February 28, 2013

Race, education, and conspiracy theories swirling around a Madison School Board election.

This is complicated. Too complicated to begin to read as I'd originally presented the material. So I've changed the post title and written this paragraph to try to ease you into something that will seem very intra-Madison, but it has some big, general themes that outsiders should relate to.

The Cap Times tries to untangle things.
You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to figure out that the Bradley Foundation’s supposed functionary allegedly behind [Ananda] Mirilli’s candidacy is Kaleem Caire, CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison and architect of 2011’s controversial Madison Preparatory Academy proposal for a charter school aimed at African-American children.



Caire proudly claims his stint of more than a decade ago as CEO of the Bradley-funded Black Alliance for Educational Options, which supports greater parental choice options to improve education, especially for students of color.

Mirilli told me her campaign [for a seat on the Madison school board] was haunted by the idea that she was pro-voucher and anti-union, even though she says she is doubtful of the efficacy of vouchers and was not recruited by Caire as the local grapevine seemed to have everyone convinced....

Mirilli, a Latina, adds that she was encouraged in her run by a trio of former School Board members who filled her in on what it requires. She was not convinced that Madison Prep was the answer to the district’s woes, she says, but stresses that Caire’s putting the achievement gap issue on the public agenda has been incredibly valuable.

“We have to talk about a racial analysis; when we are looking at a curriculum or a strategy or a program, we need to look at whether it is culturally specific to the group we are targeting,” Mirilli says.
So... a conspiracy theory was used to defeat Mirilli... or is this a conspiracy theory about a conspiracy theory? I'm glad the Cap Times is getting into the act — along with David Blaska — trying to figure out what is going on. Mirilli was defeated in the primary, and one of the 2 winners — Sarah Manski — withdrew 2 days later, leaving us with only one live candidate on the ballot. Mirilli's name can still be written in.

Mirilli says she's not going to do a write-in campaign, but she hasn't said she won't serve if elected. I'm voting in that election, which is the same one with the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, and I can't figure out anything to do other than to write in Mirilli.

I'm sorry if this is a little too intra-Madison for most of my readers, but perhaps you will take some interest in the topics of school vouchers (which Governor Walker has proposed expanding to include Madison) and charter schools (you may remember my posts about Kaleem Caire's Madison Prep, which was voted down by the Madison school board in 2011).

43 comments:

chickelit said...

I'm sorry if this is a little too intra-Madison for most of my readers, but perhaps you will take some interesting in the topic of school vouchers...

The facts are Madison-based but the implications are much greater. The onus is on the reader to figure that one out.

Strelnikov said...

I'd say the fact that your last missive on this insider baseball topic drew only 12 comment, in addition to the one here, says all you need to know. of course, there could still be an avalanche of pent up interest coming your way - but I have my doubts.

Mitchell the Bat said...

People who think she's Italian won't hurt themselves trying to pronounce the "ll" as a "y."

edutcher said...

Heaven forfend we have someone on the Board dedicated to the welfare of minority kids, rather than the teacher unions.

MadisonMan said...

The Achievement Gap is nothing less than blacks and latinos and some whites underperforming because family involvement is lacking and/or education is underemphasized.

But if you call it Achievement Gap you can gloss over that uncomfortable truth.

Family involvement was required in the voted-down Madison Prep charter school. Kudos to Claire for recognizing its importance.

Synova said...

I certainly think it's interesting. But that doesn't mean I've got a lot to say about it.

I recall talk about the prep-school. I think that more choices are always better and that some of those choices in large school districts should be small local high schools as an alternative to the mega-schools as well as "girls" or "boys" schools or "military academies" or whatever.

MadisonMan said...

I'll probably vote for Mertz.

There should be more men on the school board.

Plus I Love Lucy.

Carol said...

Some wingers in Montana are trying to carry a school voucher bill, but I really see no need for it here. We don't have all that urban stuff happening yet.

Sam L. said...

Ah, yesssssss. Closing ranks against "outsiders".

The Farmer said...

MadisonMan said...
The Achievement Gap is nothing less than blacks and latinos and some whites underperforming because family involvement is lacking and/or education is underemphasized.


This is exactly right but you're missing another factor - public schools no longer expel students who are chronic fuck-ups. Everybody gets an infinite number of second chances. If one kid is dragging the whole class down, tough. That kid deserves an education, even if he flatly refuses to take it.

MadisonMan said...

Kids aren't expelled because there's this foolish notion that all kids should go to College. So what I called Vo-Tech growing up is minimally funded, and public schools can't therefore be used to teach a trade.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

I never realized what a bastion of racism the Madison public school systems were.

Shame! Shame!

Michael said...

What the Farmer said is spot on. Anyone with the resources to send their children to private schools but sends them to public schools is abusing their kids.

madAsHell said...

Is there a White Alliance for Educational Options?
Who funds the Black Alliance for Educational Options?
How is success measured?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

The so-called Achievement Gap is primarily genetic, like height.

But unlike for height, one can make a career (as long as one is not held accountable for lack of positive results) by claiming one has solutions for the Achievement Gap.

What an awesome scam. You almost have to admire it, on a certain level.

MadisonMan said...

Anyone with the resources to send their children to private schools but sends them to public schools is abusing their kids.

Riiight. 'Cause there are no good public schools anywhere.

(eyeroll)

Rusty said...

Carol said...
Some wingers in Montana are trying to carry a school voucher bill, but I really see no need for it here. We don't have all that urban stuff happening yet.


Pray tell. Where is the urban in Montana?

carrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
carrie said...

I am continually amazed by the liberals' hostility towards the Urban League. If they weren't liberals, someone might wonder whether they were racist.

Drago said...

Rusty: "Pray tell. Where is the urban in Montana?"

Must be that bustling metropolis based on oil and gas that is known as Billings.

Their little league team did go to the finals in last years little league tournament....I think.

Carol said...

where is the urban in Montana?

Currently the social workers of the world are busily sending the urban here with housing vouchers. Hopefully the lovely weather and shitty economy will be a deterrent.

Rusty said...

Drago said...
Rusty: "Pray tell. Where is the urban in Montana?"

Must be that bustling metropolis based on oil and gas that is known as Billings.

Their little league team did go to the finals in last years little league tournament....I thin

Billings?
That's a town. Not a city.
Billing wishes it had "urban".
Maybe if you count the trout.
Jeesh.

Are there any schools in Madison worth issuing vouchers for?
Maybe we should rethink this whole public school thing.

lincolntf said...

In a country where the Teacher's Unions fail at a spectacular rate and face no consequences (Detroit, 7% graduation rate, 98% teacher retention) charter schools, private schools, homeschooling are the only option for parents who give a shit about their kid's educations. Even the nicest, richest public schools aren't exempt from the pernicious effects of the Teacher's Unions corruption and greed, the effects just show up easier in the poorer schools.

Original Mike said...

"I am continually amazed by the liberals' hostility towards the Urban League. If they weren't liberals, someone might wonder whether they were racist."

Racism is just one of their tools.

garage mahal said...

The Bradley Foundation has spent more than 350 million dollars the past ten years, funding outlets like The MacIver Institute that spread lies and misinformation to confuse the public. It's one reason why the state has been run over by smash and grab Tea Party radicals that are laying waste to the state.

Original Mike said...

"The Achievement Gap is nothing less than blacks and latinos and some whites underperforming because family involvement is lacking and/or education is underemphasized."

I have a friend who's daughter went through a period of chronic truancy at a Madison high school. The mother received a letter threatening legal action against the mother if the kid kept skipping classes. The mother asked to be notified by the school when the child was absent, so that she could try and do something about it. The school said they couldn't do that, because it would violate the child's privacy.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Fatty Mark who claims he has a giant income says:

"The Bradley Foundation has spent more than 350 million dollars the past ten years, funding outlets like The MacIver Institute that spread lies and misinformation to confuse the public. It's one reason why the state has been run over by smash and grab Tea Party radicals that are laying waste to the state"

Just because you don't like what they say fatty, doesn't mean that it is "lies and misinformation". The public (at least those who have greater educational achievements than union run government high schools) should be able to draw their own conclusions.

MadisonMan said...

We get phone calls when our kid misses a class. There must be more to that story O Mike.

Was the daughter 18?

lincolntf said...

For years it could've been argued that Teachers were failing miserably because of conditions beyond their control, but no longer. Not after decades of pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the system to satisfy their every want and desire. Coaches, assistants, aides, all of them there to help and the Teachers are still worse than useless. To maintain the status quo of Teacher's Unions that are unwilling or incapable of educating students is a direct attack on those students. It's not negligence, it's malevolence.

Petunia said...

"Smash and grab Tea Party radicals that are laying waste to the state"? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, that budget surplus, property tax cuts, giving parents more options for schooling their children, and reining in out-of-control government unions are really "laying waste".

And talk about spreading lies? Rags like the Cap Times and their ridiculous excuses for journalists spread more lies in a week than MacIver has in its entire existence. Good grief.

As for the Manskis...I'm glad this information will be searchable on the internet so long as there IS an internet. It exposes them and the entire Madison liberal scene for what they really are...dishonest and hypocritical.

Original Mike said...

MM: No, the daughter wasn't. I don't know, but I do know the mother was pissed about it when it happened. I believe it. This is a good woman and mother (and the kid has straightened up.) This was about 15 years ago.

tiger said...

Why is this such a big deal?

After all having only one candidate and a liberal one at that on the ballot is a good thing because it's for the children...

(one of the biggest lies ever perpetuated upon the voting public and one many have finally woken up to)

Calypso Facto said...

The Bradley Foundation has spent more than 350 million dollars the past ten years ....

Thanks for making my comment yesterday look downright prescient, garage!

Garage likes to rail against the Koch's [oops, Bradley's] supposedly hidden influence, but this is union electioneering right out in plain sight. The Democrat coalition recruited, funded, and promoted a candidate they knew would not serve just to ensure a minority woman wouldn't appear on the final ballot. Truly shameful.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

The Achievement Gap is nothing less than blacks and latinos and some whites underperforming because family involvement is lacking and/or education is underemphasized."

Nonsense. That's like saying the inabilty of a 5'7" person to dunk a basketbal is due to lack of effort and training.

Wise up. If only the issue where as simple as you assert. Then, it could be fixed - somewhere, by now, it would have. But there is NOWHERE stats that show academic achievement, looked at by Race (a bad idea to begin with) in any other order than Asian, White, Latino, Black.

Have you never be curious why it is ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE in that order? And that the Gap is ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE about 1 standard deviation.

This is so much true that that Gap has been called a Fundamental Sociological Constant.

Rabel said...

Madison, Madison, Madison. You folks are doing it all wrong. Let me offer a few tips that worked for Lester, Orval and George.

1. Charge a fee at the voting booth. Twenty dollars ought to do it. Two dollars worked back in the day, but a buck ain't what it used be. This'll keep the "riff-raff" away from the booth.

2. Have a strong police presence at the poling places. Blue lights flashing is a plus. This will keep the "undesirables" away. and give a sense of security to the "Good People" of Madison.

3. Peer pressure. make sure that everyone knows who voted and who didn't. That'll make sure - oh, wait - already done. Good on you Madison.

4. Axe handles. Post up Mayor Paul at the schoolroom door with a good stout piece of hardwood. This never fails especially if you can get pictures in the papers that circulate in "those parts" of the city. If questioned, remind him to say that he's just whittlin'.

Good luck and remember, it's not "White Power," it's "Right Power."

garage mahal said...

but this is union electioneering right out in plain sight. The Democrat coalition recruited, funded, and promoted a candidate they knew would not serve just to ensure a minority woman wouldn't appear on the final ballot. Truly shameful.

Is this is Media Trackers press release? Sure reads like one.

chickelit said...

Rabel offered:
Madison, Madison, Madison. You folks are doing it all wrong. Let me offer a few tips that worked for Lester, Orval and George.

No need for poll taxes. Voter ID would be good enough. And please do something about those students who vote twice.

Emil Blatz said...

I'm an outsider who used to be an insider. Allow me to go way out on a limb here and say that nothing will change. The point in Madison is not to address the fundamental and obvious problem, because you cannot square that with everything Madison purports to be about. Stay tuned for continued failure.

Calypso Facto said...

Is this is Media Trackers press release? Sure reads like one.

And here I thought there were no honest news organizations left. Thanks for the referral!

Original Mike said...

I realize "The Rest of The Story" is germane to this topic. The kid straightened up when the mother pulled her out of West (public school) and put her in Edgewood (private school). The mother isn't rich, but has a good job. She was able to use savings and stopped funding retirement savings in order to afford it.

Freeman Hunt said...

I remember being in the hallway in sixth or seventh grade and seeing this kid who looked a bit too old for sixth or seventh grade come storming down the hall. A teacher and an assistant principal were chasing him and calling after him. They caught up with him at a door to the outside.

"You can't leave!" One of the adults insisted.

At that he flipped her the bird, popped the door open, stepped outside, lit a cigarette, and walked off.

The two women were quite agitated. I was awed.

It was so bad, and yet, somehow, impressive. (I'm not recommending it, I'm just saying that the awareness that you are a free human being who can decide what you're going to do is rare at that age.)

None of that has anything to do with this topic except that it happened at a school, and this school post reminded me of it.

Original Mike said...

"I'm voting in that election, which is the same one with the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, and I can't figure out anything to do other than to write in Mirilli."

Blaska suggested voting for Manski to keep this issue in the public spotlight and as a vote of no confidence.

tiger said...

garage mahal said...
but this is union electioneering right out in plain sight. The Democrat coalition recruited, funded, and promoted a candidate they knew would not serve just to ensure a minority woman wouldn't appear on the final ballot. Truly shameful.

Is this is Media Trackers press release? Sure reads like one.

Farking allah you're a tw*t.