As You See It

Crime reporting

To the Editor,

Today is my last day in the office. By the time the long New Year’s weekend has passed, my DA term will be over.

I just wanted to thank you all for our great working relationship over the years. I’ve always believed that communities are better off, and citizens have the right to know, of crimes committed.

Although I did take some heat from local officials when I first began to release our county’s criminal complaints on a daily basis (“you’re showing Sheboygan in a bad light”), and for agreeing to speak to the media concerning our cases, I have always believed that a free press is a cornerstone in any democracy especially when it comes to government action, good or bad.

So thanks not only for your cooperation but also for understanding that I was occasionally not free to immediately discuss or reveal certain matters. I do appreciate your profession and its role in our free society.

Joe DeCecco District Attorney (well, until January 2, 2017 at 12:01 am) Sheboygan County

Report cards

To the Editor,

State report cards issued by the Department of Public Instruction show that most Wisconsin public schools meet/exceed student achievement expectations!

Based on four performance standards, ratings are used to show how expectations are met. Ratings are... "significantly exceeds expectations,"..."exceeds expectations,"..."meets expectations,"..."meets some expectations"...and "meets few expectations.

Citizens should question whether the state is performing ”up to expectations” in providing resources to help schools score high on the “report cards?” How about a “state government report card?” Use the same ratings to “score” our state on important standards.

First, the constitutional standard (expectation). Article X of Wisconsin's Constitution includes language that states...“The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools, which shall be as nearly uniform as practicable; and such schools shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years; and no sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein.” But since the start of 2012, more than half of public school districts (242) have passed referenda to exceed state imposed revenue controls. State government “fails to meet expectations!”

Secondly, a standard of attracting and retaining professional staff needed to create engaging learning experiences for students. ACT10 and the resulting fall-out of demoralized staff, early retirements, and now teacher shortages, have challenged efforts to attract and keep the best and brightest. Government “meets few expectations” because of unreasonable austerity measures.

Finally, a “fairness” standard? The state once promised two-thirds funding but we are far from that. Now we fund public and private (including religious) schools where private schools do not operate under the same public school mandates and accountability requirements. Government “fails to meet expectations!”

Contact our governor and legislators! Tell them to improve their performance in 2017 so that their “report card” shows "significantly exceeds expectations!”

John Binder

Plymouth, WI

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