Make Our School A Prison

Yesterday, a letter began floating around the interwebz from a superintendent in Michigan to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Consider the life of a Michigan prisoner. They get three square meals a day. Access to free health care. Internet. Cable television. Access to a library. A weight room. Computer lab. They can earn a degree. A roof over their heads. Clothing. Everything we just listed we DO NOT provide to our school children.

This is why I’m proposing to make my school a prison. The State of Michigan spends annually somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per prisoner, yet we are struggling to provide schools with $7,000 per student. I guess we need to treat our students like they are prisoners, with equal funding. Please give my students three meals a day. Please give my children access to free health care. Please provide my school district Internet access and computers. Please put books in my library. Please give my students a weight room so we can be big and strong. We provide all of these things to prisoners because they have constitutional rights. What about the rights of youth, our future?!

A profound letter, to be sure, and one that is just as applicable to Wisconsin as Michigan.  I will be sending this letter around to a few folks I know who are superintendents in Northern Wisconsin and encouraging a similar letter be drafted to our governor and our legislators.  It may be too late in this budget cycle, but any good lobbyist will tell you that the budget cycle starts before the previous one is even passed.

Let’s start getting into these offices now and getting this message onto the desks of folks, regardless of if they will still be there in two years *cough* recalls *cough*. The cycle starts now, let’s make our schools prisons so we can be treated like prisoners.

_______________________________________________________________

Thanks to Michael Moscicke for pointing this out to me. He will be a boon to ASM’s previously lacking knowledge and efficacy at the state level.

Advertisements

Thoughts on TCF?

Hey readers of TCF (which according to our stats, is about 25 of you),

So as many of you may know, this has been a busy time for Adam and I.  We just finished our term up as the coolest ASM Chair/Vice-Chair combo in history, AJ is finishing up finals and has a lot to talk about, and I’ve started blogging at North Park Street.

Yes, indeed it is a busy time.

Yet as I write this and procrastinate on writing my final 40ish page research paper, I wonder: what does the future of The Campus First look like?  NPS allows me the ability to write about whatever I want, not necessarily about the campus.  But there will always be a special place in my heart for TCF.  It started on blogspot when I was SSFC Chair, grew into a wordpress page, and gained an author, all while trying to convey ideas and thoughts on ASM and the campus.

I’ve thought about keeping TCF as a place for Adam and I to discuss in depth campus things, almost like a policy wonk blog, not really for general readership.  I’ve also considered using it as almost a clipsheet style page, taking news bits weekly and creating a forum to discuss them.  And I’m sure Adam has many of his own ideas.

But what do you guys think?  Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated.

-BJW


The Campus First: The Long Delay

Apologies for the delay in posting.

April and May so far have been an incredibly busy time, both professionally and academically.  I have much to write about and will likely do so during the summer or at least after finals.

Until then,

AJ


United Council: The Rationale of Yes

Nearly all of you are aware that it is ASM’s election season once again (go VOTE if you haven’t, preferably for me 🙂 ), and again most of you know that United Council membership is again on the ballot. You may be receiving lots of invitations to vote one way or another and whichever way you vote is truly fine, as long as it is an informed vote.

Today, a large ad crying Vote NO! and an accompanying piece from the Editorial Board appeared in the Badger Herald.  While not denying that these groups have a right to express their thoughts, I wish it was at least accurate and informed.

The Ed Board piece comes from a group that only knows of United Council through press releases and having UC’s governmental relations guy, Michael, tell them what the story is at the capital.  While I commend them for trying to act in the best interest of campus, there are many factual errors in the piece.

There are two main errors within the main argument

  1. Technical colleges ARE NOT a part of United Council.  If anything we spend a lot of time thwarting them because our UW College system directly competes for talent, resources, and their very livelihoods
  2. Failed to mobilize students: This is a half truth.  In general the campaigns are not mass movement in nature. It’s more like Policy Wonk A from Madison meets Policy Wonk B from Stevens Point and they team with Policy Wonk C from Milwaukee in implementing a program that Policy Wonk D started at Parkside. That being said, United Council did take part in the protests against the Budget Repair Bill (specifically for our Teaching Assistants and Faculty) by funding buses and organizing students from around the state to come on down.

Folks, United Council is far from perfect.  We have infighting, personal issues, procedural snafus and overall legitimacy crisis; so basically, it’s the same as every student government that has ever existed.  With Madison likely to begin operating under a new administrative model after July 1, we need statewide support to continue.  We cannot think that issues that will affect UW System will not affect us.  Cuts to Education are top down, indiscriminate of models of administration.  Additionally, United Council maintains the largest archive of Shared Governance information in the state.  This archive has stuff from every school going back decades.  It’s absolutely essential this is preserved going into the brave new waters of public authority status where we will need to fight to keep Shared Governance as we know it.

Vote Yes.  A vote no is taking your ball and going home because the other kids playing ball are being mean to you. Let’s grow up a bit.  You can’t reform a system from the outside; you need to be at the table. Let’s stay at the table and keep ourselves open to our Badgers across the state.

-AJ

Disclaimer: I am a current Board member of United Council and am a candidate for President at the upcoming convention. Take anything from those statements that you wish.


Senior Class Officer: Differentiation

(Warning: lots of text: Tl;dr version below)

 
I’ve heard from many people, public and private, that there is a question about what differentiates me from Tom in this race.  I’ll be the first to admit that there are similarities: we both were Vice-Chair of ASM, we come from the student government mindset, and we have a history of campus controversy.

 
But after that, I feel I gain the edge.  Senior Class Officers are about constituents and challenging your own point of view. This is about discussion. God bless Tom, I love him, yet I feel that I am more capable of having a true and frank discussion. This position doesn’t craft policy, nor govern. This position makes graduation and our legacy awesome; this I feel warrants a phenomenal amount of discussion.

 
I was an ASM Council Rep for two years, talking consistently with my contacts, classes and friends (which did not address everyone, but was an effort) and I was also a Board member for United Council representing all of Madison

 
Being a Board Member of United Council certainly brings a perspective of what being a leader at Madison truly means to the state.  Our research affects how many people apply to their schools. Our athletics brings theirs to a higher national prestige, and our curriculum works with theirs to ensure that students across the state receive a fantastic education and that their diploma will be lifted by the “University of Wisconsin” brand that we help establish.

 
Through this, I bring a statewide perspective. Our graduation ceremony not only represents us, but it showcases Wisconsin as a whole. Our values are reflected in our speaker and the process. Currently, we value community minded individuals in a small intimate ceremony, which reflects the “Good neighbor” Wisconsin we all know and love. Should this change? Perhaps. But I know I’m not the one who should be making that call with my friends.  Discussions need to be had.

 

 
So, the tl;dr version of this is: I think I’m better at having discussions and making this a transparent and open position than Tom is.

 
Feel free to ask questions!

 

PS: I originally wrote this as a Facebook comment which is why the length is odd for a post like this.

-AJ

 


Senior Class Officers

So as some of our readers already know, I am running for Senior Class Vice-President against a good friend of mine, Tom Templeton.  My motives for running are not personal but an overall dissatisfaction with the operation of the officers in the past and ideas on how to make being a senior here an overall better experience.

I’ve been frustrated in the past with the secret, almost clandestine nature of the senior class officers.  Making decisions that will affect all their fellow Badgers on one of the most important days of their lives seems ill-advised.  Let’s hold some forums to talk about what the class and campus want to see from graduation. Additionally, the senior class gift is something that I’ve never heard great discussions about, despite being good friends with nearly all the current senior class officers. We should have discussions about how we will be remembered on campus (I’m partial to a golden Mike Leckrone in the place of the Football-Phallus near Camp Randall 😉

Questions about graduation are numerous as well. Do we want a single big ceremony at Camp Randall? Do we prefer the smaller, intimate sessions at the Kohl Center more?  What about a mixture?  For some, the goal is to get the hell out as soon as possible. For others, the thrill of walking across that stage, shaking Chancellor Martin’s hand and getting that diploma is the memorable event instead of any speaker.  These are legitimate and nuanced questions that the class officers must face and I’m dedicated to asking for feedback.

With ASM passing a Commencement Speaker fund this year, we should be able to attract some top tier speakers and make graduation visible nationally, but we must remember that the ultimate goal is service to our graduating Badgers. National recognition means nothing if our students feel slighted.

I’m committed to an inclusive and thoughtful tenure in office and I’d like for all of you (that are in Madison, at least) to join with me in this effort. Together, we can make this a class to remember.

-AJ


New Badger Partnership: Playing Off Fear

A lot of the critiques of the Badger Partnership have been a little off base with what the current situation is, and what the legislation proposes to do. Sam Seering posted the most recent rebuttals to some of these rumors floating around and is overall, pretty comprehensive.

On a side note, later today, I will post about the Student Representatives meeting Brandon and I went to.  This was the first venue where all the critiques of the NBP were very well articulated, thought out, and actually reasonable concerns that go beyond vague fear-mongering notions of “privatization” or “militarization”.  So, thanks Reps 🙂

-AJ