Pirate Party candidate Joseph Klein outlines his position on education

Last week Democrat Jonathan Brostoff, one of five candidates running in the 19th Assembly District, released a position paper outlining his position on education. On the heels of the release of Brostoff’s education position paper, Pirate Party candidate Joseph Klein has outlined his thoughts on education in Wisconsin.

I am not alumnus of MPS and my spouse is a teacher at a private school, yet both of us are convinced that vouchers are detrimental to public education. Allow me to explain why we, who have no vested interest other than seeking the pubic good, come to this conclusion.

First of all, look at the data; studies have shown no significant increase in academic test results between voucher schools and MPS[1].

But more than that, we have the net result of breaking apart the integrity of the MPS system. The cost of education is not just a simple formula that derives an answer by taking the number of student and multiplying by x. Programs have fixed overhead and subtracting the cost of education, one student at a time, is akin to taking out bricks in a building. The system’s vitality and integrity are compromised. This leads to inconsistency across the schools, making MPS often seem like a gamble.

Public schools are often the place of last resort for children with special needs. Vouchers tend to attract those with involved parents, and those of good health and mental capacity. The public school system then bears the increasing burden of the most costly to educate.

Schools do not exist in a vacuum. Our collective problem with education is exasperated by our concentrated segregation by class and race, and our high incarceration rate among the males of ghettoized minorities. A radical (perhaps politically impossible) approach would be to regionalize some elements of the education system and work to eradicate jurisdictional barriers between urban and suburban systems that tend to enforce segregation.

We also have a barrier created by the history of public education. The school system was originally designed to prepare people as the workforce for an industrial society. We need to develop a creative, entrepreneurial, computer savvy, 21st century workforce. We desire an education system that sparks a fire in our students and creates a lifelong desire for learning. We need to allow school administrators and teachers the latitude to experiment with different pedagogy and take a social-scientific approach to analyzing the effectiveness of that experimentation.

To make our children competitive in the global economy, we need to start education younger, add more hours to school, have longer school years, reduce class sizes, and expand summer programs.

Education must be a holistic community endeavor. Public schools should work with and have more open access to the public museums, the public libraries, the public zoo, the public parks, the public technical schools, and the public university, so that each citizen can find for themselves their own best path to knowledge and self-fulfillment; a path that does not end at graduation.

Vouchers are a simplistic and weak solution to a problem that needs to be fixed by reforming MPS from within. Reformation of MPS must be cooperative and inclusive of the teachers and administrators. Above all the system should remain transparent, democratically controlled, and fully engaged with the community, the parents, and the students.


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1 thought on “Pirate Party candidate Joseph Klein outlines his position on education

  1. This is no doubt an astute and comprehensive endorsement of the need for a solid and politically viable public education system from Mr. Klein. We desperately need a well educated citizenry. While it remains ultimately the parent’s responsibility for the education of their children, it behooves us all to see that parents get all the help they need.

    The obvious problems with a monolithic public education system: cost control, specialized education needs, traditional family values and religious issues are meet to a great degree by our world class private educational systems and scientific research.

    Since the public schools cannot refuse a student admittance, they must be given first concern. However, we have found the Charter school and voucher system to be a leach on the public system with no added educational benefit.

    Accredited Private schools, in meeting specialized student and parental needs,are extremely valuable to the educational system and our way of life. Parents opting to support these schools should be given some cost relief. After all, these students do not cost the public school system money or resources. Therefore a progressive tax credit would be a politically neutral and economically feasible solution for all.

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