Daily Bread for 1.16.22: Wisconsin Educational Issues Over the Next Ten Months

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 23.  Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:48 PM for 9h 26m 49s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 98.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1883, Congress enacts the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, establishing the United States Civil Service.

 At the Journal Sentinel, Alan Borsuk writes School choice, parent power, social issues: They’re all in play as the campaigns for Wisconsin governor begin

Republican Rebecca Kleefisch released the first television ad of her campaign for governor recently. All 30 seconds focused on education issues.

Consider it an early sign of two things: Nov. 8, the election day just under 10 months from now, will be the biggest date of the year (and probably of several years) for Wisconsin education. And school-related issues are going to be somewhere between hot and really, really hot.

I’ve read pre-election stories for many years that predicted education was going to be a pivotal issue in campaigns for major offices. I’ve written some myself. It almost always turns out to be not quite the case, as other things end up dominating attention.

This time for sure. (Or almost for sure – who takes anything as certain these days?)

Borsuk lists 8 educational issues he thinks will be part of gubernatorial campaigns this fall: school choice, spending, response to pandemic issues, parent power, Milwaukee Public Schools, teaching race-related content, reading reform, and hot-button social issues.

Some of these issues will be in play in school board races across the state this spring.  Arguing over them — notably about millions misallocated, concealment of fundamental actions and rationales behind personnel and student decisions, transparently self-serving claims of ‘privacy concerns’ as a way to dodge full explanations, disregard of open government, and threats to individual liberty from book-banning and closet-confining — well, these are fights worth fighting. See Educational Movements Destructive or Ineffectual

What Borsuk doesn’t list, and no serious person would advance, is advocacy for an educational policy of ‘positivity.’ However contentious the issues that spring and fall campaigns across the state will broach, there are likely to be few administrators or candidates frivolous enough to think that ‘keeping social media positive’ could possibily improve anyone’s education.

Perhaps one should see this as a good, if bittersweet, sign: at least other parts of the state know that educational policy is more than a greeting-card slogan.

See also Boosterism’s Cousin, Toxic PositivityTragic Optimism as an Alternative to Toxic Positivity, and Toxic Positivity Is Worse than Annoying as Public Policy.

 The Rise And Fall of BlackBerry

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