Monday, March 21, 2011

No on RUSD Referenda

Last week I heard snippets of a radio interview with RUSD superintendent Dr. Shaw. I wasn't paying close attention to the interview but I do recall the repeated use of the word "reinvestment" as part of a pitch to pass the three upcoming referenda.

As a business owner, I know a bit about reinvestment. Most importantly, the word implies that you got a return on a previous investment such that there is something there to reinvest. Certainly this is not the case with Racine Unified. Obviously there is no money to reinvest, hence the need to pass the referenda. Re the educational return, again, the previous investments have not yielded results.

In my business as in all others small enough to fail, a series of bad investments would result in unpleasant consequences ending in the most unpleasant, bankruptcy.

As we consider RUSD's request for more money, we should ask ourselves whether we are indeed "reinvesting" or whether we are funding an operation that is making repeated bad "investments" that will ultimately bankrupt the "investors", ie, the Racine area.

Now suppose you agree to some extent that RUSD is a failure. Still, you wonder, what good will it do if we don't fund RUSD? Won't it be even worse than it is now? This is indeed the dilemma for the vast majority of people in Racine. They want a good school system, and they wouldn't mind paying for a good one, but they realize RUSD ain't it.

I have over the years grappled with exactly these questions. I have concluded that RUSD is simply unable to reform itself. It exists for the adults and their retirements and their health care. Real reform in education will not come from our public education "leaders." It will come from the public. It will come when we recognize that the lack of resources is not the problem at RUSD. It will come when we recognize that a government monopoly is not the way to provide critical services. It will come when RUSD no longer has a stranglehold on the education market in the Racine area.

Don't fund a losing operation that leads only to financial and educational bankruptcy. Ask instead for something better, like a school voucher system that will allow kids to attend private schools. Vote no on the latest series of school referenda.


Anonymous said...

Denis, you just lifted a lot of the thoughts I put in my recent letter to the JTimes. It's all about keeping the self-interested, bloated institution afloat, regardless of the educational product. Every day brings a new excuse for why it isn't getting done. How many times have we heard our educational prosperity is "just around the corner," thanks to the latest shiny new initiative - plus a tidal wave of new required spending. The recent union-sponsored disruptions have pretty much pulled the mask off this charade. For the children? Ha!

Denis Navratil said...

It seems we are in full agreement anon, with one notable exception. I didn't lift anyone's thoughts, those are entirely my own. A better way to put it perhaps is that great minds think alike. As for the topic at hand, you are exactly right. Always the claim is that greatness is just around the corner of the next referendum. We have been hearing this for decades. How can so many people be fooled so often?

Sean Cranley said...

Referenda aside, I see you still insist on misdiagnosing the problem and blaming the schools and the teachers. And you have temerity to ask the question "How can so many people be fooled so often?" Oh the irony Denis!

Denis Navratil said...

Wrong again Sean! At least you are consistent. I don't blame schools per se and I don't blame teachers. I blame a system - government monopoly - for the failure of RUSD. That said, any teacher who defends such a system is blameworthy insofar as they are seeking to perpetuate a failed system. A subset of those folks are just misinformed and another subset is just selfishly defending their turf. We have gone around and round on this subject Sean and I get a chuckle every time I recall your silly point that schools can't fail, so I don't think I want to repeat the exercise, unless of course you want to bring something new to the discussion, like evidence.

Sean Cranley said...

It's the poverty, stupid.

Yes Denis we've gone around on this subject before, and you've failed to present a reasoned argument as to why students fail in such large numbers in particular places and not in others. Whereas I have prevailed consistently in this and other arguments with my public education vs yours from the private sector.

It isn't I should who should desist but rather you, who despite losing these exchanges continues to revert to your failed dogmatic arguments.

But then, that's what cons do, never discarding a convenient lie, not matter how often it's proven false.

Nemo said...

sean, you seem to be implying that students fail in large numbers in particular places solely due to poverty. Is that your contention?

Denis Navratil said...

Nemo, that is his contention. Yet, if he bothered to investigate, he would realize that poor children can learn. India, China, and KIPP schools come to mind.

Nemo said...

Wow. Given the facts you (Denis) have presented about learning in poor countries I guess that puts sean's educational ideas on top of the pile of "failed dogmatic arguments". Congratulations sean! You're king of the hill (well okay, pile). Heh.

Sean Cranley said...

Yes, poverty and disparity are the root cause that lead to a failing of the community surrounding the students, their families and their schools. You can change the schools, but if you ignore the root problem as Denis does, you can't solve the problem.

Are the communities in India and China failing? Are their schools public? You should examine those questions for starters before you adopt them as your simplistic proof that it's the school system.

You should also examine where we have large concentrations of failing students in Wisconsin and the U.S. and think about what these areas have in common. But I doubt you will, inexorably wedded as you are to your dogmatically useful "truths".

Nemo said...

"You should also examine where we have large concentrations of failing students in Wisconsin and the U.S. and think about what these areas have in common."

They are all democratic and progressive strongholds. Without exception. Looks like we've stumbled onto the "root cause". Thanks sean! Heh.

Sean Cranley said...

Really Nemo? Please elaborate with logical argument on the specific mechanisms by which Democratic and progressive strongholds cause concentrations of struggling students.

Nemo said...

I wouldn't use the word "cause". I'd use "connection". The fact is that Democratic and progressive strongholds are the home of all large concentrations of failing students in Wisconsin. I don't know if voting progressive causes dumb or dumb causes people to vote democrat. I fear that it's like crime and poverty, where crime creates more poverty and more poverty fuels more crime. Democrats fuel more dumb and dumb swells the number of democratic voters. Before you get your panties in a bunch sean, I'm not saying all democrats are dumb. Ignorance, sloth, larceny and the like are also cherished democratic values. Heh.

Sean Cranley said...

Nemo, thank you for demonstrating once again, that you just make shtuff up and that you can't back it up with a logical argument. But I think we all know that by now.

Who needs logical argument anyway, right? The Cult of Con is a faith-based initiative and you have the faith of a child and an intellect to match.

But at least you recognize that poverty leads to social ills that are detrimental to the community and everything in it, including the families living there and their children. Unfortunately that's the point at which the truth hits the concrete block you use for reasoning.

Nemo said...

sean, Your pejoratives, the very heart and soul of all your progressive "reasoning", are getting stale. What happened to the sean that used to really zing me by slipping in a GFYS or calling me a unhappy french black woman? The unseriousness, the word twisting, the projection is still there, but the zing is gone. Sigh. Heh.

Sean Cranley said...

Where's your logical argument Nemo? You made a statement connecting democratic strongholds and concentrations of failing students that you can't back up and now you're just dodging, because you can't present you case.

You could wipe away my "perjorative" as you call it and maybe even make me look silly by simply presenting a reasoned argument to support your supposition. However, my statement ("Who needs logical argument anyway, right? The Cult of Con is a faith-based initiative and you have the faith of a child and an intellect to match.") only rings more true with each episode of your continued failure to do so.

It's the poverty stupid.