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Jay Bullock's Articles
Now showing 1-20 of 69 results.
Kids & Family - May 18, 2015
Zielinski's charter school proposal: smart policy, smart politics or both?
I'm also a teacher in the Milwaukee Public Schools, so for me, the most important topic of any campaign, even for alderman, is education. You can imagine, then, that Ald. Tony Zielinski's surprise proposal last week, which would stop the City of Milwaukee from opening new charter schools, was of interest to me. I like this plan, though the timing seems suspicious.
Milwaukee Buzz - May 12, 2015
Once again, reality shows its liberal bias
There is nothing wrong with being hopeful and keeping your fingers crossed as you try something new. But when hope and magical thinking become not merely your attitude but the entire rationale behind your actions, you should be prepared to be disappointed. After all, magic is not real. Only reality is real, and as Stephen Colbert once sagely observed, reality has a well-known liberal bias.
Kids & Family - May 5, 2015
Prom stands for "promenade," not "promoting awful ideas"
I teach high school, so this time of year I hear a lot about prom. This year, in particular, I've about had it with prom. Not because of the tiresome campaigning for prom queen or the incessant classroom distraction, but because it seems now more than any time in recent memory prom has taken destructive cultural influences and turned the amplifier knob to 11.
Kids & Family - April 28, 2015
Conflicting rankings show the challenge, and danger, of school ratings
Last week, the Washington Post issued its annual ranking of the best high schools in every state around the country. The Milwaukee Public Schools, with six high schools making the cut, including the top two spots in Wisconsin and three of the top 10. But here's a thing: Two of the schools on the Washington Post's list also made a different list, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's list of the worst schools in the state.
Milwaukee Buzz - April 21, 2015
Maybe my trolls are right; maybe I really am racist
Based on older data, MPS had the highest suspension rate in the country for African American high school students. Is it because white teachers (like me) are racist? I have been asked this before, casually in conversation with friends or acquaintances and seriously by people trying to get to the root of the problem - even by a fellow OnMilwaukee.com columnist worried that MPS teachers might be setting their expectations too low. I tend to answer no.
Milwaukee Buzz - April 14, 2015
Is Milwaukee's education marketplace killing school pride?
We're well into our second generation of students who have no sense of loyalty or school pride, our second generation of alumni who are leaving the system with no particular connection to their high schools. These young men and women will be of little use in any kind of alumni engagement scheme unless something changes in this city and district to help students -- or force students -- to be more loyal to their schools.
Milwaukee Buzz - April 7, 2015
Lack of competitive school board races hurts Milwaukee
Today is election day in Wisconsin. Non-partisan elections like today's, especially here in Milwaukee, are usually low-turnout affairs, with few candidates, few ads or debates, and few big issues on the table for argument or discussion. This year is feels like there's been even less of that than usual, since of five school board races on the ballot, three candidates -- including the citywide candidate, Terry Falk -- have no opponent at all.
Milwaukee Buzz - March 31, 2015
Indiana governor calls "April Fools!" on religious freedom law
A vocal minority of Indiana's Christian population demanded, and got, a so-called "religious freedom" law. Reality tells us that this very vocal minority of Christians in Indiana demanded the law because they wanted the freedom, as individuals, as churches, and as businesses, to discriminate against gays and lesbians.
Milwaukee Buzz - March 24, 2015
Here's to the next five years of Obamacare
This week in 2010, five years ago, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. It has not led to a revolution - yet - but if you asked your average conservative which was worse, the oppressive taxation without representation of King George or giving 16 million Americans access to affordable health insurance, they would say Obamacare every time, I'm sure. I do not understand this.
Milwaukee Buzz - March 10, 2015
Obamacare vs. right to work
The right to work law, like Act 10, doesn't hold up to the scrutiny conservatives would apply were it a Democratic bill. Health-care reform was a major campaign item, something promised by Obama. Walker denied interest in right to work and called it a distraction, and it was never a statewide issue during the 2014 election.
Milwaukee Buzz - March 3, 2015
Finding the truth in war stories
This column begins with your periodic reminder that In Real Life, I teach high school English. I often teach Tim O'Brien's novel "The Things They Carried," as a whole or in pieces, including the chapter "How to Tell a True War Story." I've been thinking a lot about that story lately, as NBC anchor Brian Williams, Bill O'Reilly, and even Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have all been in the news lately for telling untrue war (or "war") stories.
Milwaukee Buzz - Feb. 24, 2015
What makes "right to work" worthy of an extraordinary session?
This week, the Wisconsin legislature begins the fast-track process to pass "right-to-work" - or, as I call it, "right-to-freeload." They are doing this in a so-called "extraordinary session" of the legislature. While "extraordinary session" may well be a technical term related to the rules under which the session will operate, we all know what "extraordinary" means and, historically, such sessions have been used to address major or important or emergency issues.
Milwaukee Buzz - Feb. 17, 2015
2 reasons why it's a bad week to be an atheist
So what's making atheism tough this week? Two things. One is Scott Walker. And I don't just say that on principle, though I can see why you might think that given my history in this space. The second thing setting off my atheist alarms this last week is something that really was newsworthy. That's the murder of three observant Muslims in Chapel Hill, N.C., last Tuesday.
Milwaukee Buzz - Feb. 9, 2015
Building the streetcar doesn't hurt MPS
Last week Milwaukee Alderman Joe Davis, a streetcar opponent and announced candidate for mayor against Barrett in 2016, earned a "Mostly False" from PolitiFact Wisconsin for saying the streetcar would "take precious revenue away" from MPS.
Kids & Family - Feb. 3, 2015
Walker's never-ending quest to widen the resource gap
The dramatic budget cuts at the hands of Scott Walker would be devastating for this city and the state overall -- it would increase the resource gap.
Milwaukee Buzz - Jan. 27, 2015
Walker's teacher licensing program is a bad idea and another attack on unions
The "Scott Walker thing" in question is the plan our governor is putting in his budget to allow people with "real-life experience" to become licensed public school teachers, potentially without even a lick of training, student teaching, or other assurance that those people know a single thing about teaching. It's easy to guess why Walker is proposing such a thing -- I'll get to that in a minute -- but let me explain why I agree with my student teacher that it's a terrible idea.
Milwaukee Buzz - Jan. 20, 2015
Streetcar opposition is lousy with false dichotomies
In an ad, Nate Hamilton puts forward a textbook false dichotomy. A false dichotomy is just what it sounds like, with a speaker suggesting a false choice or saying that there are only two possible positions on an issue. Though he phrases his call for opposition almost as revenge for his brother's killing, his implication is clearly that the streetcar will proceed only at the expense of justice, or the other way around -- stopping the streetcar will bring about the justice he seeks. But that's just not true.
Kids & Family - Jan. 13, 2015
Accountability, recovery and Dave Begel
Wisconsin Republicans have unveiled their version of a "school accountability" bill; Democrats released their own bill designed to increase accountability at private schools that receive tax-funded vouchers, some students lost two pre-exam days to weather, the Packers won a playoff game, and a fellow OnMilwaukee.com columnist responded to what Jay Bullock wrote ... not necessarily in that order.
Milwaukee Buzz - Jan. 6, 2015
A "recovery district" won't be magic
Milwaukee's children, especially poor minority children, start school behind their white suburban peers, fall further behind over the years, and by the time they graduate, if they do, still end up in remedial college classes at a depressingly high rate. These are the facts, and they're true across all Milwaukee's sectors, they're true generally of urban poor children across the country, and they will be true of any Milwaukee "recovery district."
Milwaukee Buzz - Dec. 30, 2014
The surprising left-right divide in reactions to killings
By now, you've probably read and heard all you care to regarding police killings of unarmed black men and boys and the attendant protests, counter-protests, legal actions, recriminations and more. I don't have a lot to add to what has already been said, except this one thought that keeps bugging me and gets talked about at best only tangentially regarding these killings. And it's this: Why is reaction to this so divided along partisan lines?
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