Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!


Schools, Wauwatosa, Milwaukee

Driving west on Watertown Plank Road, I stopped at the red light at Highway 100. Behind me an impatient driver talked on his cell phone, tapping the steering wheel faster than any song I'd care to listen to. A speedy kind of guy.

From the corner of his eye, he must have noticed a flash of green and instantly laid on the horn, again and again, urging me to go, and slamming his fist against the dashboard in that damnwomandriver sort of way.

Of course, the flash of green was the left turn arrow. Those of us going straight had to wait for our green light. I bet it wasn't even 20 seconds.

I can't imagine why anyone would be in such a hurry to get to Brookfield. Or why you'd want to make yourself irritated with drivers who aren't doing anything wrong. There are so many who are, if you need your blood boiled.

But there you go. We're in such a hurry to leap out of the starting blocks we don't think enough about what we are doing.

I guess I'm in a picky mood today. This morning, reading about Milwaukee's battle about locating a for-profit post-secondary school downtown, a statement by Tim Sheehy slowed me down. Sheehy wants the school built on vacant land downtown, arguing it's a free marketplace for degrees too, and the school should have a chance to sink or swim.

Others, like Alder Milele Coggs, say that Corinthian Colleges suck student fees and graduate few--an accusation supported by 60 Minutes in 2005. She has some good points. Still, even research institutions admit that traditional colleges haven't always done the greatest job of adjusting education for students in a changing world.

Most city officials want the school purely on the basis of tax revenue, something non-profit schools don't provide. That's a morally neutral position.

But when Sheehy argued that the school would benefit the 21% of Milwaukee adults who don't have a high school education, I have to wonder about his own education. While the school's entrance application consists mainly of applying for federal financial aid to help with the hefty tuition, Corinthian does require a high school degree or equivalent to enter.

I don't know whether Corinthian-Everest College is a good thing or not. But taxpayers and students alike deserve careful thought and the real reasons for supporting or opposing it. Have we gotten so used to hearing reasons that don't really make sense that we no longer notice?

Then there's the other education headline:"State's schools get above average grade." The above average grade? C+. Okay: it's technically true. But not really what we had in mind, is it?

And while we're talking about education, can someone explain why Wauwatosa high school students who aren't college bound should take advanced placement courses? If students need better and more rigorous high school education, shouldn't all the regular courses be spiffed up and made more challenging? 

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