Wisconsin – Pornography: A Wink or A Crackdown?

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

According to news reports, since January of this year, the Chinese government has been undertaking a “Cleaning the Web 2014” project, resulting in over 100 web sites and over 3300 accounts being shut down because of obscene material and over 200,000 items containing pornographic material being deleted.  Unlike in America, pornography is illegal in China.

A spokesman for one of the state agencies is reported to have said, “Disseminating pornographic information online severely harms the physical and mental health of minors and seriously corrupts social ethos.”

It’s important to note here that Communists rule China.  And some will no doubt very rightly note that this government will also shut down web sites and social media outlets that broadcast any message or belief that is contrary to the ruling Communists.  Nevertheless, this crackdown on pornography in China is noteworthy.

ImageThe Chinese government apparently recognizes that the influence of pornography in their country is harmful and does not help them advance their goals or build affinity with their ideology, wrong-headed though those goals and ideology may be.  Addictions are like that. They take over the person, making them virtually incapable of fully functioning within society as a contributing citizen, regardless of the governing or economic philosophy.

While China is shutting down porn sites, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is winking at a teacher who was caught viewing and sharing porn on a school computer on school time.

It’s been a long time in coming, but DPI late last week finally issued a ruling saying that while Andrew Harris’s behavior was “highly inappropriate for an educator,” it did not rise to the level of “immoral conduct,” as then described and defined in state law.  Harris was a junior-high teacher in the Middleton-Cross Plains school district outside Madison in 2010 when the original complaint was filed. The school board fired him.

However, the teachers’ union jumped in to help Harris in the original investigation.  An arbitrator agreed with the union and ordered the district to reinstate him with back pay.  The case worked its way through the courts with the ultimate decision being that Harris had been unfairly fired.  So this past February, Harris resumed his teaching career at another middle school in Middleton, complete with nearly $200,000 of back pay.

The one option left was for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers to revoke Harris’s license.  That would have meant his teaching days in Wisconsin were over.  But, Dr. Evers and his cronies in DPI, said, no, they wouldn’t and couldn’t do that. Sure, Harris’s involvement with pornography isn’t good; but it’s not so bad that he should have his license revoked.

Image

Tony Evers, Supt. of Dept. of Public Instruction

The Chinese crackdown on pornography because they recognize it hurts minors and everyone else for that matter and especially debases women.  And we can’t even get a teacher removed from a public school classroom for receiving, viewing and sharing pornography on a school computer.  That’s pathetic.

Apparently China is more willing to acknowledge the dangers of pornography than we are. The truth is pornography is a big business—very big, with the United States reaping nearly half of the multi-billion industry’s profits.  Pornography is everywhere, all too readily available.

ImageSeveral studies now report that more than half of boys and a third of girls see their first pornographic image before they turn thirteen. Pornography wrecks marriages. The American Academy of Matrimonial Law reports that 56% of divorces involve one party having “an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.”  A solid majority of college-aged young people, both men and women, say that viewing porn is an acceptable way to express one’s sexuality.

All of this is a terrible condemnation of our culture.  Andrew Harris should have been fired—and no court should have overturned the school district’s decision. Shame on the union for defending this man.  Shame on the courts for being complicit in his returning to the classroom.  The students all know why he was fired and that he got his job back.  What kind of message does that send to them? Pornography is no big deal. It won’t hurt you; it won’t cost you; it’s good. All of those are lies. Harming minor students shouldn’t be part of any school program, implicitly or explicitly.

Being shown up by China ought to embarrass us and scare us. Tragically, if pornography doesn’t embarrass or scare us, I’m quite sure we’ll just arrogantly think China is being controlling and old-fashioned.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

 

WFA President Hopes Supt. Evers Heeds Governor’s Admonition in Middleton Teacher Case

ImageA Middleton teacher was reinstated to the classroom (with back pay) after being charged with viewing and sharing porn on classroom computers.  Parents spoke up loudly and clearly against this action by their local school district.  In response, Governor Walker has sent a strong letter to the Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers requesting the revocation of this teacher’s license.

>>>>>read more here

Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling agrees with Governor Walker’s decision, “This is another of those situations that should alarm and incense parents with children in Wisconsin’s public schools. I certainly hope Superintendent Evers heeds the Governor’s admonition and revokes this teacher’s license. In this week where we are recognizing school choice, I want to encourage every parent to explore the numerous educational options we have in The Badger State.”

Wisconsin Open Enrollment: The “Other” School Choice

Open enrollment allows parents to send their children to public schools other than those within their local school district.  Wisconsin’s public school open enrollment application period:
Begins at midnight on Monday, February 3, 2014.
Ends on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.

For a list of virtual Charter Schools in Wisconsin, click HERE.
If you’d like more information on Wisconsin’s Charter Schools, clickHERE.

>>>>>For more information on open enrollment, click HERE.

If you’d like an on-line application to open enroll your child, click HERE.  You may obtain a hard copy of an application and other Open Enrollment forms (e.g., Tuition Waver, Special Education Tuition, Request for Student Records), by clicking HERE.

Common Core in Wisconsin: Taking Responsibility

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

ImageWhen the issue of Common Core State Standards came to the surface a year or so ago, like many other Wisconsin citizens, I wondered how it had happened that state academic standards had been adopted and basically no one knew about it.
 
However, the more we looked into the Common Core State Standards issue, the more I came to realize the reason this happened and no one was aware is that almost universally we do not pay attention to local government.  We just don’t, especially not school boards.  People tend to think local government is bland, unexciting and kind of takes care of itself.  That’s wrong! They think the big evils and most exciting areas are, in this order, federal government and then state government.  
 
To be blunt, the more remote the level of government, the less impact and influence we have as individual citizens.  The closer the level of government, the greater our impact and influence—of course, that assumes we are informed and actually involved.
 
ImageI’ve talked to a lot of people about Common Core State Standards in this state. Most of them are furious at Tony Evers as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  They’re furious at the entire Department of Public Instruction, and the state legislature.  They are demanding swift and sweeping action, and quite honestly I’m not sure they are going to get what they want.  
 
What I do know is if all of us took an interest in our school boards and the people we elect to represent us on those school boards much of the furor over Common Core State Standards would have likely been avoided.
 
What many Wisconsin citizens do not know is that the state law requires that every school district in this state must adopt academic standards, but the law does not stipulate which standards a district adopts.  That’s all about local control.  Not one of our 426 Wisconsin school districts was forced to adopt Common Core State Standards, even though Tony Evers adopted them at the state level.
 
Having served on a Wisconsin school board for five years, I can say with authority that any standards considered by any school district must be approved by the school board.  Had citizens been engaged with their elected members of their school boards, they would have known that the districts were in the process of adopting new academic standards.  They could have attended curriculum committee meetings, meetings of the full school board, made calls to individual school board members, met with the district superintendent, and organized their community to action—all at the local level.  I can almost guarantee you that we would be in a different situation right now regarding Common Core State Standards in many school districts across the state had that happened.  
 
ImageSo, what can you do to change this situation?  School boards and all local government offices are elected in the spring.  The deadline for filing to run for these offices in 2014 is Monday, January 6, 2014.  Perhaps you are qualified to run for a seat on your school board.  Or perhaps you know someone who is qualified to run.  Look, if we want different outcomes from our government—at all levels—we have to get different people elected, people whose worldviews, belief systems, and values are more like ours.  Until and unless we do, we are going to get more of the same.  You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  
 
I’ve said for years, we need to recruit out of the pews of our churches.  If we can’t find qualified and willing candidates for school boards, city councils, town and village boards, and county boards out of our churches, then where, pray tell, will we find them?  It’s time, in fact it’s past time, that we figure this out.  At a minimum, you need to make up your mind that you will be a committee of one, if it comes to that, to read school board minutes, go to the meetings, get acquainted with school board members and district administrators, and then recruit others to join you.  
 
We’re too often directing our frustration at the wrong place and at the wrong time when it comes to government. This Common Core State Standards issue is a perfect example of that.  We missed a golden opportunity to really exercise local control.  Look, you are a taxpayer, a citizen, a Christian.  You have a responsibility to be involved. Do it. Don’t wait for someone else.  You be the one.  When we individually do this, we will become true difference makers right where we live.  Until then, others will make a difference—and we probably won’t like the difference they are making.

WFA Recommendations Considered at WI Common Core “Wrap Up” Meeting at Capitol

The Assembly portion of the Select Committee held a “wrap up” meeting this week on Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) in Wisconsin following numerous public input sessions across the Badger state. Julaine Appling, Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) president, gives a short update and explains the recommendations offered by WFA that appear to be receiving strong consideration by the Committee.

WARNING: “Safe Schools” grant for WI not so “safe” for WI families/children

dpiThe Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction issued a press release on October 14, 2013 announcing they had been awarded an $8.7 million “Safe Schools” grant.

Page 2 of the news release states:

“Based on identified needs, schools might implement alcohol and drug abuse prevention or anti-bullying programs to serve students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, who have in past research indicated higher rates of feeling unsafe at school.”

Symbol of so-called "safe space" for homosexual children

Symbol of so-called “safe space” for homosexual children used in public schools across the nation.

While the Wisconsin DPI announcement notes that the program will be used to increase overall health of students, Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling feels otherwise, Of course, all students should be safe at school; however, the “feelings” of students should not be the basis for determining if someone is being bullied.  We’ve known for years that virtually all of the anti-bullying programs have been spearheaded by homosexual activists and sympathizers.  The type of program this grant is promoting will likely be used to shut down any expression of disagreement with homosexuality.”

A recent study from the University of Texas indicates that anti-bullying programs have shown youth are more likely to be bullied after instituting such programs.

>>>>>read the study HERE

Implementation of the “Safe Schools-Healthy Students” program will be piloted in three Wisconsin school districts (click on links for contact information):

Parents should consider this a heads’ up.  

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  1. Be engaged with your school board members.  Express your concerns about the implementation of anti-bullying programs.  Share the study from the University of Texas.
  2. Know where School District monies from the program are being spent.
  3. Be aware of what is taking place in the schools within your district.  Check your local school district’s website.
  4. Parents, talk to your children.  Know what they are seeing, hearing and learning on a day-to-day basis.

HELP IS ON THE WAY! “Faith, Freedom, and Public Schools”

WISCONSIN FAMILY COUNCIL is hosting

 “Faith, Freedom & Public Schools”

For Christian EDUCATORS teaching in WI’s public schools…

A powerful presentation by Eric Buehrer, founder and president of Gateways to Better Education

Saturday, October 5, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Copper Rock Coffee Company
Appleton, WI

Evening session for parents & teens!
7:00 p.m.
Calvary Bible Church
Neenah, WI

Attention Christians teaching in Wisconsin public schools
You don’t want to miss this exclusive seminar, designed just for you! Learn how to confidently teach about Judeo-Christian history, culture and values across the curriculum.

If you know a Christian teacher in Wisconsin public schools, pass this email on to them and encourage them to attend this “liberating” seminar!

Attention Pastors! 
Encourage those in your church who teach in Wisconsin public schools to attend this event. Help them understand the 4 key principles to move from fear to freedom in their classrooms.

Click HERE to watch a brief (3:22 mins.) video with teachers from around the country who have attended this seminar. Listen to what they have to say about “Faith, Freedom & Public Schools”.and the “liberating” it brought them.Click HERE for more information and click HERE to register for this important event! Space is limited; registrations taken and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Don’t take a chance. Don’t wait. Sign up today and invite a friend to join you!Attention parents!  The evening session is for you and your teens (younger students are welcome but the material is not geared to them).  Attend this free presentation (free-will offering will be taken) to learn how you can legally and appropriately impact your school and how you can help your children avoid some of the pitfalls that accompany going to a public school today.