Mary Beth Writes

I keep saying Len and I are not going to protests because of Covid.

But then one came to us.

Late yesterday afternoon we heard that Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos would be at a meeting this morning at Saratoga STEM school here in Waukesha. It's three blocks from our house. 

The meeting was to talk about school choice. School choice is when you take taxpayer education funds away from local schools, change neighborhood schools into “choice schools” that will attract kids from outside that neighborhood and then you underfund the neighborhood school that's left.

I volunteer at a “neighborhood” elementary school. Whittier is Waukesha's only neighborhood school and is central to much of the low-income housing in Waukesha. It was also designated as the primary school for special ed kids.  See how they did that?  Make special schools in  OTHER places while corralling kids "with issues" in one place.

Many of the kids I’ve I worked with over the years were bright little whippersnappers. The school board advice to families of those bright kids – is to send them to other schools. 

And then there’s the part where private contractors (friends of pols) can petition to open a school and get taxes to pay for it.  Or taxpayers can get vouchers to send their kids to religious schools.

The legacy of Jim Crow lives on.

There’s more to say but I am not an expert. 

Other than teachers are not allowed to talk their politics in school.  So how does a school administration meeting get turned into a campaign stop?  Here’s a clue. Outgoing superintendent of Waukesha schools is Todd Grey. Apparently his son works for the Trump administration, possibly in the White House.

Let's look at some photos relevant to today. 

This is Betsy DeVos' "cottage" in Holland, MI. 

 This is one of her yachts.

Betsy DeVos owns 10 boats, 2 helicopters, and has a yacht scheduler. Her yacht is registered in the Cayman Islands, so is not subject to state property tax.

Comments

Mary Beth's picture

There's this report, already. Up North News; "Here’s How Pence and DeVos Were Greeted In Waukesha"
Leonard's picture

I cannot begin to guess at the money spent on this event - money that could better be spent on students. True, they did talk about education, but ever since the pandemic began, we find that meeting after meeting (and classroom after classroom) is replaced with online meetings or even "snail mail." Why was this meeting any different? Answer: BECAUSE IT WAS A CAMPAIGN EVENT! That's why it should never have been held at a public school!
Mary Beth's picture

We watched at least 20 cops (probably more). Cars and vehicles everywhere. We saw a Sheriff's Deputy care from Merton, WI. We saw an army armored car. Teachers who came to the protest at 7AM, and who had parked in the school parking lot - were required to move their cars so all the cop cars and the tank could park there.

Mary Beth, this is soooo outrageous! The combined dipsh...t factor of Pence and Devos! The streets dept likely had a lot of clean up to do after this sick roadshow. Glad you and Len could safely protest!!

The picture of the armored car alone is a call to Defund the Police!

Before I left the state, I volunteered for a few years at a poor school. Parents with bright kids were told to send their kids to another school. One year there were 17 different languages spoken among the students. Most kids were Hispanic, we could not know for sure, but the estimate was that 45 to 55 % of these kids were undocumented. The children were great ! Most of the teachers were great. We had these highest free and reduced meal numbers in the state. Our church “ adopted” this school. We did clothing drives and got clothes for the kids, mamas and daddies and sibs! We paid for lunches for the new folks whose paperwork for the free lunches hadn’t cleared. Through partners, We provided bags of groceries as needed and shoes and eye exams and glasses. These are just regular hardworking families who care about their children. The stories of how hard they have to work and what it took to get to America broke my heart. Many lived in motels! All children should get the same access to a good education. No matter where they live. As I explained sometimes, these folks may grow up to work in the elder care facility that YOUR kids put you in, don’t you want them to be able to read a chart and get you the right meds?
Mary Beth's picture

Totally agree!

I thought about you both this morning.

I happened upon your blog post when searching for articles about today's protest. I was there today, standing right next to the 2 of you (bright green sign)! Thank you both for coming out to show your support for public education.

Why are you so threaten by school of choice? Why not allow moms & dads to make a choice for what is best for their child? You did this, you made a choice for a private school for your children. Why anything less for moms who do not have the cash for a private school but want the best choice for their children? It is all well and good to talk about bags of groceries & shoes but at the end of the day education is about educating so that all children, regardless of income level, get an even and fair chance for a step up in the world.
Mary Beth's picture

Not threatened by “School Choice.” I’m angry at how it is used to support non-public schools. It is a huge boon to religious schools – schools that teach religion, schools that can and do pay their teachers and employees far less than public schools, schools that do not accept special needs kids, schools that can and do expel complicated kids with behavior issues. Of course Catholic, Lutheran, evangelical schools often and maybe even usually offer great education – but it is an uneven playing field to use our tax dollars to support them, expecting public schools to then educate the “difficult” kids. Or to expect families that are poor, often a single mom, to get her kids enrolled in more than one non-neighborhood school where each kid will thrive – when that means different schedules, different drop off and pick up times, different buses. We DID send our kids to private schools. Each child went to private school 3 years out of their 13 K thru HS years. We did not utilize vouchers. We continued to pay regular property taxes that went into our community schools. We have talked about this often. Each of our kids probably learned their most valuable skills in public schools i.e. how to get along with people of all races, sex orientations, learning abilities, physical and mental challenges. Not just being PC here, each kids constantly interacts in their jobs with wide swaths of humanity; they are not intimidated, awkward, or taken advantage of. They learned their valuable people skills in public schools. Thanks for writing.

Disgusting waste of taxpayer money!! I wonder if there is a way to get Pence and De Vos' schedules much ahead of such visits in order to call more attention to such traipsing around on our dime during a pandemic. Thanks for making signs and being seen! You both look great in masks. Can I forward your column to a friend who is a founding member of Herd on the Hill in D.C.?
Mary Beth's picture

Of course! Thanks!

This whole White House adminisitration is beyond corrupt. Maybe your school board (and mine) is, too. They should have opted out, if they could have, for holding this event, but probably the bullies would cause repercussions for them and your school. Thanks for what you did.

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Quarantine Diary #674 - MLK Day

1/17/2022

It’s Martin Luther King Day.  I read this last week (in Soul Matters for those of you who are UU). 

There is no such state of being that can be called - “I’m not a racist.”

There is only racist and anti-racist.

Quarantine Diary #668 Making an Effort

We hiked on Sunday.

1/11/2022

How was your weekend?

Have you noticed that with this omicron iteration of covid isolation – if one is not an employee - it’s tricky to tell what is a weekend and what is not? I think about what my kids might be doing and maybe we call them and that is the main way weekends are different from weeks. By what other people are doing.

Quarantine Diary #664 Whine, whine, whine.

1/7/2021

Lincoln gave a speech in January of 1838 to Americans alarmed by mob actions.

He begins: “In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American People …

Quarantine Diary #662 Janus month.

1/5/2022

I can still hear my mom saying, “I don’t know whether I’m coming or going today.” I thought of this, one of her favorite sayings, when I wrote this letter to the Third Graders yesterday.

Dear Kids!

I hope you had a fine winter holiday. Now it is January 2022. Do you know where the word January comes from?

In ancient Roman culture, Jānus was a god of doorways, beginnings, and of the rising and setting of the sun. The Latin word jānus, means doorway. Janus is where you enter or leave a space.

Quarantine Diary #661 Mistakes

This is a lemming. Make mistakes this year, but don’t make the lemming mistake.

1/4/2022

This morning, while looking in our under-the-fridge freezer for soup for supper (neither of us want to cook today), we discovered a towel-wrapped lettuce. What can I say? It’s a whole new mistake to make that we have never made before.

Quarantine Diary #657 What we’re up against

12/30/2021

I know a fair amount about the planet-killing toxicity of western culture’s “fast fashion” so I was impressed by what I read this morning in “The Day the World Stops Shopping.” (I wrote about this book yesterday in case you missed class. Hah.)

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