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I agree Governor! Let’s Make Public Schools “Whole”

Kathleen Vinehout
May 27, 2015
 
I agree Governor! Let’s Make Public Schools “Whole”
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Our number one priority gotta to be make (sic) sure that we make K-12 schools, public education in the state, a priority to make sure they’re held whole,” said Governor Walker on April 23rd, as quoted by Wisconsin Radio Network.
 
I agree, Governor! Let’s make public schools “whole.”
 
In a recent late night session, the state’s budget writing committee took up public school funding. Many advocates expected a turnaround in the governor’s proposed funding for local schools. Instead folks got a big surprise: lots of changes asked for by private school lobbyists. Not so for public schools.
 

Things that go bump in the night

Monster

Last night was another of those "monster rears its head in the middle of the night" events in Wisconsin. The JFC has opened yet another chapter in their "Little Golden Book of Bad Ideas" and have created a new school funding monster.

Where to start? It's another one of those "we'll take away a gazillion dollars from the schools, then give some back so we'll look good" moments. Only the amount they give back is nearly impossible to determine.  New school funding formulas confuse the issue. People with a bachelor's degree in - well, anything - get to be teachers. Expanded vouchers confuse the issue. And a new absolutely crazy idea to take over "failing" schools by a school czar in the Milwaukee County Government perhaps takes the cake as the worst idea to come out of the legislature yet.  Wisconsin education is recently subject to a lot of give and take, but take seems to be winning by a landslide.

The new school takeover plan not only allows Milwaukee County to usurp power over schools, but it also potentially expands the scheme to "failing" schools in Racine and Madison. It seems the legislature is hell-bent to privatize schools at any cost, and to not even consider programs to improve what we already have. And the impact on the schools and taxpayers in the state?  They don't really care. 

If only the monster they were creating was as friendly as the one here. He actually cared about kids.  Please note that there are two meetings in Milwaukee tonight to fight this - they're in the site calendar.  If you want to know more, i've provided a link to a great blow-by-blow of this at Monologues of Dissent, as well as a link to the bill.  Read 'em and weep. 

Scott Walker, foreign policy expert

Now that our governor has visited -- several - foreign countries, he is proclaiming himself the candidate with foreign policy experience. Unlike, say, Hillary Clinton who has never been out of the house much because she's a woman, after all.

In that light I would like to offer up a little mnemonic for Scott Walker. This will help him to remember what proper US Foreign Policy really is. As always, Tom Lehrer has a solution for everything.

Tom Lehrer - Send the Marines - with intro - widescreen

Audit Affirms Complaints but also Satisfaction with Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Program

Kathleen Vinehout
May 20, 2015
 
Audit Affirms Complaints but also Satisfaction with Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Program
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
Last April I wrote about many complaints I received concerning rides to medical appointments for folks in BadgerCare and other Medicaid programs.
 
People complained drivers didn’t show up, rides were late, drivers didn’t arrive for the return trip home and – at least in one case – the heater did not work in a van taking an elderly woman for her dialysis appointment.
 
Often patients were told no drivers were available. But local transportation companies told me they were not getting enough business. Local drivers thought the St. Louis-based contractor, Medical Transportation Management, Inc. (MTM) favored a few large companies over small local ones.  MTM is the statewide Non-Emergency Medical Transportation ‘broker’ the state hired to arrange rides for eligible patients.

Regarding Russ Feingold, RoJo and Milwaukee newspaper both hooked on drug metaphors

Separated at birth: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial writers and Sen. Ron Johnson. At least it looked that way reading Sunday's newspaper. Note the oddly similar constructions in the news pages and the editorial pages regarding former Sen. Russ Feingold's decision to run against Johnson next fall (boldfacing added):

1. News story: "Russ Feingold is a career politician," Johnson said in his speech. "He's addicted to it... ."

Russ is in!

Russ Feingold

This morning Russ Feingold announced that he is running against Ron Johnson for US Senator.  This isn't a big surprise since there have been indications over the last few month that he is running.  Good luck to Russ in the upcoming election - you have the support of progressives throughout the state.

The Uppity Fund 2016 donation pool will be set up and running within the next few weeks, so you'll be able to donate to Russ and other progressive candidates right here.

Watch the Announcement Video

Officer Matt Kenny will not be charged in Tony Robinson case

A few minutes ago Judge Ismael Ozanne ruled that officer Matt Kenny will not be charged in the fatal shooting of Tony Robinson.  Looking distinctly nervous during the press conference, Ozanne first spoke to the issue that racial discrimination is still a serious issue in law enforcement in this country, and discussed the events leading up to the shooting and the evidence that he used in coming to his decision.

This perhaps softened the blow of the decision in a community that has been very concerned about this shooting since it happened. There will certainly be marches and protests over the next several days, including a scheduled march tonight. Here at Uppity Wisconsin we ask you to please help to make these marches peaceful and respectful to all - there's no point in any escalation of violence in this truly sad case.

Tony Robinson decision: WISC LIVE coverage

Time to Return to a State Department of Commerce

Kathleen Vinehout
May 13, 2015
 
Time to Return to a State Department of Commerce
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“When do we return the economic development initiative and the checkbook to the control of a state agency” John Dunn of Mauston asked in a letter to Legislators. “The WEDC has again failed to follow state law and its own policies in awarding taxpayer-funded incentives to state companies. We need accountability to taxpayers.”
 
Not following the law, and not acting in a transparent and accountable way is a frequent criticism of the state’s economic development operations.
 
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), created in 2011 as an independent authority, fell under criticism again with the recent release of another audit showing that WEDC failed to follow state laws and its own policies when awarding grants, loans and tax credits to businesses and failed to independently verify whether or not promised jobs were actually created.

Delusional former Marquette undergrad takes five day non-credit study abroad Course.

Scott Walker, a former Marquette University undergraduate student has announced that he has enrolled in a five day non-credit study abroad course offered by “Our American Revival”. He will be attending on a “full ride” scholarship provided by “Our American Revival”.

The delusional undergraduate imagines himself as a member of some unknown royal family as he continues to use the “royal we” as he describes his non-credit study abroad experience.

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