Hostile takeover of
MATC challenged

On Thursday the Milwaukee County Committee on Intergovernmental Relations passed a resolution in support of Assembly Bill 551 and Senate Bill 397 that would restore the MATC district board’s composition to that of every other Wisconsin technical college and add city of Milwaukee representatives to the MATC board appointment committee.

The vote was five to one. Supervisors Gerri Broderick (3rd), Eddie Cullen (15tht), Marina Dimitrijevic (4thh) Jason Haas (14th), and Peggy West (12th) voted for the resolution. Supervisor Deanne Alexander (18thh) voted against the resolution. Supervisor Supreme Omokunde Moore who drafted the resolution was also at the meeting.

Click here to read more (Word Doc)

Study finds unions improve teacher quality

For years, a lot of money, time, and energy have gone into a national campaign to discredit teachers unions by saying they protect bad teachers and do nothing to add value to our system of public education. Whole organizations have been created to advance this campaign, and prominent individuals have staked their national reputations on the belief that unions are not good for education.

Click here to read more.

Kohler strike is a fight to save Wisconsin’s middle class

The 2,100 members of UAW Local 833 are in a struggle to preserve our community's middle class. With spouses, children and retirees, our numbers are at least three times that or more. We are your friends, neighbors, customers, fellow citizens and taxpayers. Our kids go to school with your kids. Our families need the same things as yours.

Since 1934, the working folks of UAW 833 have fought for and won wages, benefits and working conditions that have elevated the entire community. We took our hits in tough times, just like you, and, like all fair-minded people, we expect to share in times of corporate prosperity. But that's not happening. Not for us. And not for you.

Click here to read more.

Chris Larson

AFT Local 212 endorses
Chris Larson for Milwaukee County Executive

Local 212’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) has endorsed Senator Chris Larson for Milwaukee County Executive. The primary election is February 16, 2016.The election is April 5th.

Local 212 sent questionnaires to Larson and the incumbent, County Executive Chris Abele, and invited both to be interviewed.   Larson returned his questionnaire and was interviewed by Local 212 members on October 26th.  Abele did not return the questionnaire and ignored our interview invitation.

COPE enthusiastically endorses Senator Larson because he:

  • Is committed to appointing residents of Milwaukee County to the MATC Board; Abele consistently voted for Ozaukee County applicants over qualified Milwaukeeans.
  • Supports raising the minimum wage which helps our students; Abele vetoed the Milwaukee County Living Wage Ordinance which hurts our students and low-wage workers.
  • Voted in Madison to increase MATC’s funding; Abele financed candidates who voted to cut MATC’s funding.
  • Opposes privatization; Abele has attempted to privatize County functions.

Abele, heir to a huge fortune, is running commercials on television and mailed three very slick and expensive, color brochures claiming he cannot be bought.

Abele is trying to buy this election with his Daddy’s money!  He’s writing checks to organizations all over town, including one to the MATC Promise.

Our votes are not for sale. We judge people by what they do, not how much money they have. Chris Abele’s record would make Scott Walker proud:

  • Attacks county unions, nurses and bus drivers
  • Promotes privatization of MPS
  • Works with Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce to take over the MATC board
  • Sticks Milwaukee County taxpayers with the bill for the Bucks arena
  • Vetoes needed investment in Milwaukee parks and transit system

Chris Larson fought Walker's attacks on technical colleges and unions.

He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

He is not chauffeured around town in a limousine designed for Hollywood celebrities

Chris Larson cares about MATC, its students and the people of this county.

And that's what counts.

Vote Chris Larson for County Executive
on February 16th and April 5th!

The Rise and Fall of
For-Profit Colleges

For-profit colleges have capitalized on our desire to make education more inclusive. Students at for-profit schools are able to borrow huge sums of money because the government does not take creditworthiness into account when making most student loans. The goal is noble: everyone should be able to go to college. The result, though, is that too many people end up with debts they cannot repay. Seen this way, the students at for-profit schools look a lot like the homeowners during the housing bubble. In both cases, powerful ideological forces pushed people to borrow (“Homeownership is the path to wealth”; “Education is the key to the future”). In both cases, credit was cheap and easy to come by. And in both cases the people pushing the loans (mortgage brokers and for-profit schools) didn’t have to worry about whether those loans were reasonable, since they got paid regardless.

If we really want more people to go to college we should put more money into community colleges and public universities, which have been starved of funding in recent years. We should also rethink our assumption that college is always the right answer, regardless of cost. Politicians love to invoke education as the solution to our economic ills. But they’re often papering over the fact that our economy just isn’t creating enough good jobs for ordinary Americans. The notion that college will transform your job prospects is, in many cases, an illusion, and for a while for-profit schools turned it into a very lucrative one. 

Click here to read more.

Student Debt Rising Again:

Students who took out student loans and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2014 had an average debt load of $28,950, up 2 percent from the year before and 56 percent more than their peers from 10 years earlier, the Institute for College Access and Success says in a report released today.

Click here to read more.

Senator Chris Larson opposes changes to the WRS!

With a shrinking middle class, we need to be building on what we know works to ensure prosperity among our hard working Wisconsin neighbors. Making risky changes to the WRS is exactly the opposite of what Wisconsin ought to be doing.

Click here to read more. (Word Doc.)

Senator Chris Larson opposes merger of tech and UW colleges

Several Milwaukee legislators have announced their opposition to the latest Republican proposal to merge the state's technical colleges including MATC with the University of Wisconsin's two-year junior colleges.

State Senator Chris Larson who represents the Oak Creek campus issued the following statement that questions the impact of merging two successful higher education systems with different missions, different student bodies and different funding sources.

Click here to read more (Word Doc).

Education gap between rich and poor is growing wider

Education is today more critical than ever. College has become virtually a precondition for upward mobility. Men with only a high school diploma earn about a fifth less than they did 35 years ago. The gap between the earnings of students with a college degree and those without one is bigger than ever. And yet American higher education is increasingly the preserve of the elite. The sons and daughters of college-educated parents are more than twice as likely to go to college as the children of high school graduates and seven times as likely as those of high school dropouts.

Click here to read more.

The surprising things Seattle teachers won for students by striking

Seattle teachers went on strike for a week this month with a list of goals for a new contract. By the time the strike officially ended this week, teachers had won some of the usual stuff of contract negotiations — for example, the first cost-of-living raises in six years — but also less standard objectives.

Click here to read more.

President Obama recognizes MATC in its effort to provide a free college education for area high school graduates.

Free MATC Promise Obama

Click here to watch video.

New Study concludes that children of union members earned more than children from non-union families

It is well established that unions provide benefits to workers — that they raise wages for their members (and even for nonmembers). They can helpreduce inequality.

A new study suggests that unions may also help children move up the economic ladder.

Researchers at Harvard, Wellesley and the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, released a paper Wednesday showing that children born to low-income families typically ascend to higher incomes in metropolitan areas where union membership is higher.

click here to read more.

Former treasury secretary says unions must be part of the national agenda: 

Lawrence H. Summers, the Charles W. Eliot university professor at Harvard, is a former treasury secretary and director of the National Economic Council in the White House. He is writing occasional posts, to be featured on Wonkblog, about issues of national and international economics and policymaking.

Earlier this week,­ I participated in a Center for American Progress forum where a new study on unions and social mobility was released. The study, by my Harvard colleague Richard Freeman and collaborators, showed a significant correlation across American metropolitan areas between the extent of union membership and social mobility. Freeman, who based his research on data in the famous studies of Raj Chetty and his collaborators, also showed that the children of union members earn higher wages and are healthier than other children.

Click here to read more.

free matc

MATC announces free tuition for low-income students

Milwaukee Area Technical College announced Wednesday that it is creating a privately funded program so low-income, academically qualified high school seniors can attend tuition-free, starting next fall.

Called the MATC Promise, the college considers it a game-changer for families who otherwise could not afford to send their kids to college.

Click here to read more.

MATC free tuition plan came together quickly despite ambitious funding needs

Vicky Martin Free Tuition MATC

In January, President Barack Obama's pitch for a national free community college tuition program intrigued Milwaukee Area Technical College president Vicki Martin. Four months later, a presentation at a conference on its inspiration — the "Tennessee Promise"— had her hooked.

She returned from the conference energized at the possibilities.

Click here to read more.

Senators Dave Hansen (Green Bay) and Janet Bewley (Ashland) criticize a GOP Assembly work group considering merger options for the UW System and tech colleges. 

The two Senate Dems in a press release demanded any merger discussions happen in an open meeting. Public scrutiny, they said, is the cornerstone of the legislative process. 

Hansen and Bewley are members of the Senate's Universities and Technical Colleges Committee. Hansen said in an interview despite all of the changes to the UW System, including $250 million in cuts through the budget, the committee has held only one public hearing. 

He said the lack of committee action needs to stop, particularly when dealing with a topic as significant as mergers. Republicans, Hansen said, need to hear that message. 

"I'm just saying to them, 'Don't sneak this through,'" he said. 

The WTCS/UWS Merger Work Group began meeting this month in private to seek ways the two systems could team up to cut costs, find efficiencies and eliminate redundancies, Rep. Terry Katsma has said. But the Oostburg Republican said earlier this month the group was a long way from proposing mergers. 

Katsma, the group's chairman, described the closed-door meetings as caucuses. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment today. 

Hansen said he wonders what Republicans have to hide. If they put together a plan in caucus, he said, they at least should allow the public and Dems the opportunity to respond. 

"I would ask of them that when they bring this forward, they provide enough notice for public hearings, maybe around the state," Hansen said. 

Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, in an Aug. 18 press release and letter to Katsma, also asked that merger discussions take place in open meetings. 

Read the press release from Hansen and Bewley: 

Read Wachs' press release: 

West Bend republican business leader, John Torinus, opposes merger of tech and UW colleges:

The University of Wisconsin – Washington County is 3.6 miles, or a 5-minue drive, from the large West Bend campus of Moraine Park Technical College. The two campuses have been collaborating as never before, but have very different missions. Other counties have similar side-be-side schools. Should they be merged to save a couple of bucks on administration?

Click here to read more.

UW Tech College Merger is a Bad Idea

Wisconsin’s technical college system is under attack again, and we need your help to defend it.

Five Wisconsin legislators have proposed merging Wisconsin’s technical colleges (WTCS) and the University of Wisconsin’s two- year junior colleges. 

At a time when the state is facing skilled labor shortages and has fewer four- year graduates than neighboring states like Minnesota and Illinois, it is crazy to talk about merging two very different educational systems; systems that have entirely different missions, cultures and students. 

Career and technical education is more expensive that liberal arts education because it requires labs with sophisticated, state of- the-art equipment and smaller pupil teacher ratios to facilitate hands-on learning. Merger advocates say their goal is to identify “efficiencies” which is a business speak for cutting costs.  So in a merged system, what kinds of classes do you think would be cut first? Exactly the kinds of classes that students pursuing a career and technical education need!

Click here to read more.

 Mergers-a history of failure  

College Mergers Bring Big Changes But Questionable Savings

UW Education Professor: Tech College Merger will be a Disaster Without Study

The Impact of Mergers in Higher Education on Employees and Organizational Culture: A Research Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Science Degree In Applied Psychology

Reflections on the experience of students who are the first in their families to attend college


Early voting (also known as in-person primary voting) for the February 16th primary election begins on Monday, February 1st and runs until
February 12th at 5 PM

To early vote go to your local municipal clerk's office. You will need a government issued ID (drivers’ license, passport, etc.) to vote in this election. There is no early voting on the weekends since the Republican Legislature changed the law.

Here’s a link with details on early voting:


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