Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Clarification

By Lisa Kaiser
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To the editors:

In response to your article, “Connecting the Dots,” which appeared in the March 4, 2009, issue of the Shepherd Express, I think some clarifications should be made. It seems that one person in particular has needlessly drawn journalistic fire—Eric Hogensen. I think that fire is misplaced. Instead of talking about the issues that plague Milwaukee’s schools, you inadvertently made Eric a straw man for the problems that MPS struggles with. Instead of “Connecting the Dots,” you inadvertently engaged in a proxy battle against someone that cares just as much about the MPS as you do.

The facts are these:

Eric Hogensen, who also ran my 2004 bid for Congress, aided Bruce Thompson in founding the group, ASA, after Bruce’s election to the school board in 2007; however, he has not worked directly with either Thompson or the ASA since January 2008. At that time, Bruce Thompson, with the help of other group leaders, decided to take the group in a different direction. Eric has neither been advising or consulting with ASA since then. It seems Eric is being punished because of ASA’s failure to change the contact information on their PAC application—not because of his position on the issues facing MPS.

It is true that Eric is working with ReDonna Rodgers and Annie Woodward. Both women are excellent candidates who would make exemplary school board members if elected. They are not “ASA-endorsed candidates,” nor are Eric and ASA collaborating together to help them get elected. ASA has its own agenda, which can be examined by questioning one of their own representatives.

Eric made the decision to work with ReDonna Rodgers and Annie Woodward because they care about the most important issue facing MPS, an issue which your article did not address. The number one priority for Eric and his candidates is not the unions or the vouchers or the conflicting ideologies, but rather the children themselves. As longtime community members, Rodgers and Woodward are both familiar with the daily struggles of children in a failing public school system. The issues of unions and vouchers are tangential to them when faced with the real issue: what is best for the students of the Milwaukee Public School system. If and when these women are elected to the school board, they will be advocates for children, and not ideologies.

In light of the above facts, I believe that Eric Hogensen and his work were inadvertently disparaged in the article, and the true issues at stake in the school board race have been overlooked. We look forward to the next article that is published with more substance on the important issues facing MPS. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Matt Flynn

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