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 testimony to WI Senate Committee on Education in support of SB 619

ImageYesterday, Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, testified in favor of SB 619 before the Senate Committee on Education.  Read the full testimony below:

Testimony in Support of Senate Bill 619

Senate Committee on Education

Julaine K. Appling, WFA President

March 6, 2014

“Thank you, Chairman Olsen and committee members, for the opportunity to testify today in support of Senate Bill 619. I am Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, an organization dedicated to strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty in The Badger state. Helping to ensure that parents have strong educational options and opportunities to be involved in the policies impacting the schools their children attend is extremely important to us.

We want to thank Senator Vukmir for introducing this bill that addresses some issues important to education and academic standards in our state.

It is reasonable and appropriate to assume that all of us want the students in Wisconsin’s public schools to receive the best education possible and expect them to meet high standards in knowledge and skills. That’s what we are here to discuss today. However, I submit that we can have the very best standards anyone can create, and we can have excellent teachers in our schools and we will still likely be disappointed in our rate of success. Fundamentally, we are dealing with a problem that is beyond the ability of standards and educators to fix and that is the breakdown of the family unit. As more and more students come from broken or dysfunctional homes, we will find it increasingly difficult to move these students to acceptable, let alone exceptional, academic performance. If state government is really interested in improving the academic performance and readiness of students, then at some point it must address strengthening families in a variety of ways.

That said, we find this particular bill to be a good step in establishing a clear process by which state academic standards are developed and adopted in Wisconsin. Heretofore, we have had no established process, at least not at the legislative level. Whatever process we have had has resided exclusively within the Department of Public Instruction.

To summarize, the positives we see in this bill are as follows:
1. It establishes a clear process for the development and adoption of state academic standards.
2. It ensures more involvement by Wisconsin stakeholders.
3. It involves more than DPI in the appointment of people to the advisory board.
4. It brings the process more into the light of day.
5. It requires opportunity for public input on the adoption of state academic standards by requiring three public hearings at various steps in the process and before different bodies.
6. It requires an appropriate measure of legislative oversight.
7. It ensures school districts retain discretion in curriculum choices and adoption.
8. It establishes a systematic review of and potential revision of state academic standards.
9. It ensures new model academic standards in English, reading and language arts and mathematics are proposed per the process within one year of the bill’s enactment.
10. It emphasizes that all interested parties should be able to clearly discern that the standards are setting high standards.
11. It retains local control in that it makes no change to the current law that clearly does not require any school district to adopt the state model academic standards but does require all school districts to adopt standards.

Also, we are pleased that this bill addresses both of the concerns we have with and recommendations we made regarding AB 617, related to who appoints advisory committee members and the amount of time before the current standards in math and English were reviewed.

We do have one concern with SB 619 and that involves the literacy standards that Dr. Evers and DPI also unilaterally adopted for all of Wisconsin. These literacy standards for English and math are incorporated in the academic standards, but DPI also has adopted “Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects” which fall under the Common Core State Standards umbrella. I believe the author, co-sponsors and this committee should look at potentially amending this bill to include these standards in the review, development and adoption process proscribed in this legislation.”

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.”

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.

WI DPI Holding Hands With Planned Parenthood to Bring Homosexual Curricula to a School Near You

SAFE, HEALTHY, STRONG?

It’s a marriage made in…well, certainly not heaven.

ImageWisconsin’s liberal DPI and Planned Parenthood – together they are scheming to come up with a curricula for Wisconsin’s children that is “LGBTQ inclusive.”Image

Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action states, “It’s not enough that Planned Parenthood has infiltrated Wisconsin’s public schools with an “anything goes” sex ed curriculum, now they want to dabble in homosexual activism and indoctrination, and our very own Wisconsin Dept. of Instruction is shamelessly getting on board with them. The implementation of homosexual curricula would promote the loss of parental control over the very issues that should be taught and openly discussed in the home environment.”

>>>>>read more here

VOTE TOMORROW – FOR WISCONSIN’S FUTURE!

TOMORROW – Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - IS the spring General Election in Wisconsin! .

There are TWO statewide elections: a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (10-year term) and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Locate your local Municipal Clerk’s office HERE

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Click HERE for Wisconsin Family Council’s 2013 Wisconsin Supreme Court & Supt. of Public Instruction Voter Information Publication. (Educational information only; suitable for printing and distributing in churches.)
  • Click HERE to see your sample ballot or locate your local municipal clerk.
  • Click HERE for basic voter information.
  • Call Wisconsin Family Action –  866-849-2536. We are ready to help you with any election/voting-related questions you may have.

Early Voting in WI Ends THIS FRIDAY – Election Info HERE!

ONE WEEK until the spring General Election in Wisconsin on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. There are TWO statewide elections: a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (10-year term) and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

EARLY VOTING ENDS THIS FRIDAY, 3/29 (close of business)
ABSENTEE BALLOTS available: More info HERE
Locate your local Municipal Clerk’s office HERE

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Click HERE for Wisconsin Family Council’s 2013 Wisconsin Supreme Court & Supt. of Public Instruction Voter Information Publication. (Educational information only; suitable for printing and distributing in churches.)
  • Click HERE to see your sample ballot or locate your local municipal clerk.
  • Click HERE for basic voter information.
  • Call Wisconsin Family Action – 866-849-2536. We are ready to help you with any election/voting-related questions you may have.

Won’t you consider partnering with us as we represent you, your families, and your values in the state of Wisconsin?

Statewide Voter Guides For Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice/Supt. DPI!

TUESDAY, GENERAL ELECTION, APRIL 2, 2013

This year there are 2 statewide races in the Spring Election–a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. You will have  other races on your ballot for local offices (mayor, city council, village/town board, school board, county board, judges).  Click here to see your sample ballot or call your local municipalityClick here for basic voter information.

**Click here  for Wisconsin Family Council’s 2013 Supreme Court  & Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidate Information Publication. (Educational information only; suitable for printing & distributing in churches.)