If we continue to debate education spending, let's use facts, not simply emotion.
If we continue to debate education spending, let's use facts, not simply emotion.

Recent op-ed argues school spending debate with emotion, not facts

The following is an op-ed written by Rick Esenberg, President and General Counsel at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, and Dr. Will Flanders, WILL’s Education Research Director.

Because it is one of the most important functions of state government, education policy can arouse passions. There is nothing wrong with feeling strongly about an issue. But emotion is not a substitute for facts and reason, and passion is no excuse for stridency and error. A recent op-ed from Wauwatosa Support Our Schools (SOS) president Mary Young and Women Committed to an Informed Community co-chairs Marva Herndon and Gail Hicks falls way short of that threshold.  

The authors lament that politicians have "slashed more than $1 billion from our kids since 2008," disregarding that for a portion of that time Democrats controlled state government in Madison. It is true that both Democratic and Republican administrations faced tough choices and had to reduce state aid to schools during some of the past decade. It is worth remembering that in 2011, Gov. Walker and the Republicans inherited a state that was broke. There was a $3 billion projected deficit. In exchange for a decrease in spending, Walker gave school district superintendents tools to curb costs, resulting in well-documented savings of over $2 billion for school districts. Because the districts could utilize these savings, substantial reductions in actual educational programming were avoided. As the authors concede, the 2011 cut to education has not caused the sky to fall; graduation rates and ACT scores for students who were not yet in high school in 2011 are high compared to other states.

The authors then take local legislators to task for "sending our schools backward" by voting to "funnel millions more in funding away from our kids." Specifically, the authors point to a $5 million cut to schools signed by Governor Walker on March 30.  

This is quite the claim, but it is taken way out of context. When school choic…

Lotus Valentine and her fellow local artist Lady Venus are prepping LV & LV Night of the Arts for Friday night.
Lotus Valentine and her fellow local artist Lady Venus are prepping LV & LV Night of the Arts for Friday night. (Photo: Lotus Valentine Facebook)

Riverwest's Jazz Gallery Center preps for Night of the Arts local showcase

On Friday, The Jazz Gallery Center in Riverwest hosts LV & LV Night of the Arts, where up-and-coming local artists will be able to perform and display their creative works.

The event will feature visual art of all kinds, from paintings and photographs to clothing and jewelry. There will also be more than a dozen live acts from a variety of genres, from soul to pop to hip-hop to funk.

Michelle McAdams, an aspiring local acrylic and music artist who goes by the name Lotus Valentine, is one of the hosts for the event.

"Milwaukee is boiling with talent; we’re literally so close to being recognized on the level we deserve," she said.   

McAdams and co-host Analisia Torres, AKA Lady Venus, organized Night of the Arts after trying to incorporate their art into local galleries. After they contacted the Jazz Center committee, they found out that there was a whole week where the walls in the gallery were devoid of art, so the two decided to jump on it. McAdams describes the showcase as "something different, something new."

To help out with the event, McAdams reached out to local establishments and members of the community, who proceeded to donate food or raffle items for Night of the Arts.

Starting at 5 p.m. the event will open with a showcase of visual art available for purchase. A half-hour later, the live acts will start, running until around 9:30 p.m. There will also be a raffle. Be sure to bring cash so you can purchase these unique handmade items, as credit cards will not be accepted.

Check out their Facebook page for more details here.

AUTOMatic chatted with WMSE Local/Live about Herbie Hancock and his influence on the group.
AUTOMatic chatted with WMSE Local/Live about Herbie Hancock and his influence on the group.

WMSE Local/Live: Milwaukee hip-hop trio AUTOMatic

AUTOMatic is undeniably a savvy crew, fronted by scene veterans A.P.R.I.M.E. (emcee, producer), TrellMatic (producer) and JDL Rockwell (DJ, production). The trio has consistently created fresh, upbeat and funky yet structured sounds since its inception in the late '00s. Very much influenced by the '90s with its easygoing but conscious hip-hop style, AUTOMatic’s output is simply great danceable stuff with a great message.

AUTOMatic, along with the House of M, helped pave the way for the recent Milwaukee hip hop explosion. On last year’s "Arising" EP, they were still pushing forward with their solid foundation of modern R&B influences mixed in with the jazzy stuff, but they also began edging it up by throwing in a bit of experimentation with some electronica-infused sounds.

The group’s latest release is centered around A.P.R.I.M.E.’s more solo-leaning project under the alias of "3099." Although admittedly still AUTOMatic, the group’s latest EP is indebted more heavily writing-wise to its leader, fittingly entitled "AUTOMatic Presents: 3099." On it, they dig even more smoothly into their effortless balance between classic and more modern sounds, steadily adding on those burgeoning new elements of sound and adding depth of field thanks to a strong collaborative spirit. In the past, they’ve worked with younger local artists Vincent Van Great and El Shareef; on "3099," they prominently feature guest vocals by local R&B crooner Lex Allen.

On Tuesday, April 26, AUTOMatic played on WMSE’s Local/Live, the same day as the release of "3099," playing two live sets that featured songs from that new EP as well as unreleased material set for release in the fall. During the interview portion, AUTOMatic mentioned several times the great influence musicians like Herbie Hancock had upon their own creative output. Fittingly, AUTOMatic chose to feature "Come Running to Me" from Herbie Hancock (from his 1978 album, "Sunlight") at the end of Local/Live for the "This Is Your …