Tonight I was reminded in a tangible way. My grandson's school, Eastbrook Academy, had a parent night where we were told of some rules for the upcoming year and did a walk through of each students daily schedule and met the teachers.
One of the area's where Fred Kessler and I are on the opposite side of the fence is the voucher or choice school issue. He would close them down and presumably have the students attend MPS. I support them and would expand the program.
Eastbrook is from all I can see a model choice school and therefore a model school in general. I'd say probably 75% of the parents from all grades, K-12, showed up tonight for 90 minutes of support of the school and the students. Each teacher had 6 minutes to tell us about the upcoming year and their goals for our students. Each gave us their email and an open invitation to contact them.
Eastbrook's a small school, 40-50 in the high school and growing. The Wisconsin average ACT score for seniors is 22, Eastbrook's seniors scored an average of 29 last year. What's impressive about the school is that the teachers seem free to teach and are excited about their jobs and the atmosphere they work in. I heard from a teacher at another school that they wanted to work at Eastbrook, but he took a job at a public school for about $10,000 more per year. You see, choice schools get about $6,400 per student (a drop of $200 in the last budget) from the state and MPS schools get about $13,500 per student.
I believe education is the lifeblood of our future. We need more model schools, be it choice, public, or charter schools. We have to support them as each is important. We also have to make the tough choices to reach the goal of a better education for all students in Wisconsin. The problem is that those with the power will not take a stance for the good of the kids because it may put them at odds with those who give them power and money. Me, I have nothing to lose but everything to gain to take a stand that isn't popular with the current power structure but is the right thing to do.
That's why I'm running for the State Assembly - to do the right thing.