Commentary on a 2019 Madison School Board Candidate Forum

David Blaska:

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.

Much more on the 2019 Madison school board election, here (primary February 19, general April 2)