Worse, he won’t apologize!
Our … acquaintances are angry that Blaska does not admit his guilt. Tuesday night on Madison’s isthmus, he got a smattering of boos and catcalls for saying so.
The occasion was a school board candidate forum. An organization named GRUMPS sponsored it. It stands for GRandparents United for Madison Public Schools. Its major domos are former school board members Nan Brien, Anne Arnesen, Barbara Arnold, Arlene Silviera, and Carol Carstensen. We also encountered former board guys Bill Keyes, Bill Clingan, and Ed Hughes Tuesday at the venue, Christ Presbyterian Church on E. Gorham St. All are good liberals and — in today’s identity politics-riven world — white as Wonder Bread.
This is the teachers union-first cabal that voted down Kaleem Caire’s proposed Madison Prep Academy charter school eight years ago. Because, you must understand, protecting the public school monopoly takes precedence over closing the academic achievement gap. Then and now. GRumps is death on school choice, death on vouchers, death on “non-instrumentality” charter schools formed within the district. Which forced Mr. Caire to go to Governor Walker to start his One City Learning Center.
Despite their hegemony over Madison’s public schools these last 20 years, they assume no responsibility for its endemic racial achievement gap. (See my website at BlaskaForSaferSchools.)
This top-down, command-and-control philosophy — so Madison! — informed GRumps questions.
Have you stopped beating your wife?
The nine active candidates were asked if they supported informing Madison residents through their tax bill of how much state money is lost to private, usually religious, voucher schools. A clever and insidious propagandizing, that. Yes or No.
No explanation accepted at this forum. No caveat that every student in Wisconsin gets a share of state dollars and that those dollars follow the student. It’s called “choice” for a reason. No exposition on the fact that the parents of 28,000 largely minority and “economically disadvantaged” students in Milwaukee have chosen hope over the failed public schools there.
Yes or No!
No calling for public schools to up their game so that more kids will choose those public schools. Yes or No!
Blaska answered No!
Significantly, the liberal ladies asked no questions concerning school discipline, the Behavior Education Plan, or Cops in Schools. Aren’t those topics at the forefront in PTO meetings, the news headlines, and in the chaotic school board meetings themselves? Blaska had to work his way to discussing this pressing issue.
All nine of the candidates addressed the racial achievement gap in one way or another. But most of them blamed the same old bugaboo: racism as opposed to actual, you know, achievement. They prescribed the same old same old, only more of it.
Anyone look like her?
Seat #5 candidate Ananda Mirilli went a step further. She race-shamed the overwhelmingly liberal audience. She didn’t see, she scolded, anyone who looked like her in the audience of 120. That could mean that she is not a twin. (No one looked like Blaska, either, which is probably fortunate.) Or it could mean that GRumps is supposed to search out Latinas. Anyone’s guess as to the proper amount.
The room at the uber-liberal Christ Presbyterian Church, Ms. Mirilli lectured, was not “inclusive.” Not “welcoming.”
I reminded the lady of her effort at guilt-tripping afterward, remarking, “Yet, here we are, shaking hands.” Strange, this identity politics. Mowing your lawn is also a sign of white supremacy, we’ve been told.
In his closing remarks, Blaska recounted (near as I can reconstruct) the visit of a graduating class of a charter school in Chicago that had been invited to the CUNA Mutual auditorium a decade ago to support Kaleem Caire’s dreamed-of charter. Handsome young men “of color,” dressed in slacks and a sport coat emblazoned with the school’s crest.
Their dean of students, himself a black man, was firm. “I discipline hard,” he declared. “BUT I LOVE HARDER.”
Blaska, in his closing statement, continued:
Racial disparity in achievement is real. But quit blaming our teachers. They are not racists! The kids hijacking cars and shooting up the school bus are not being turned away at the schoolhouse door. Blaska did not eat anyone’s homework. Madison wants to help but cannot as long as we keep telling those kids they are victims incapable of making a better future.
We closed by exposing the myth of implicit bias. Blaska lamented his old man never divulged our “white privilege” when he handed me a shovel and a wheelbarrow and pointed at the old red barn that redolent spring morning.
That got the boo-birds a-fluttering.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Here at the Policy Werkes, we think of it as Madison exposure therapy. More treatment is prescribed.
Identity Studies for Extra Credit: The Washington Post reported on a Texas bar registration card from 1986 in which Elizabeth Warren had written “American Indian” when asked to identify her race.