Residents of MAPS:
My name is Jeff Verdoorn and I am humbly asking for your vote to continue to serve our community as a member of the MAPS Board of Education. Over the last three years, MAPS has faced a variety of difficult issues, as well as made tremendous progress in areas such as transparency, community engagement, and communication. Many of the issues our schools now face are unprecedented. Some are controversial, mandated by state or federal government. I feel my experience as current Board President, as well as my professional business background makes me uniquely qualified to continue serve you on the MAPS BoE. I would be honored to receive your vote on April 5th.
Candidate for School Board
Lutheran Schools Week is again upon us (March 6-12) and it brings to mind my gratitude for Trinity Lutheran School. I was fortunate to have attended Trinity, and now my children are having that same opportunity. My oldest daughter attends Trinity Preschool and will be enrolled in kindergarten at Trinity next year, and my second daughter will be starting preschool next year.
From my perspective, the thing that makes a Lutheran School like Trinity so special is that students who attend there don’t just learn about their faith, they LIVE it among a community of students and staff who help each other “walk the walk.” Opportunities for Christian friendship and Christian fellowship are present every day. Interspersed with their academics, students can acquire not just a knowledge of God, but also Christian attitudes and values. A Lutheran school, through its Biblical teachings, has the opportunity to instill strong moral values, discipline, and a work ethic that will help prepare a student for life after school.
I have been particularly impressed with Trinity Preschool where my oldest daughter is currently attending. When I drop my daughter off at school and leave her in the care and under the influence of other adults, I need to be sure that she is with people who will be exemplary role models for her – people who demonstrate their faith by the way they live their lives and by the way they conduct their classroom. All of the teachers and staff that my daughter has had up to this point have by far lived up to my expectations in this area, and have been a tremendous blessing to our family. To those ladies, I would like to extend my most sincere thanks! I appreciate how well this school compliments what we are teaching at home. Trinity Preschool has been a wonderful place for my daughter’s first school experience, and has very well prepared her for kindergarten. I will be forever grateful to the members of Trinity Lutheran Church who continue to help make this possible for my children and all the children who attend there!
Most people will agree that their children are their greatest treasure. A Christian education is clearly an investment in their future. Is there a cost involved to attend Trinity? Yes. Will it require a financial sacrifice on your part? Possibly. But consider this: you just can’t put a price on the effects that a Christian school can have on your children. It is my prayer that each and every parent and child who have made the commitment to attend Trinity School will be blessed by their time there, will grow closer to God, and will discover what great things He has in store for them.
God’s richest blessings to you.
Letter to the Editor:
This is one of many letters I started to write in regards to the Teachers, County and State Workers, protests in Madison and this Budget Bill. They all ended up being three pages long so I will try to keep it short and sweet and to the point.
I SUPPORT OUR TEACHERS, STATE and COUNTY WORKERS!
I also applaud the students who took the time for some civil disobedience and walked out of class in support of their teachers which I must state was done in an orderly, respectful and safe manner.
These public employees are our neighbors, friends and relatives. I am quoting from the Foto News from Wednesday, March 12th from the article PAY: “Another said that after the incident people do not look well upon teachers right now.”
These teachers stood up for themselves along with their brothers and sisters to protest a WRONG and because some were inconvenienced by this so-called incident they had to find alternate care for their children. These teachers that inconvenienced a few, nurture and protect and teach our children. We trust our children into their care on a daily basis and they deserve our respect and support. Whether you agree or not with their politics doesn’t mean you turn your back on them.
As for the County and State workers, they provide services that would make everyday life difficult to say the least without them. I applaud the men and woman who get up at 3 a.m. to make sure our roads are plowed and salted so we can make it to work or school safely, and all the other Public Servants.
We all know the fiscal trouble this State is in and yes we ALL need to make sacrifices and pitch in but do not, I repeat do not, make the working men and women of this state out to be the villains. It’s the hard working men and women of the middle class that keep this Great State and Country running.
These public employees do make a decent wage and do have good benefits and yes they have agreed to pay their fair share but that’s not enough for this Governor. Why? Why isn’t it enough? Why must he continue this fight without sitting down and negotiating?
I believe anyone who has been listening, reading and watching the news (not just Fox) but really paying attention knows the answer to that question.
What will happen is that this Governor will bring the current standard of living down to the point where we are all working for minimum wage with no benefits all the while companies and CEO’s become multi billionaires off the backs of labor.
Keep up the good work you do for us everyday. Teachers and public employees of this community and this State I SUPPORT YOU!
America has enemies. Radical Islamic extremists, North Korean nuclear programs, Iranian sponsored terrorism, are all still a threat to our nation. But not one of them can take away our Constitutional Rights. Only our own government can do that. This is what this fight is about. Not money. Not power. RIGHTS! The governor has already threatened to dismiss/fire public employees that continue to protest if his plan gets passed. This would be a direct violation of the First Amendment. Yet still our governor feels confident enough in his own authority to make this threat. This is what is at stake.
If greedy corporations and billionaire power brokers like the Koch brothers get their way, our very form of government will be taken away. Democracy will transform into something deadly. Plutocracy. Rule by the rich. Senator Holperin and the rest of the Wisconsin 14 know this. They are defending our nation as surely as if they stool with our soldiers in the field. They do not face bullets and bombs, yet their defense of our country is no less real. What they have done is vital to the continued well being of every citizen in our nation. These people are heroes in the true sense of the word. If they fail this fight, Democracy itself may fall.
As a public employee, union member, and son of a teacher, I admit to a certain bias in this struggle. But I still have questions. Due to our state government giving $12.4 billion in tax breaks to corporations since 1995, we are now in a deficit. There is nothing left to give to Walker’s greedy contributors, except what we have. My question is this. Before you ask public employees to sacrifice more than we already have, what have these rich corporations and greedy CEOs sacrificed? Anything? At all? Have our politicians sacrificed anything? Our own government gave away the money and is now blaming others for what THEY did. And Walker is STILL giving away the money needed to run this state while he blames public employees for the lack of funds. Collective bargaining is a Democratic, rational process. What Walker has done is irrational.
Imagine what things would be like if there were no unions. Are you willing to tell children they can’t get a measles vaccine or a flu shot because they have no health care? How about pregnant women? Are you willing to get fired at age 50 for a younger person who will work for less? Are you willing to work weekends and give up overtime so greedy CEOs can give themselves obscene bonuses? Are you willing to surrender your child’s education to privatization and cronyism?
In the past, every governor before Walker has agreed to negotiate with the public unions. Unions and management met and agreed to compromise on both sides to reach our present contracts. Tax giveaways for corporations were not discussed since unions have nothing to do with tax policy. Senator Holperin and others have seen this battle for what it really is. The defense of our very form of government. Without the influence of organized labor, greedy CEOs (the Koch brothers) and the corrupt politicians they own (Walker) will change our Democracy to a Plutocracy. Rule by the rich. Their actions, while drastic, protect every single American from greed and the lust for power.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “If democracy ended on election day, we would be electing a king.” Is this what we have done?
There are two kinds of people in this world. There are those who stop and lend a hand to people below them on the stepladder of life. Then there are the others who step over, and sometimes on, those on the lower rungs. The others seem to be driving the politics of the day.
Everyone is talking about the disappearance of the middle class. The real problems however, started long ago when both Democrats and Republicans bailed on the poor and powerless. Crush the poor, the defenseless; they do not count. Which begs the question, just what made the middle class think they would not be next? Somehow, we continue to believe that if we can only find some other group to step on, to marginalize, to sacrifice to the bullies, we will then be safe.
Every time we abandoned the poor, the immigrants, the less accepted groups of society, in other words those without multi-million dollar ad campaigns and billionaire backers, we only made ourselves more vulnerable. The bullies are after the unions now, but they will be after your Social Security next. Does anyone still doubt that? Why is it okay to pay more for jails and prisons (actually for high tech torture equipment) but not for schools? Education is not the enemy. It is the way out.
The latest batch of corrupt Republican governors, who claim the only path to fiscal responsibility is the one whereby a for-profit, private contractor ultimately replaces every public worker, should not surprise us. Where were they when the real criminals on Wall Street caused the real deficits? They were too busy answering the dog whistles of their billionaire campaign donors.
Let us not forget the Democrats who have suddenly found a spine within the labor movement. It is time we stop giving Obama a free ride and demand what he promised during his campaigns. Yes, the deck is stacked. It was during FDR’s time too, but Roosevelt did a much better job of fighting back even while wheelchair bound.
What do we believe in? What does this country really stand for? We had better take a long, hard look. There are not many more groups lower on the economic scale left to sacrifice.
Diana C. Smith
In elementary and high schools all over the U.S.A., programs have been established to address bullying and to teach our children necessary skills of anger management, communication, empathy and conflict resolution. Parents, teachers and school counselors work hard to create meaningful lessons with role playing and discussions that help young people think twice before reacting to small offenses or differences of opinion that could turn into volatile situations. We know that these good lessons make a difference. But lessons can be undone. In the end, most children learn more from what they observe adults doing.
Governor Walker says he will not negotiate on his budget repair bill because it is a crisis situation. In his last job as Milwaukee County Executive, he also refused to negotiate for this reason, and overruled the County Board. He ‘unilaterally ordered’ the action to replace the unionized security guards with employees of a private British security contractor, Wackenhut, of Kabul Embassy sex scandal fame. This action has had disastrous results. After nearly a year out of work, most of the workers have now been restored to their jobs due to a court ruling. It has cost the county nearly double what they would have paid, had the action not been forced. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 2, 2011)
A sister of mine is a principal in a public high school in the steadily growing Hudson school district. Governor Walker’s budget will require them to cut 3.8 million dollars. How is that even possible? There may no longer be funds for programs that teach the basics, much less problem-solving or conflict management. At the same time as we deplete our school funding, military spending has doubled in the last 10 years, according to the whitehouse.gov, Office of Management and Budget Historical Tables. (2001 = $334,705 million; 2010 = $722,138 million, and accounts for 57% of the 2010 total discretionary budget).
It is said that we must learn from our mistakes or we are doomed to repeat them.
In three weeks the democratic process used to govern the state of Wisconsin has been all but destroyed. For over 150 years we have committed to a representative democracy in this state, but now the actions of a few threaten the very foundation of our state.
When the 14 Senate Democrats left the state of Wisconsin rather than participate in governing which is what they were elected to do, they forever changed how state government would function.
In politics there are always losers as well as winners in elections. This can lead to wide swings in policy and the direction of government. This past year we saw Republicans win control of the Legislature, Senate, and the office of Governor in the state through open and fair elections. This was a 180 degree change in the leadership in the state and the direction of policy.
With such a dramatic shift, changes are certain to come.
We saw this at the national level with the election of President Obama and the Democrat’s control of both houses of Congress. Many bills proceeded through Congress without Republican input or support. People protested, rallies were held, but the bills still passed (Obama Care as an example).
The process, as the system dictates, of governing was followed even though many didn’t feel it fair. People waited until the next election and voted their desires. This resulted in a large defeat of Democrats in the House of Representatives, but the people followed the process. They trusted the system.
Now that trust of the system has been broken.
By simply leaving the state, 14 Senate Democrats chose not to participate in groverning. When has this ever happened before in this state? Rather than maintain the honor and trust of the Representative Democratic system they chose to flee.
Now the state of Illinois enjoys the money being spent by these runaways as they flee their responsibilities to the people of Wisconsin. Money paid by Wisconsin taxpayers to their Senators for work not done is spent in Illinois. You’re welcome Illinois.
In future debates of major significance, will the minority simply chose to run and hide? This is much easier than actually following the process in many cases. Debate can be hard.
Governing and making tough decisions is hard, often with little praise and lots of complaining. There are times you will lose, and know it in advance, but you still follow the process.
Remember, once something is done, it is easy to justify doing it over and over. How can anyone trust that their vote has value if all elected officials have to do is flee the state to avoid making hard decisions.
It seems time for another history lesson. It was 1978 when the Democratic legislators passed a law prohibiting collective bargaining for federal workers and it was signed into law by Democrat President Jimmy Carter and is still in effect today. It’s strange but I don’t know of a single federal worker to date who has died of starvation despite the Wisconsin unions’ cries of dooms day.
If Governor Scott Walker is such a villain for taking collective bargaining from state workers, why didn’t the Democrats and Obama repeal that law for federal workers during the 2 years they had complete control?
What has Obama got up his sleeve that he is using the unions to create this big distraction to take our mind off of what is going on in Washington behind our back?
I have been reading the comments published in the letters to the editor with increasing fascination. The notion that our bright, young men and women enter the teaching profession to become rich is preposterous! Many of our teachers take years to pay off their student loans and, at the same time, marry, buy a home and start a family, as almost all citizens do.
I don’t understand how anyone can conclude that teachers are getting insurance and pension for free. It simply is not true. They receive that benefit the same way as all other individuals. In other words, the teachers EARN these benefits.
Why teachers have come to be focused on to bear the cost caused by the great recession is, indeed, a mystery! It certainly is not reasonable!
I suspect that, as the economic recovery continues to stumble, their paychecks will be attacked again!
However, for all citizens, it is time to put the horse back in front of the cart and search for solutions in producing a stable, sustainable, adequate income stream to finance our education systems.
I suggest to those in favor of cutting teacher’s paychecks, that they provide a great example and pledge 10 percent of their own income to reduce the deficit.
Dennis G. Henrichs