Letter to the Editor
To paraphrase an old African saying “When the Elephants Fight – the Ants get Hurt”. In this case, the elephants are our two major political parties and the ants are our most vulnerable: the elderly, the poor and our children. While the Urban League is concerned about all vulnerable members of our community, we are particularly concerned about our children and the impact that proposed stated budget cuts to public education will have on them. Given these difficult economic times and the budget deficits confronting state and local units of government, we must all make sacrifices and share in the pain of reducing costs. However, public schools, where the majority of children with the greatest needs are educated, should not bear a disproportionately high amount of the cuts.
On another note, we are pleased to see that the proposed state budget does not reduce funding for charter and choice voucher payments per student but we are also concerned that this is being done at the expense of the public schools. In Milwaukee, the timing of the proposed cuts is ironic. For years, many have advocated for MPS to make needed reforms so children can receive a better quality education. Now, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Bonds, MPS Board President, and Dr. Gregory Thornton, MPS Superintendent, we are beginning to see meaningful reforms that engage business, civic and community groups in the process. Just as we are starting to see these reforms in MPS, state budget cuts threaten to devastate the district.
Therefore, for the sake of our children, we are urging Governor Walker to bring both sides together and stop the “elephant fight”. If we want to maintain our standing as a world leader, we must invest in education so our children can compete in an increasingly technological 21st century global society.
President & CEO
Milwaukee Urban League