Another gem from Bill Keys and AMPS

Since Advocates for Madison Public Schools doesn’t allow access to the archived posts of its listserve, I post the following to illustrate the contempt these people feel toward anyone who isn’t in lock-step with their point of view:

Subject: [advocatesformadisonpublicschools] Summer Exercise for “Advocates”
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2006 23:51:45 -0000
Here’s an interesting post from a local blog:

I wil be moving to the madison area soon and need to find schools that
realize “gifted” children do have special needs. I can not waist anymore time trying to get this point accross to educators because meanwhile my cildren suffer. Where is the the best public school for gifted children in the Madison area? I will purchase a home right next door and hopfully I can stop fighting to get my children a proper education

And so “advocates”…how would you answer if she ran into you at the
grocery store?

Bill Keys then responded:

Can’t resist the snark of thinking maybe she wants the education she was apparently denied as she wasted time in school. If the King of Typos can catch this one…
AND “cildren.”
Tell her to send her kid to the school of hard knocks.
It’s right next door to the house for sail.

You could say that this is only Bill Keys ranting, but not one — NOT ONE — of the AMPS leaders or listserve subscribers challenges or chides him.
The hostility of AMPS people comes out in the body language and sneers on their faces toward other candidates when AMPS people attend candidate forums and in the disrespect they show toward people who testify before the board and its committees.
It’s so sad that they apparently don’t want an open organization marked by respect for children, teachers, and parents.

27 thoughts on “Another gem from Bill Keys and AMPS”

  1. …and AS USUAL Ed, you left out some of the posts. Since I was the one who posted the question, let me share another response:
    “Re: Summer Exercise for “Advocates”
    Ya know, I’m not the best at punctuation or spelling. I’m the queen
    of typos.
    What’s interesting is to do the exercise. How would you respond?
    Why do you think the way that you do? Why do you believe in MMSD or
    public education? As a member of this group, this is the message we
    should think about.
    Isn’t it interesting that a taxpayer in Wisconsin would actually
    advocate for another school or another district?
    For ever[y] child we lose, we are actually encouraging a loss in funding
    rather than providing them with solutions or helping them advocate
    for their children.
    (*sarcasm*) Isn’t that a great marketing plan?
    A couple neighbors have asked “Why do you continue to hit your head
    against the brick wall? Cut your losses.” My answer: “Because I
    continue to learn more about my community. As well, I figure, I
    already pay tuition. It’s included in my property taxes and if all
    future parents would advocate alike, I will continue to support our
    public schools well into the future.”
    I always read any presentation of research with perspective; an
    understanding that each author has his/her own goal to achieve. What
    is our goal? What is the oppositions goal? Have you ever thought
    about that? How do we advocate? Have any of us simply nodded in
    agreement that MMSD is horrible? What are the solutions to the
    issues we face and how can we be an advocate group to better
    Madison’s public education?
    You don’t need to answer…I just wanted to prompt some thought.”
    …Funny how this post still pertains today. Especially to you Ed! Don’t lump people into a singular category and DON’T share only the view you want to portray for YOUR own benefit. It is not becoming.

  2. That is why quoting, or as in the example above shows, misquoting, other blogs is a problem. Thank goodness AMPS has decided to address this problem. So, once again we are taken off of the subject on how the revenue caps are affecting our schools. I wasted my time trying to figure out what the real response was to bill’s remarks. Thanks for finding it Mari. No wonder school board members do not want to respond to this blog. They would spend most of their time addressing misinformation, innuendo and yes, outright lies. This could be a full time job.

  3. Ya know what I like best about MMSD? Even my youngest child has learned, yes, actually been taught their are two sides to every story.
    I’ve posted this ‘theme’ in the past on other blogs, and why it should surprise me to see bias here…well, I shouldn’t be that surprised.
    You’re being influenced readers!
    1. Notice Soglin’s link (scroll below) is linked where it suits the needs of where this list wants to take you…but this link is not shared:
    2. A NON-PARTISAN BLOG wouldn’t state the endorsements and would make the election about the CANDIDATES themselves!
    WOW…I started off here 2-3 years back thinking…gee a site that might really matter. Afterall, it is called School Info Systems. But, “OH!” the information here is so *select* and *bias*.
    The only way, MMSD voters, for YOU to get to know the candidates who meet YOUR ideals is to first, define what ‘public education’ means to you and then go to a forum or call the candidates themselves!

  4. I think that’s why Jim has posted links to all the candidates’ websites – so we can learn about them and what their issues are.
    Folks have brought up their concerns to Jim about the more personal/sarcastic comments on the blog, as recently as this past weekend, but his perspective is to keep the blog open. Frankly, I’m not familiar with ANY local blogs that don’t have their point of view – that’s okay with me. I’m not always comfortable with what I read, but I value the discussions and perspectives even if I don’t always share their opinions.

  5. I’m a First Amendment Fan
    67 people have logins to post on the center section of this site. If you’d like one, send me an email: zellmer at gmail dot com
    Interestingly, I read two articles recently which drive home the importance and price of free speech:
    Michael Specter’s Letter from Moscow
    Breaking the Chains
    With respect to Mari’s comment regarding links (Mari has long had a login to SIS), I linked to Paul’s recent post on MMSD funding, special ed and politicians here:
    That post links to Paul’s endorsement of Marj Passman (vs. Maya Cole).
    I also linked to Paul’s endorsement post on the election page, a location that gets more traffic as the election date draws near:
    Former Madison Mayor Paul Soglin has interacted with MTI’s John Matthews for decades and has generally supported their candidates.
    Finally, while I certainly do have a point of view, one can find links to all candidates on the SIS home page and throughout the site. It’s also important that voters understand what specific endorsements (including money, leafletting, phone bank and political strong-arming) mean with respect to what’s best for our children and community. The 4-3 vote on concessions before negotiations illustrates the point. MTI, along with others can and should advocate for the issues that it deems best for its members. Our publicly elected school board should do the same for the students and community.
    Our community is better off if these issues are discussed publicly, rather than in the typical “smoke filled room” as it were.
    SIS is not alone in this quest. The Sunlight Foundation has done a remarkable job addressing the extraordinary congressional abuse of earmarks:

  6. Hear, hear, Jim, especially the part about voters needing to understand the practical implications of specific candidate endorsements and the impact of those endorsements on our children’s education and well-being (in the event that the endorsed candidates are elected).
    You are to be commended for your open, fair and even-handed management of this site. Personally, I don’t like it when anyone — even my friends — goes on a rant or engages in sniping and other destructive behavior. I also don’t like it when people leave (though I highly recommend occasionally taking a break).
    Twenty-five years ago, I had to read a paper in graduate school entitled “The Myth of Left-Wing Authoritarianism.” Myth? Hardly. Nothing prevents progressives from being jerks and having smoke-filled rooms. Power corrupts, as they say. Absolutely power corrupts absolutely, it seems clear. And in Madison, certain progressives (Madison progressives are a pretty heterogeneous bunch, don’t you think?) have had a lot of power for a long time. Long enough to be pretty corrupt, if you ask me.

  7. So did my rant prove my point?
    1. That most media is developed to provide bias and rarely do we the public receive facts from both perspectives to help us make up our own minds.
    2. Every author has a purpose; a goal in mind to persuade his/her audience.
    3. Endorsements are a part of the process; always have been, always will be. What I disagree with here, is advertising to influence the SIS readers rather than encouraging our citizens to research and discover our candidates on their own. It is common knowledge that some groups are held in higher esteem than others, depending on the part of the city in which you live. To focus on those few, rather than the whole should not be the goal. To “educate” should be the goal.
    MMSD did a great job with my children in educating them to be aware of what they read and to make their decision based on their own ideals. I hope our citizens can do the same.

  8. Wow…quite ironic don’t ya think?…I mean…I had to go back to the two previous posts from Jim and Laurie.
    Besides the First Amendment, our country is missin’ a bit of that ol’ ‘golden rule’: “Treat others like you want to be treated.” Point out a bit of imbalance or partiality and…well, need I say more. I guess I don’t have to try to explain then, my lack of posting and sharing another point of view OR just posting to play devil’s advocate.
    Look, this is a conservative site, no doubt. So why would you attack Soglin who was the more conservative candidate in our last mayoral race, other than to make your point that he didn’t endorse YOUR candidate? Yes, in Madison ya got your left and ya got your FAR LEFT, but what we lack most is RESPECT.
    For the first time, I’m actually going to take Laurie’s advice and take a welcomed break. I ‘ve read enough “Do as I say and not as I do” as I can take!

  9. I didn’t know this is a conservative site. It seeems to me that education is a topic on which many people split from their party. I observe in everyday life that the progressive philosophy on education has flaws and cannot just fall into lockstep. I need to make independent judgements. What sounds right and fair and compassionate on paper, may not work in the real world. When reality and theory butt heads, theory has to yield, regardless of how attractive the theory may be.
    It’s a bit like Catholics who love their religion too much to switch, but fundamentally disagree with abortion/contraception policies of their church. But the Catholics at least have lots of choices if they want to switch religions. In the U.S., political alternatives are about as limited as can be. One is lucky to find that one can agree with 75% of what one of the parties represents.

  10. Ditto for me about being unaware that this site is “conservative.” In fact, I had to laugh when I was listening to the radio and heard this site characterized as a “Republican front.” Gosh, I thought, I’m a relative newcomer to SIS, and it has never occurred to me that I was posting to a site with the bent that some would claim it has.
    All of this labeling is ridiculous to me. Perhaps I’m just not one for using generalizations to try to simplify issues that truly aren’t simple.

  11. Conservatives call me liberal and liberals call me conservative. I’m having an identity crisis!! I don’t think Mari is giving folks enough credit for being able to weed out fact from propaganda. Most people don’t get all of their information from one source.

  12. Dear Ann R: Welcome to my world! The most interesting part is that most people are willing to accept the label without questioning its accuracy. The up side is that I’ve had friends howling with laughter when I tell them that there are people in town who use the term “neo-con” to smear me.

  13. I’d love for someone to tell me what they mean when they call this a conservative site. Is it daring to question the status quo or to ask for accountability? Seems to me those happiest with the current situation are likeliest to defend it, and unhappily in this town that can include calling your opponent dirty names like “conservative”. Isn’t this precisely what the Marc Eisen piece was driving at, you know, Marc Eisen, editor of that conservative mouthpiece Isthmus?
    I think the reason for the snarkiness and namecalling and temper tantrums about never ever posting or reading SIS again have a common root–this site threatens the status quo.
    And I say, thank goodness SIS exists. Before it, about the only way anything that veered in the slightest from “rah rah MMSD” was whispered to friends, like prisoners did in the Gulag. Do you know how many families were told the same thing when they raised a concern with the administration–“you’re the first family to tell us this”. And how about this trick–staff responding negatively to a concern the last day before winter or spring break or summer vacation.
    Until SIS, most folks, maybe not the well-organized special ed parents, but the rest of us, had no place to share our concerns, to seek better solutions. We also now have a place to support candidates for the BOE who want answers from the administration, not stonewalling and budget sleights of hand, who seek new directions after listening to broad community input, in other words, who would be something other than a rubber stamp for the Rainwater/Matthews administration.
    I welcome hearing from someone defending current practices, but I’m not going to sit back quietly and take it if someone doesn’t like the fact that there is a debate, nor will I stay silent when someone takes personal potshots at posters here in the process.

  14. These days, and in this town, I certainly would not want to be labeled liberal or progressive as in Progressive Dane, Bill Keys, John Matthews, Tony Casteneda. From my perspective, their mindless drivel, lack of rationality, hate, and thorough irrresponsibiity places them a considerable distance from where we need to be.
    Being labeled a conservative as in Bush, Cheney, Ann Coulter, Vicki McKenna, is equally distasteful. Like the liberals and progressives, they also spew mindless drivel, irrationality, hate and irresponsibility. “Conservative” is synonymous with sociopath.
    I actually see very little hope that things will get better.
    Regardless of the educational theories, regardless of money being poured into schools, regardless of the curriculum and pedagogy chosen, failure of our kids to be educated is guaranteed because the vast majority of the adults in this society (certainly those we, voluntarily, vote into office and control the airwaves) simply do not model the integrity we demand of our kids, do not model intelligent behavior, do not model critical thinking.
    Frankly, our kids are becoming just like us. We are appalled, and blame everyone but outselves.

  15. I’m so conservative that I was walking picket lines and marching in the streets for justice before most of the blog posters were born! Back in those days, I was red-baited. (For you young ‘uns, that means being accused of being a communist, which was probably worse than being a child molester.)
    Nothing has changed about my political pespective, and now I’m neocon-baited.

  16. I’m kind of in the same spot as Ed. I spent a considerable number of years in really conservative areas of the country, and the thing that strikes me is how the dominant political elites (conservative there, liberal here) are equally intolerant and strike out hatefully when questioned. In conservative areas they like to label thinking Republicans as RINOs (republican in name only). Here they throw around the “neo-con” label, or “Republican,” when a liberal doesn’t kowtow to the positions of the political elite.

  17. Just wait. I want to see if I have this correct. You post that “NOT ONE — of the AMPS leaders or listserve subscribers challenges or chides him.” Mari reposts her response that proves you were wrong. And you claim that YOU are being mischaracterized. And, how does posting things that are not true add to the debate and real discourse of the issues. I can see why Mari is taking a break.

  18. I’m so conservative, when I was a graduate student, I was a department steward for the Teaching Assistants Association (TAA), and in a union-hostile department, no less.
    I’m so conservative, I caucused for Jesse Jackson back in 1984. (Anyone else out there in the assembly chambers that day? It was Wisconsin’s last caucus season.)
    I’m so conservative, I was one of the million people who marched in New York’s Central Park on June 12, 1982, during the U.N. session on nuclear disarmament. Some friends and I carried a banner that read “Massachusetts Psychologists for Social Responsibility.”
    I’m so conservative, I remember when DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) was DSOC (Democratic Socialists Organizing Committee) … largely because I was a longtime regular reader of “In These Times.”
    I’m so conservative, I used to envy my New York and Chicago friends who were “red diaper babies.”
    I’m so conservative, not only do I know who Michael Harrington was, I wept on the day he died … AND I’ve read his autobiography (“Long Distance Runner”) … AND my kids know who he was.
    That’s how conservative I am.

  19. TeacherT,
    I’m sorry, but I don’t see Marisue’s post as calling Bill Keys on the carpet.
    If my memory serves me correctly, she didn’t make a peep on the AMPS listserve when Bill Keys mocked people.
    That’s why I think AMPS people like and agree with Bill’s rants.

  20. Ed, you’re memory does NOT serve you correct. As well your initial post and reference to Bill Keys stating both is not true either! You’re continued bashing of individuals is outrageous.
    As for my last post, either you’re all very blog savvy in switching from my point or the goal of my message was really lost.
    To get things straight, I thought most people agree that all candidates need to be fiscally minded and responsible. I really didn’t think I was referring to a political point of view. I was not name calling. To state an intimate relationship between Soglin and Matthews truly minimizes his ability to make his own decision based on his own questions toward the candidates and his own ideals of public education.
    To clarify the focus of my last statement:
    Freedom of speech is the concept of the inherent human right to voice one’s opinion publicly without fear; I, personally, don’t feel that’s done well here. We have all ranted and raved and don’t need to point fingers anywhere but at ourselves.
    And, as far as the politics of the Madison School Board: Until each person on the board, truly respects one another and minimizes their own personal agenda’s, debating with administration and talking with teachers to get an understanding of today’s classrom…final decisions will never be made in the best interest of our students.

  21. Again – SIS is posting the same information on all the candidates if it is available and has links to a variety of sites with differing opinions. To me, it’s about sharing ideas, having conversation and continuing dialogue. Individual bloggers have their own opinions – which are NOT the opinion of SIS, which does not have a single voice. SIS is not endorsing candidates.
    And, if Ed misses a quote, there are folks who will, and do, point this out, taking him to task for it while others might think he got it just right and say so. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?
    Lucy, my friends are also howling with laughter when they hear I’m supposedly posting on a conservative site rife with neo-cons! What rubbish!

  22. Marisue,
    If you posted a comment complaining about the rants Bill Keys posts on the AMPS listserve, please send it to me. I’ll post it here.
    Free speech is fine with me. I won’t take it away from Keys or anyone else.
    I posted Keys’ rants to illustrate the hostility AMPS shows toward anyone who dares to suggest improvements in the MMSD and doesn’t lead cheers for the administration.
    Marisue, when you see Bill Keys again, give him the lecture about respect.

  23. Ed,
    No need to send you the post. It has already been shared.
    It has been my experience that suggestions and improvements have always been well received by AMPS; unfortunately, the BOE has a difficult road ahead of them due to 13 years of revenue caps. The cuts from any one of our programs WILL affect my child.
    If you have something to say to someone speak to them yourself. Don’t pigeon hole me Ed, don’t suggest to the readers that you know me or my ideals; you don’t!

  24. Ed,
    If I’m interpreting your comment accurately, you find Carol’s comment in response to Reed objectionable. Do you find the tone of her response more objectionable than the tone of Reed’s comment?

  25. Good quesiton, Tim.
    Reed’s posts seem to bristle with anger, which is not unusual when people talk about the MMSD and education issues. It’s easy to see his feelings and understand them.
    Carol’s comments (and many from administrators and other board members) seem less forthright. They carry a condescending implication that the writer or commenter just doesn’t know enough to be speaking up and that only the insiders and administrators know the real reasons and the real truth for whatever subject might be under discussion.
    The condescention comes off like a little pat on the head for a well-meaning but ill-informed child. And concludes with something like, “Now run along, Reed.”
    Yeah, I find the subtle implications more offensive.

  26. Ed, I think many people are very anxious about public education today, both in terms of outcomes for their own children in an increasingly competitive world and the property tax level. This adds emotion to what are already serious issues. On the reverse of the coin, we “educrats” routinely face criticisms that sometimes have a basis and sometimes are pointed with no basis at all. In some situations, you need rhino hide and almost no one has that 100% of the time. In combination, you get a corrosive effect on civil discussion.
    It’s hard to influence people with a tone that is rude, snarky, or condescending, regardless of the merits of your viewpoint. I’ve always believed the old adage about honey and vinegar and hope that I generally toe that line. Although regrettably not at a Dale Carnegie level!
    So while I acknowledge that folks have strong feelings, I fail to see the practical benefits when civility breaks down.

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