Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
By guest bloggers
Bob and Jean Dohnal
Wis. Conservative Digest
We cannot let all of our education money go to waste, just feeding the bureaucrats and shorting the kids.
In Wisconsin we have several major components of education, all of which desperately need to be reformed. We start out with DPI, then the University system, Tech Schools, K-12 Educrats, Teachers, Unions and then students. Notice who is last on everyone's list? Who gets 20% of the money spent on them and the other 80% goes mostly for the bureaucrats?
Allen Borsuk has an MJS article about what else, but funding. That is always what all the whining is about, "funding", as if we toss a few bucks more into the pot that we will magically see some great improvement in the kids’ abilities to function and improve this world. We have more than tripled the spending on education in this state the last 40 years, above inflation, and we see students accomplishments go down.
For several years we heard the teacher’s union crow about SAT and ACT test scores and how well we did in Wis. Then someone figured out that we were cherry picking the kids, to take the tests, and then when we started testing everyone, scores plummeted.
In MPS, we have some good programs and some good schools, but you cannot hide the fact that only 30% of the kids, in tenth grade, can read the Journal on any given day. How do we expect them to succeed? Will they continue to be wards of the state or can we improve them enough to go out and lead the world in the next decades?
Will pounding more money into those programs mean an improvement in kids’ successes? I doubt it. We need some real reformers.
Dept. Public Instruction
What a name, they do not instruct any one and they burn up almost a billion dollars per year. Far better to shut this operation down, toss the money into the local districts, reduce property taxes and put the rest of them into classroom instruction to teach kids to read and understand math and science. This has been the benefit program for the teachers unions for years and that is why it has become worthless, a program that Don Pridemore can fix.
Let us go to the University systems in this state. Why can't we graduate kids in four years with basic degrees? Why do they have to come out with huge debts? What has changed since I went to pharmacy school in the 60's and came out with $150 in debt? Where is the money going? Why does the University system exist? For the benefit of the system or for the benefit of the kids?
In the Economist, it has been reported, that the last 40 years, has shown that the addition of ancillary bureaucrats to the University systems has now surpassed the number of teachers in the systems. The best place to start is to toss out half of these administrators; they soak up tons of money with their salaries, secretaries and bennies. Few of them benefit the kids.
In Florida and Texas, both governors have demanded that the schools put together programs that kids can graduate, with basic degrees for $10,000 cost per year, in 4 years. That is not too much to ask. If the present leaders cannot accomplish that, then let's toss them out and get leaders that can. This is what the families of this state deserve and they will back these types of reforms.
We are not graduating or giving the kids that go to these schools the tools that they need to get jobs in the areas that need them. We do not need more overpaid teachers; they make more than University professors, producing more liberal arts degrees in these schools.
When this system was formed, 40 years or so back, many of us complained that the governing systems, these schools were taken from the local school systems and bunched together, were taken from elected officials and changed to appointed boards. They have become dominated by the teachers unions and have existed for their benefit, not the kids. We need to change the governance of this system and reform it completely.
State Senator Glenn Grothman made some attempts at this last session, but we have a lot more to do. I and many others have felt that the tech schools should be combined into one system, become a cabinet member of the governor who would then have responsibility for their operation. If they fail to do what needs to be done, we can quickly make changes and at least there is someone that is responsible for them. At present there is no chance of fixing problems with an unresponsive board that exists to butter its own bread and that of the teachers.
Again, we have systems that are not accomplishing what needs to be done in all areas of the state, with the urban areas the worst. Where is the money going? Why can't these kids read?
My wife, Jean, was a third grade teacher. She knows that if kids can't read by third grade we will lose them. In Finland, the most respected system in the world, almost 100% of the kids can read by third grade. What system do they use? Whatever works.
Too often, we get mired in a curriculum that does not work, overseen by an administration, like MPS, that is incapable of changing and far more interested in preserving its power than seeing kids succeed. I have listened to teacher after teacher complain that they want kids to succeed and the administrations are their worst enemies. Why do we have more administrators now, per student, than we did in the 70's.
Teachers and Unions
The union movement has done more to destroy education in this state than any one thing in our history. Prior to the Unionization the teachers were poorly paid and had few benefits, which was wrong. The union movement was born from this situation, but now it has gone over the top, causing the unions to be more important than the students. We see mass rallies and disturbances over the loss of unions and dues money but no one seems to want to rally about students not learning to read. Show us the reading, then we will produce the money.
Finally we come to the real meaning of school, teaching kids to learn so that they can become productive members of society, not just spending money to produce this giant conglomerate of buildings and administrations that produce nothing.
Years back Fortune Magazine did a study of where the leaders of the countries industries and other programs came from and found that it was from the one room school houses in the Midwest. I went to a parochial school for the first 8 years, with one nun per class, and a part time principal that also taught 8th grade.
My son Kevin, now a Navy pilot, went to a parochial Christian school that had one administrator and a couple of secretaries. 91% of those kids went on to college. When I left the parochial school in 8th grade for the public schools, I was a year ahead despite our rather short staffs. Why? Cause the system did not devour the students, but existed for the benefit of the students and the kids could feel it.
The only parallel that I can see in history was when we changed from battleships to carriers in the Navy. We spent decades, culminating in the court martial of Gen. Billy Mitchell, fighting over where we should put our Navy money. As we all know, the carriers decimated the battleships and that is what we must do to the present systems. Decimate them, remake them, mix in modern technology as Scott Walker has done, for the colleges, into developing degrees and getting the kids to master the basics early on.
This is where we spend our money, this is our future, we must move ahead and not with studies, we have studied education to death, but with results.
Watch the movie "Waiting for Superman" and you can see that there are many systems in this country that can accomplish what we want and many more systems throughout the world. Yes, it is rocket science in some areas, and it is also basic science and rewarding that we need to master before we get to the rocket science.
Remember the only system right now that solely is run for the benefit of the students is the CHOICE System, because they have to get their customers back by giving them a good education.
We have no choice but to succeed and to those who constantly whine and cry about funding without proving that they can succeed. I say "Lead, Follow or get the hell out of the way".
Wis. Conservative Digest 8th Annual Wisconsin Conservative Leadership Conference
Feb. 23, 2013
117 th & W. Bluemound Rd.
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
Fee: $15 per person
Sponsorship: $250 for table, 3-4 Minutes for presentation to Conference and mention in all Journals.
Sponsors to date: Wis. Conservative Digest, AFP, Reality News , MacIver Institute, CRG, Freedom Weekly, Eau Claire Journal, Wisconsin Right to Life, Wis.. Christian News, Wis. GOP, Tea Party Perspective, Heartland Institute, NTU, Heritage Action, MacIver Institute, American Majority, Weldall, Bob Spindell, Tom Frenn, Freedom works, College Republicans, Capitol consultants, Jim Leef, Sylvia Dubois, John Zimmerman, Bill Barry
Associated Groups: Northwoods Patriots, Liberty Corners Conference
The purpose of this conference is to bring all of the disparate groups that compromise the Conservative movement in this state to meet the national Conservative groups to see how we can all interact with each other to push the Conservative movement.
Richard Viguerie, one of the most influential Conservatives in this country, said: at one of our previous conferences that we must have 1,000 organizations just like the Liberals, to campaign, testify at committee meetings, organize, work, help with legislation, develop new ideas, issues and programs and work together to protect the freedoms and rights of this generation.
One of our biggest problems, in the last campaign was the fact that the Leftists out worked us, out organized and outsmarted us. They can't run a city, Chicago, but they can get elected. We must match their organizational efforts, that is why we are pairing with the GOP and these other organizations to have a campaign school and work together to get good candidates, good ideas and get people elected that will advance the Conservative Cause.
0730 Prayer Breakfast: Brad Courtney. GOP Chair, Road to Victory
Rev. Liew Walker, Grace
0830 "War Against Christianity", Author Jake Jacobs
0900 2013 Legislative Agenda:
State Rep. Robin Vos Chairman
Sen. Alberta Darling, Sen. Mary Lazich, Sen. Glenn Grothmann
State Reps. Dan Knodl, Jim Ott, Dale Kooyenga, Duey Strobel, Don Pridemore, others have been invited.
The legislators will unveil the legislative proposals for this next session and enable you to interact with them and promote your ideas.
1000 Break and Chance to Interact with Legislators
1030 Steve Welcenbach, Reality News Editor: Interaction Discussions with Sponsors
1200 Keynote Speaker: Joseph Bast, President Heartland Institute, Education in US and how to Improve it.
1230 Pizza Lunch
1300 Liberty Corners Conservative Conference, Kim Simac, Organizer
1300 American Majority Campaign School, Matt Batzel, Wis. Chairman
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Bob and Jean Dohnal, Publishers/Editors
Wisconsin Conservative Digest
11324 W. Potter Rd.
Wauwatosa, Wi 53226-3407