Common Core; The Ripple Effect of Rejection

South Carolina and Oklahoma are now in the lineup of states who have decided to block the federal Common Core State Standards (CCSS) program in their public schools, instead opting to use their own state standards.

>>>>>read more HERE

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) currently uses CCSS to cover math and English, and “promote literacy” in history and social studies, science and technical subjects for students from kindergarten through high school.

“It’s unfortunate that Wisconsin’s Republican leadership bogged down attempts to block Common Core in our state this session,” says Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action. 

On March 6, 2014, Appling testified in favor of SB 619, which created a model academics standards board in the state of Wisconsin.  The bill provided transparency, professional participation, public involvement and legislative oversight to the revision process of Wisconsin’s academic standards.

>>>>>read the full testimony HERE

The bill failed to pass in the Senate after Education Committee Chairman Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) refused to take any action on the bill after the public hearing.  No pressure to do so came from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).  Read moreHERE.

Germantown School District has already voted to develop its own set of standards.  >>>>>read more HERE

Drumbeats, Marriage, Judges and the Truth

From the desk of Julaine Appling, Wisconsin Family Action president:

When I started working at Wisconsin Family Council in late 1997, the drumbeat for redefining marriage to include persons of the same-sex was just beginning.  It was faint and slow.  Already, however, this organization had as early as March 1996, worked with state legislators to try to put language in our state statutes to clearly restrict marriage in Wisconsin to what it has always been:  one man and one woman.

For five consecutive legislative sessions, marriage protection wording was introduced.  Not until 2003, were we successful in getting the statutory language passed in both the Assembly and the Senate.  Within two days of the Senate approving the bill, Governor Doyle vetoed it in its entirety.  Courageous legislators in the Assembly attempted to override the Governor’s veto and fell one vote short.

Just days later in mid-November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judiciary issued a ruling that declared restricting marriage to one man and one woman violated the state’s constitution.  That ruling provided the impetus for legislators in Wisconsin to introduce in January 2004 language that would provide the very best legal protection possible for marriage in The Badger State—a joint resolution that would amend our state’s constitution and required a vote by the electorate.

By early 2006, the resolution had been passed by both houses two times in two consecutive legislative sessions and was ready for the people to vote on in November 2006.

ImageWe worked tirelessly the summer of 2006 telling people the truth about the amendment, countering the outright lies of Fair Wisconsin and others who were bent on defeating this marriage protection amendment.  God blessed and worked in the hearts of people and on Election Day marriage won. Nearly 60% of the people who voted—over 1.6 million Wisconsin citizens—said yes to keeping and protecting marriage as the unique union of one man and one woman in our state.

The amendment, the will of the people and the institution of marriage have been under strong legal fire since that historic day.  The legal maelstrom culminated late this past Friday, June 6, when federal Judge Barbara Crabb issued a ruling declaring Wisconsin’s marriage protection amendment unconstitutional based on the due process and equal protection clauses of the US Constitution.

With the single stroke of a single arrogant and liberal activist federal judge, marriage in Wisconsin was turned on its head and the will of the people was trumped.

Judge Crabb writes about a “fundamental right to marry,” “loving and committed” people and relationships, “equality of citizenship.”  All of those are fabrications of a judge with an agenda.   What these terms fundamentally do is to open wide the door for yet further changes to the foundational societal institution of marriage.  Already polygamists are ramping up to be able to marry, claiming that they too are in “loving and committed” relationships.

Judge Crabb dismisses the unique conjugal nature of man/woman marriage and the benefits these relationships have for children born to or adopted by married couples. She basically says gender is meaningless.  Children don’t need both a mother and a father according to Judge Crabb.

While relatively few Wisconsin citizens will get marriage licenses as same-sex couples, the impact of the ruling will eventually affect all of us.  For starters, schools will be forced to present homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” as being as normal and natural as heterosexuality and opposite-sex marriage.  Religious freedom and individual rights are bound to collide head-on with this so-called “equality in marriage.”  Gender distinctions will become even more meaningless and all of this is just for starters.

I am profoundly sad and disappointed, especially for the good people of Wisconsin who have had absolutely no say whatsoever in all of this.  They have been defrauded with no opportunity to dissent. Those wanting to redefine marriage took the coward’s way out and went whining to the courts rather than observing and respecting the rule of law and attempting to undo the amendment the same way the amendment was put in place, following the rigorous procedure provided in Wisconsin’s governing law.

The drumbeat to redefine marriage is now very strong, very loud and very fast. The drums are in our streets as homosexuals celebrate their victory.  However, we know that in reality as the prophet Isaiah said, “…judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street….”

Gauging the Well-Being of Wisconsin

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Council president, Julaine Appling:

“Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition: Gauging the Well-being of Wisconsin”

In 1997, Wisconsin Family Council released the first edition of Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators.   It was a well-received publication in part because it was the only document of its kind that brought together important statistics giving a panoramic snapshot of Wisconsin.  We released the second edition in 2008.

Modeled after William Bennett’s The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators at the national level, our Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators provides an overview of important indicators that impact Wisconsin’s best natural resource:  traditional families.  When Wisconsin’s families are healthy, Wisconsin is healthy.  When our state’s families are weak, struggling, and dependent on the government, that is sure to be reflected in the overall health of the state. As the family, so the state.

The greatly expanded 2014 edition of Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators follows in the footsteps of the 1997 and 2008 editions and continues to track critical indicators, typically, over a substantial amount of time, almost 50 years in some instances.  When we present these indicators graphically, we are able to see trends—trends that reveal how healthy or unhealthy our state is in specific areas and in a general sense.  As we look at these trends, we are also able to assess whether or not interventions have been helpful. This in turn can provide direction for policy and decision makers on whether or not to maintain such interventions or to introduce others.

ImageIn this 2014 edition, we basically doubled the size of the publication because we added what I consider to be an extremely important section.  Entitled, “Family Structure,” this opening 29-page section shows in graphs, charts and tables that family structure really does matter to Wisconsin’s well-being.  On every measure we considered, husband-wife families do better than single-parent families in Wisconsin.

For instance, single-mother households are much more likely to live in poverty.  Single-parent households are much more likely to take government assistance, including Food Stamps and other income assistance.  One table we provide shows that a single-mother with two children would lose $2,600 every month in government-subsidies if she were to marry.  In annual numbers, this single mom has over $36,000 of taxpayer money coming into the household from credits and programs such as Earned Income Credit for both the state and federal government, Child Tax Credit, WIC, and other subsidies.

Other statistics show that Wisconsin’s marriage rate has dropped nearly 38% in just the last 12 years and that Wisconsin’s total fertility rate has been below replacement levels since 1975.  Replacement level is 2.1 children per woman.  We have vacillated between 1.7 and 1.9 for 39 years.   The data also shows that while teen births have gone down, births to unmarried women have steadily risen since 1960, when only 3% of babies were born out of wedlock to 2010 when 37% of Wisconsin babies were born to unwed mothers.  That figure correlates closely with 50% of the babies born in 2010 having their births paid for by Medicaid.

On some indicators we separated out Milwaukee from the rest of the state.  Milwaukee numbers show an even more startling difference between married and unmarried households.  I believe it is very fair and very accurate to say that written all over this publication is the impact of fatherlessness on a state and a community.

Quite honestly, the data tells the story.  We do provide some analysis and additional information from current research.   Our hope is that public officials, educators at all levels, business leaders, pastors, ministry leaders, and lay citizens will find this Wisconsin Cultural Indicators 2014 Edition instructive and helpful as they make decisions affecting Wisconsin’s future.  We want this publication to make a real difference in our state as we work to improve and increase Wisconsin’s best natural resource—her married mom-and-dad families.

This unique and significant report is available online HERE.

Milwaukee Data Show Decline of Family Hurting the City

Press release from Wisconsin Family Council:

Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition shows children suffer

when the traditional family is on the decline

ImageMadison, WI—Today Wisconsin Family Council (WFC) announced the online release of Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition.  WFC first released this premier publication in Appleton, Wisconsin on May 27th.  The Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition, provides an overview of important indicators impacting the well-being of children and families in the state of Wisconsin and Milwaukee in particular.

“This timely compilation of data highlights how much the disintegration of the family unit is hurting Milwaukee,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Council. “While some blame government, the failure of programs, the judicial system or the education system for problems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators shows the root problem: where the family unit is no longer the underpinning of society, everyone suffers at every level of society, especially the children.”

The seventy-page publication provides a breakdown of data and trends between Wisconsin and Milwaukee for indicators such as “Children and Family Structure,” “The Relationship Between Government Assistance and Family Structure,” “Childbearing and Poverty Status,” “Sexual Activity Among High School Students,” and “Illegal Drug Use on School Property,” as well as a “Government Entitlement Analysis” that uses Milwaukee County rates.

“We know, for example, that 73 percent of children in Milwaukee living in single-mother households were in families receiving government assistance in 2010, compared to 56 percent of single-mother households statewide,” noted Appling. “Both figures are staggering, but they highlight the unique needs in Milwaukee. So many children in Milwaukee are missing out on the great benefits of living with a married father and mother. It is our hope that Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators will help leaders and concerned citizens in Milwaukee craft policy and programs that strengthen marriage and families and by so doing, strengthen the city of Milwaukee.”

Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition is available online.

 

Who Endorses Mary Burke for WI Gov? No surprises here.

The pro-abortion group EMILY’s List says it’s preparing to go “all in” this year behind democratic candidate for Wisconsin governor Mary Burke.  EMILY’s List and its affiliate, Women Vote, spent more than 3 million dollars in 2012 to help elect the openly homosexual, pro-abortion Senator Tammy Baldwin (R-WI). (photo below)

Not surprisingly, Baldwin has come out with an endorsement for Burke just this week.  
>>>>>Read more HERE.

Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, has this to say, “Elections have serious consequences.  It’s important that citizens know about the groups such as the strongly pro-abortion EMILY’s List, that are actively supporting the candidates.  What groups endorse and support a candidate says a great deal about where the candidate stands on the critically important and foundational issues such as marriage, family, life and liberty.”

Defending Marriage: A High Honor

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Council president Julaine Appling:

One of the highest honors I have is to strengthen, preserve and promote marriage in this great state.  From time to time, our work includes defending this God-ordained, God-designed institution, the people who share our belief in marriage, and rule of law in our state.   Last week, I and four board members of Wisconsin Family Action, our sister organization once again had the privilege of doing just that.

marriageIn the fall of 2006, nearly 60% of the voters approved Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment, which preserves God’s plan for marriage in our state law.

Basically from the moment that the amendment passed, it has been under legal attack.

In July 2007, a UW-Oshkosh professor filed a lawsuit alleging that the amendment dealt with two subjects not just one, and therefore the vote was unconstitutional.  In 2009, the State Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the amendment dealt with only one subject—marriage.  We were privileged to have filed a couple friend-of-the-court briefs in this case, in defense of the institution of marriage, the will of the people, the rule of law and the state constitution.

The fight didn’t end there. In 2009, Governor Jim Doyle enacted through the state budget a statewide, same-sex-only domestic partnership that at the very least is substantially similar to marriage.  Our attorneys immediately filed a lawsuit on our behalf alleging that the partnership is unconstitutional. We filed the lawsuit because it is absolutely imperative that the institution of marriage, the will of the people, the rule of law and the state constitution be defended.

Last year, the case reached the State Supreme Court and oral arguments were held this past October.  Right now we are waiting for the court to issue its ruling in this case.

But that’s not all.  On February 3 of this year, Wisconsin’s number was up.  The ACLU, on behalf of 16 open homosexuals, filed a lawsuit in federal court here in The Badger State, alleging that the amendment passed by a majority of state legislators in two consecutive sessions and then soundly approved by “we the people,” is unconstitutional.  The lawsuit alleges that the amendment violates the equal protection clause of the US Constitution, as well as the due process clause.

We were pleased that current Attorney General JB VanHollen immediately said he would vigorously defend the amendment on behalf of the state.  We also knew given that we have been uniquely and substantially involved with this amendment from the beginning that we could add to the supporting arguments.  So, our attorneys petitioned Federal Judge Barbara Crabb to allow us to file a friend-of-the-court brief in this critical case.

Earlier this month, the court granted us permission, in spite of the fact that the ACLU and its clients vigorously opposed our petition.  I am pleased to tell you that last Wednesday, May 14, we formally filed our brief in this case again defending marriage, the will of the people, and the rule of law and the state constitution.

adfIn every one of these cases, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom have stepped up and taken us on as clients.  Their stable of extremely competent attorneys across the country and especially their local allied attorneys right here in Wisconsin have done an extraordinary job of working with us in defending marriage, the will of the people, the rule of law and the Wisconsin Constitution.  We are deeply grateful for their ongoing help.

The lesson in this history of Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment is that defending marriage is not a one-and-done deal. It requires eternal vigilance on the part of all of us.  It demands a great deal of time, money, skilled attorneys, and commitment—and certainly calls for much prayer.  It requires strategic partnerships, not the least of which is partnerships with the Christian citizens in this state who share our values.  We covet your prayers and involvement as God leads you, as we daily have the high honor of strengthening, preserving, promoting and, yes, defending marriage and family in our great state.

BREAKING: Statewide Pro-Family Group Releases New Publication TODAY

Press release from Wisconsin Family Council:

STATEWIDE PRO-FAMILY GROUP RELEASES NEW PUBLICATION
Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition shows well-being of state closely tied to well-being of marriage and family

Madison, WI—Today Wisconsin Family Council (WFC) announced the release of Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition.  WFC will formally introduce the Cultural Indicators at noon today at The Machine Shed Restaurant in Appleton, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition, is a premier publication unique to Wisconsin Family Council in the state.  It provides an overview of important indicators that impact Wisconsin and the state’s best resource: traditional families.

Image“We are pleased to provide this important resource for lawmakers, educators, pastors and ministry leaders, community leaders and concerned citizens in Wisconsin,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Council. “Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators shows long-term trends affecting the social and economic health of Wisconsin’s families and children. When our families are strong, our state is strong. And the converse is certainly true, as well.”

The seventy-page publication includes data and trends for indicators such as “Family Structure and Income,” “Childbearing and Poverty,” “Births to Teenagers Age 15-19,” “Expenditures for Public Education (K-12),” “Underage Drinking Among High School Students,” and “Juvenile Arrests,” as well as a “Government Entitlement Analysis.”

“Over and over again, the data and trends clearly indicate that married, husband-wife families, on average, are in everyone’s best interest. They bolster the state’s economy and provide the best place for children to grow up to become healthy, well-adjusted, contributing workers and citizens.” said Appling. “This publication is designed to help decision makers and leaders craft policy and programs that strengthen marriage and families and in doing so strengthen our communities and state.”   

Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition Executive Summary and Table of Contents is available online.

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Wisconsin Family Council is a statewide, not-for-profit organization advancing Judeo-Christian principles and values in Wisconsin by strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty.