My wife went to Brookfield Academy. Sometimes, I like to put words in the mouths of those who send their kids there, like, "We're not letting 'those kids' in our school." I'm probably completely wrong. Brookfield Academy parents are probably very excited to see a full voucher system so that the school can be expanded and students from all walks of life can benefit from the obviously better teachers and facilities that result in better students year after year. It's exactly what should fix the system. My wife's friend, who also attended Brookfield Academy, told me this is what needs to happen and that Waiting for Superman showed her the light. Well, it's your time, now, BA. Let's see what happens.


My prediction is that when a full voucher system hits Wisconsin, upper-echelon private schools will INCREASE tuition and requirements to get in. Why? Not because it will cost more to educate the kids. Not because teachers will demand more. No, it will be weed those out that the members of the country club might not want there. Sure, BA offers a few scholarships and is very proud of its brownish faces in the crowd, but do sons and daughters of surgeons and CEOs really want to share the lunchroom with kids getting free lunch? Will they? Do Brookfield and Delafield parents want their kids hanging out with kids from the brownfields of Milwaukee who have eight siblings by four daddies? Do the exemplary teachers used to homework and high ACT accomplishment want to deal with kids who throw punches if someone mean-mugs them and are told by parents that even teachers best not dis their kids.


I'm sure BA and other private schools are not really prepared for a full voucher system, even though they want to enjoy the government cheese from their chosen students. School choice, under a full voucher system, will not be a choice made by parents, but one made by the elite schools to take the kids they see as fit for their programs, creating the same segregated system as today. The only difference? Voucher money will be added to the bank accounts of the choicest schools, resulting in more for the rich and less for the poor. Honestly, a full voucher system is a Godsend for top-end private schools and wealthy parents, as they will benefit the most. Can it be made fair? Maybe, but schools used to being on top would have to risk it all to let students not used to being on top enroll, and I don't see that really happening, meaning the worst students with the most problems will be denied access or kicked out of these wondrous places.

Ten years down the road, we'll see several success stories of kids waking up at 4am to head out to Brookfield to get to the best school around. Of course, the kid willing to do that could have succeeded at my MPS high school all along, but that story will make us all see how it just takes a helping hand and some dedication to fix it all, never mind the thousands NOT willing to get up early or who got kicked out for not conforming enough. It's a nice Horatio Alger story, anyhow.

Visit Educabana for more on dreams of equity in education and how you can participate in an educated world.

Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • QR Code Interview Gimmick
    My kids' school created a pamphlet with a QR code that linked to the website, so I figured it could be useful to do the same thing when I bring in my resume to a job interview. Especially since I made a cool online resume that really looks a lot better than the printed kind. Plus, printing all that I've done over the last two decades would be a huge waste of paper (unless it gets me the job).

    I wonder how many people in the average interview will know how  to use the QR code. I didn't have the capability on my phone until last year, and it is kind of a gimmick, especially since you can usually just email links and whatnot. Then again, it's something different, and it might make me stand out a bit, so I'll print off the code along with some other important documents.

    I am sure plenty of people have used a QR code as part of their interviews, but I do think my online resume is pretty darn good, so it's more than a link to my Linkedin page. I suppose a link to a video of me would be even cooler, but that would mean making a video, and it's not like I'm trying to get a job as a videographer. Anyhow, feel free to use this idea as part of your next interview. Just like everyone started using student-written letters of recommendation after I introduced the idea back in 2002.

  • Who's Got My Back in Jacksonville?
    I've seen several political ads recently that focus on people who have the back of the police officers. I suppose that's a thing, but I am not a police officer (or a native of Jacksonville), so I'm kind of wondering who has my back as I settle in here.

    I assume JSO and JFRD have my back because it's their job. And all the military around here have my back in case Canada attacks. But I'm thinking about the everyday having my back kind of thing.

    In Milwaukee, I could count on some people, at least a little bit. Classmates from Milwaukee's John Marshall High School (91, 92, 93, and 94). Or Wilbur Wright Middle School (88, 89, 90). Or French Immersion school or 82nd Street School. Most of the people who might have my back in MKE are now cordial Facebook friends. Sure, our high school football team liked to say we went to war together and we were brothers for life an all that, but we're kind of distant cousins at this point, two decades since I've seen most of those old friends in person. That said, any meatheaded rivalries are now gone at least.

    I donated my time as a teacher at Menomonee Falls High School for 12 years, so there might be a few fellow teachers or former students who have my back. Then again, I didn't get a whole lot of love from many of the MFHS Indians back when I got laid off, so whatevs.

    People at church will have your back, generally, but it takes some time to build relationships. Same goes for fellow parents at your kids' school or new co-workers. Or new neighbors.

    I felt like my fellow baseball teammates in Wisconsin had my back when I played there, but that was also mostly the guys with whom I played for many years. Maybe it just takes a lot of time for people to really have your back, and you have to stay relatively injury-free.

    Family is forever, but I don't have any in jax. I bet that's fairly typical in this area with such a fast population growth in the area. Lots of new people without family, so probably a lot of us trying to figure out who has our backs, besides politicians, of course. Obviously, I have my immediate family, but that's a little different than the idea of someone having my back. Still, it's more than some folks might have.

    My wife's been fortunate enough to find a Meetup group with people who probably have her back. I have not found a good group to join myself, but that's one way to make new friends. Maybe not super close friends, though. I'm not sure. Meetups are hit-or-miss. Just like friendships. 

    I guess I'm glad I'm not in a gang or anything, even though gang members have each others' backs. But the cops and politicians don't have their backs, which is good. I suppose we can all relate to the appeal, especially if you grew up thinking no one had your back.

    I hope all people in Jacksonville find the connections that make them feel safe without having to join a gang, call the police, or vote for someone. That's my goal, anyway.