Dashboard, 0.5 percent of the student population have tested positive — a low rate. I know the district carefully considers four trigger points before deciding to close a school for a two-week period. As a physician, I believe we must continue to wear masks, socially distance and get vaccinated.
Seems Khan was more concerned about preaching about COVID than what school district policy should be.
A simple yes or no would have sufficed Schools: Re-open or not? Good idea? Bad idea?
Khan had difficulty like other candidates answering direct questions with direct answers. Khan has a child in virtual and that’s OK, but never mentioned it, until I brought up the issue on my blog. His mother is in the late stages of dementia and at high risk of infection and death. Khan told me “We wanted to do what was best to keep our family safe.”
Why didn’t he just say that at the very beginning?
On diversifying the curriculum, Khan told the Journal Sentinel:
Currently the school curriculum involves superficial knowledge of different races, religions, communities and physical abilities. My daughter felt extremely uncomfortable when her classmates were picking on a student with special needs. Most curriculums address Japanese internment, but lessons should also combat misconceptions of racial minorities, religions and cultures. We must teach students about the variety of cultures that make up our world. Our curriculum needs to present history from many viewpoints, focus on contributions of all communities who have made the U.S. a great nation. The curriculum must empower students of all backgrounds.
My reaction: And who, which ethnicities, get included in the curriculum and which do not?
I do commend Khan for extensively utilizing social media.
She bragged about being an experienced leader. Prior to Tuesday no one had voted for her. She was appointed last fall to fill a vacancy on the board. Her other claim to fame was she attended lots and lots of meetings. Color me unimpressed.
On diversifying the curriculum Sepersky told the Journal Sentinel:
More than ever our society as a whole needs to change and include the voices of all. Schools have always been the place that have helped us grow as a nation and we’ve seen that this year as well. We need to ensure that our educators feel supported to include diverse perspectives and underrepresented voices, and that the perspectives of our own diverse student body are included and celebrated.
I understand the candidates were asked about diversity. This emphasis on diversity instead of the basic and critical components of learning for the future that Sepersky fails to mention is political correctness. How about a response like: Diversity, while important, should not be our highest priority. She worries me.
Signed the recall petition against Scott Walker.
Also proudly signed the recall petition against Walker with nary a clue about how ACT 10 saved the state billions of dollars and also rescued school districts and their financing.
On re-opening schools Bier told the Journal Sentinel:
I was concerned that re-opening in the face of a high community burden was risky. However, students and staff have gone above and beyond to work for the common good, follow recommended safety protocols, and truly limit spread in school. I’ve never been so happy to be proven wrong.
Bier was initially wrong and admitted it. But she should have been supportive of in-person school from the very beginning. Her overall judgment is questionable.
On diversifying the curriculum Bier told the Journal Sentinel:
As with all high-stakes changes, significant curriculum change should involve all relevant stakeholders, including informed parents, community members, teachers, and content experts. If changes are recommended, we must then assess what is being lost and whether it is a good tradeoff. Perhaps as important as diversifying curriculum, Franklin should focus on hiring a diverse, qualified professional staff. All students deserve to have teachers that look like them, as well as those who do not, in order to prepare them to work in a diverse economy and world.
Again, too much focus on diversity. And that’s troubling.
On district improvements Bier stunningly told the Journal Sentinel:
Franklin has long needed an improved high school gymnasium and associated facilities. This should be a public-private partnership, maximizing fundraising arms of the district to leverage motivated private entities’ philanthropic missions. If public funding via referendum is still required, we must commit to robust public access to the space for recreational programming.
We already spend a fortune on our schools. Another referendum to increase spending and taxes is absurd. Bier is scary.
BOTTOM LINE: Franklin has elected a school board firmly in WEAC’s back pocket. Teachers and administrators will come first above parents and students. As I wrote before the election, after Tuesday the Franklin School Board will still be filled with liberal rubber stamps for the teachers union and the administration.
And as one astute reader of mine noted, here come the referenda.