Education flyer causes a stir

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A flyer distributed to some Janesville homes last weekend bashed public education and caused a stir among local private schools.

The flyer, titled "Indoctrination vs. Education," was unsigned.

The anonymous author decries "dumbed-down curriculum," "sexualization of children," "union bullying and vindictive targeting of students," to name just a few of its complaints.

The information includes salaries and benefits of some Janesville School District administrators and teachers, with some of the names misspelled.

The flyer's author wants to "stop the Marxist/globalist agenda in Wisconsin's schools" and praises Act 10, the new law that strips most public employee unions of the ability to bargain for benefits or working conditions.

The flyers call for residents to scrutinize school board candidates but it does not call for them to vote for a specific person, so it does not violate Wisconsin campaign law, said Reid Magney, spokesman for the Government Accountability Board.

One page of the four-page document lists local alternatives to public schools, including home schooling and contact information for local private schools.

The Gazette contacted some of the listed schools, where officials said they had nothing to do with the flyers.

St. Paul's Lutheran School Principal Kevin Hendrickson said the author has every right to circulate his opinions, "but the fact that our school information is in there makes it appear as though we are in full support of this—which isn't true.

"There are excellent public school teachers and public schools," Hendrickson added, and the fact that St. Paul's provides a Christ-centered education "doesn't mean public schools are evil or bad or anything like that."

Principal Judi Dillon of St. John Vianney Catholic School said none of the Janesville Catholic schools were contacted about being on the flyer, either.

"I have no knowledge of any of this information or where it came from, and normally I ignore this kind of thing because there's no name attached to it. I treat it as an anonymous letter, which I don't respond to," Dillon said.

Dillon noted that the flyer incorrectly identifies the denomination of St. William Catholic School.

"I personally believe we are all in the business of education together, and as a professional I fully support all the options in the county and the Janesville area," said Martha Carver, head of school at Rock Prairies Montessori.

"I think different options speak to different people, and I think the more options there are in education, the better for the community," Carver said. "I think we do a disservice when we start putting people down and educators down."

Last updated: 7:50 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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