Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another Distractor: School Report Cards

Thrown under the school bus this week by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) were 76 Wisconsin schools, which "Failed to Meet Expectations" as calculated under the state's new-fangled school accountability system. 

DPI's new school report card system is pay off to Arne Duncan's Department of Education so most Wisconsin schools can avoid federal sanctions imposed by the poorly-designed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. 

Trying to spin this federally-mandated school accountability farce, the well-meaning State Superintendent Tony Evers stated, "These preliminary report cards provide valuable information for parents and educators as a foundation for helping all of our schools improve and I encourage looking beyond the score or rating. Whereas, the majority of schools meet or exceed expectations, detailed report cards provide data that will help them get even better."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Soul-Friendly Capitalism

This past week, an old friend and one of my former professors celebrated his 50th Jubilee as a Franciscan priest. Much of my recent critique on Paul Ryan's economic philosophy derives from Fr. Joe Zimmerman's compassionate reasoning.  Zimmerman agreed to let me repost his fine essay on soul-friendly capitalism, which is also published in Zimmerman's blog, Ivy Rosary.
Soul is story. My soul is my story, with its sorrows and its joys. Soul-less capitalism has no concern for the stories of individual human beings.
The problem of soul-less capitalism is not only greed. Its greatest problem is idolatry. Soul-less capitalism says that an abstraction, a number on a bottom line, is more important than beauty, more important then love, more important than health, more important than worship. If the bottom line drives beauty and love and health and worship from the lives of billions of people, that is okay. In the long run and in some places things are better. The problem is that billions of people do not live in the long run or in the right places. “The long run” story is an abstraction. It is idolatry.

We need soul-friendly capitalism.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

McCarthyites Take Up Teachers

More than any of my posting, my take on Paul Ryan and Me has drawn lots of attention from all over the country. Many middle class Americans, Wisconsinites, and Janesvillians share my concerns about Ryan's devout faith in lassez-faire capitalism. Expectedly, however, my critique of Ryan's political philosophy irked those who share Ryan's blind devotion in the free market.

Through the recall season and this new age of scapegoating teachers, I have grown accustom to the constant push back. Nevertheless, justice necessitates a reply to Tim Probst’s questioning in the Janesville Gazette (Sept. 4th, p. 6A) of my professionalism and patriotism.