Republican Attack on Milwaukee Area Technical College Board moves Wisconsin Backward | WisCommunity

Republican Attack on Milwaukee Area Technical College Board moves Wisconsin Backward


Wisconsin's Race to Become a Third World Nation Accelerates with the Undoing of MATC's Board


The ALEC Stooges who are masquerading as Republican legislators dragged Wisconsin back to the pre 1911 era when industrialists ran unchecked over workers and citizens. This is not an overstatement. The 1911 legislation that created the Central Continuation School (which eventually evolved into the Milwaukee Area Technical College) was a signature piece of Progressive legislation that was intended to serve the forgotten groups in education. (see: R,W. Tarbill, A History of the Milwaukee Vocational and Adult Schools; MVAS Press 1958).


In 1911 Wisconsin was emerging from the “Gilded Age” when a very few rich industrialists had formed an unholy alliance with politicians. During the “Gilded Age” politicians used militia to fight the formation of unions. The most famous Wisconsin example was the Bay View Massacre in which Governor Rusk ordered the militia to shoot to kill the workers who were protesting for the eight hour day. As a result, Governor Rusk was a national hero for stopping the progress of the unions. (the similarity to Governor Walker does not go unnoticed)


Before the enactment of the Continuation School legislation boys and girls were leaving school after the fifth grade to work in Wisconsin's factories. The Progressive legislation of 1911 demanded they stay in school and also formed a Board of Industrial Education to provide education for those not seeking a profession. “ By the terms of the State Law of 1911, the board shall consist of five members, as follows: Two employers and two employees, plus the school superintendent in that city (these schools were originally established in the 50 largest cities in Wisconsin). The same rule applied to all fifty cities. These members are not elected directly by the people, but are appointed by the Board of School Directors of the city.” (Tarbell p23)


Tarbell goes on to state: “Since both employees and employers are much interested in the program, as already explained, it is important to note that no item is likely to go unnoticed. The board is well balanced, and the interests of both employer and employee are protected. It is well at this point to commend the foresight of the legislature of 1911.”


While describing the formation of the Central Continuation School in Milwaukee, Tarbell again references the wisdom of the makeup of the Board of Industrial Education;

“By law the board consisted of two employers, two employees and the school superintendent. From this group of men there began to rise ideas for the establishment of a great school. Employers were in need of trained help and could see opportunity for people to fit themselves for skilled occupations. Employees were anxious to upgrade boys and girls, as well as older workmen, and fit them for a more stable position in the community. The function of the City Superintendent of Schools, as a board member, was to help shape the general policy from his viewpoint as a schoolman.” As a result the Board of Industrial Education established the Milwaukee Central Continuation School in 1912. MATC is celebrating its 100th anniversary and it is insulting that the the same legislature that commends the other Technical College Districts on their centennials, is celebrating MATC's centennial by dismantling its Board.


Make no mistake, two things are happening here. Employees are being disenfranchised and minorities are being trampled upon. It is unconscionable that the legislators who actually reside in the MATC district, many of whom attended MATC, were not considered in developing this legislation. It is especially unconscionable that the minority legislators who live in the MATC district were not consulted and included. Glenn Grothman (R-ALEC), who lives in the Moraine Park District introduced this bill and Mary Lazich (R-ALEC) who sponsored it lives in the Waukesha County Technical College District. You can't find two whiter legislators. These two are the poster folk for the Belling/Sykes fear and resent minorities machine. Grothman did much less damage last year when he was fantasizing about protesters sleeping with their girl friends in the Rotunda. I have no idea what his fantasies are about MATC.


This Anti-Milwaukee, Anti-Worker, Anti-Minority, Anti-MATC legislation is the final exclamation point on what will go on record as the worst legislative session in the history of Wisconsin.




March 18, 2012 - 12:40am