That's Peter Blewett reading to a kid. And what you're seeing right now is one good guy who believes that kids should have a great education.
Which is a good thing for the Milwaukee Public School Board President.
Peter is running to be Board President again. You can vote for him on April 7. You really should vote for him on April 7th, too. Especially if you like art. (You can't hide the fact that you do if you are reading this now).
Peter is an arts and arts education fan. His opponent in this race, ReDonna Rodgers, has a slightly different view of arts education. Peter believes it is essential, it should be prevelant throughout a student's educational life, and that it should be facilitated by professionals who are treated like professionals (in other words, they may be paid poorly, but they get paid).
I've heard tell from colleagues that in a recent debate with Peter Blewett, ReDonna Rodgers suggested that one measure to help the MPS budget would be to get cut arts teachers from the payroll and have arts education needs met by "volunteer artists." Okay, couple reasons why this is a bad idea.
Love volunteers. Simply love them. But when it comes to accountibility, you don't have a leg to stand on with volunteers. Paying a professional artist might mean that you need to shake some sheckles out of trees, but you are ensuring some accountibilty with this route. Would we consider cutting math teachers from the MPS budget? Perhaps those "volunteer math people" could teach the next generation that 1+1=3 and we won't need to worry about any balancing act with any budget anytime, anywhere.
Bad reason numero two for ReDonna Rodgers' assertion that cutting arts teachers salaries makes sense is that this measure would mean trimming an already maligned work force. When, oh when, do we get to change the rhetoric on this? When do artists get to stop walking around with targets on their back, the easy prey of any budget cut. Arts are important. They help us think better, more creatively, end of story. I don't need facts and figures to prove my point. Spend a few hours with my arts exposed kids and then spend a few with some kids I will hand pick whose arts education exposure has been limited to repeat viewings of "High School Musical" and tell me which ones you would like to spend a car ride with or eat dinner next to for the rest of your life.
Peter is having a fund raiser at Eat Cake, 4303 West Vliet Street Milwaukee, WI 53208, this Sunday (March 29) from 2-4. It would be good to support Peter. It would be good to eat some cake with him. It would be good to get him re-elected. Let's do all we can to help that effort.