Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Every August 7 is Purple Heart Day in Wisconsin.
So many brave men and women have been awarded the Purple Heart. Meet one of them, John Kriesel.
On Saturday April 26, 2008, I served as the master of ceremonies for the annual banquet of the Wisconsin Scorers and Timers Association (WISTA). I’m on the Board of Directors for the organization that provides table officials for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) boy’s and girl’s varsity and junior varsity basketball games.
At the banquet, I presented the annual John Kaczmarek Award to Rufus King varsity boy’s basketball head coach Jim Gosz, The Kaczmarek Award is a prestigious honor named for the late MPS Athletic Commissioner who worked with WISTA in its early days almost 50 years ago.
I did my customary roast of the award recipient, but the majority of my presentation spoke to what a fine coach, man, teacher, and friend Jim Gosz has been throughout his career.
That’s why I was stunned to read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article that, “As the result of a five-month Milwaukee Public Schools internal investigation, the Milwaukee King boys basketball team will not be allowed to compete in the 2009 WIAA post-season tournament. The King basketball program has also been placed on probation by the WIAA through the 2009-'10 school year. In addition, a King assistant boys basketball coach has been fired from his coaching position, although an MPS spokesperson said Wednesday that the former coach was allowed to retain his full-time job inside MPS.”
The newspaper reported the following about the MPS investigation:
a) Four students, who were in eighth grade at two separate MPS elementary schools during the 2007-'08 school year, were recruited by a King coach in violation of WIAA rules. They received invitations to participate in an open gym session at King, which is a violation of WIAA open-gym/out-of-season coaching contact rules. Furthermore, they reportedly had conversations with a King coach about attending the school, in violation of WIAA recruiting rules.
b) The four boys were admitted to King for the 2008-'09 school year, but a subsequent review of the admissions materials revealed that "the entrance materials for three of the four boys were manipulated to make the students meet the admissions standards," according to the letter written by Newby-Randle. Jackson said there was evidence that test scores had been altered in at least one case, and that three of the four students in question did not have entrance materials (including grade transcripts, attendance statistics and test results) that met King's admission standards.
The four boys and their families were cleared of any wrongdoing in the matter, and all four remain welcome to attend Rufus King when school opens later this month. They were also given the option of choosing another MPS school. The four will also be eligible to participate in all extracurricular activities, including basketball and other sports.
I believe the WIAA and MPS have gone too far and their punishment is unfair.
Let me say from the outset that I know everyone mentioned in this story with the exception of the King principal and I know everyone very well, especially Gosz and MPS Athletics Commissioner Bill Molbeck, for many, many years, They have my utmost respect.
As I’ve mentioned on radio, TV and on this blog, I’ve been heavily involved in MPS athletics going back to mid-60’s when I helped my father take tickets at football games at historic South Stadium. I have been a ticket taker, security guard, football chain gang member, scorer, timer, and public address announcer. For 40-plus years, I’ve watched MPS sports and have met many wonderful student-athletes, coaches, teachers and school administrators. Athletics is one of the best things MPS has going.
Let’s review. Keep in mind there’s no evidence that Jim Gosz, who for many years has run a spotless program at Rufus King, did anything wrong.
1) The Milwaukee King boy's basketball team will not be allowed to compete in the 2009 WIAA post-season tournament.
2) The King basketball program has also been placed on probation by the WIAA through the 2009-'10 school year.
3) A King assistant boys basketball coach has been fired from his coaching position.
4) Four boys were recruited by a King coach in violation of WIAA rules.
5) They received invitations to participate in an open gym session at King, which is a violation of WIAA open-gym/out-of-season coaching contact rules.
6) They reportedly had conversations with a King coach about attending the school, in violation of WIAA recruiting rules.
7) The entrance materials for three of the four boys were manipulated to make the students meet the admissions standards. Test scores had been altered in at least one case, and that three of the four students in question did not have entrance materials that met King's admission standards.
8) The four boys and their families were cleared of any wrongdoing in the matter, and all four remain welcome to attend Rufus King when school opens later this month. They were also given the option of choosing another MPS school. The four will also be eligible to participate in all extracurricular activities, including basketball and other sports.
It appears the coach in question who invited the boys to an open gym and talked to them about attending King has been fired from coaching. That was the right move.
It appears some serious violations occurred in greasing the skids, if you will, academically so that the four boys could attend King. MPS should determine the officials involved in manipulating the records of the four eighth-graders and impose the proper discipline. That’s the common sense remedy.
Keep in mind the four boys involved are bing allowed to enroll at King and even go out for sports because, as the King principal said, "we did not want the situation to cause a loss of opportunity for other families." What about the loss of opportunity for the families of kids that are innocent in this case?
To punish the school, its students, the basketball team, and head coach Gosz, all of whom did nothing wrong, is extremely unfair and punitive. But I’m not surprised, given the heavy-handedness of the WIAA and its blatant bias against Milwaukee.
You’re going to strip the school from post-season play because some assistant blundered and let some eighth-graders (they’re not even on the team or students at the school) shoot some hoops for an hour in the summer in the school gym? Yes, it’s a rule violation, but the punishment seems awfully steep.
My fear is that the knee –jerk reaction after reading the Journal Sentinel article will be to jump to false conclusions that here’s an MPS school cheating to get ahead.
The fact is Rufus King is a very, very good school and the coaching staff, despite the miscues of one member, is one of the finest in the entire state. I’ve been a guest in their school many times to work games and I know first-hand the quality job that goes on inside that building.
The head coach, the juniors and seniors returning to play varsity basketball did absolutely nothing wrong. And yet they are being punished. That’s what’s wrong with public education today and with the organizations entrusted with overseeing high school sports.
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Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle vetoed a photo ID requirement three times.
Democrats who control the state Senate refused to schedule a vote on a constitutional amendment on photo ID in the last legislative session, killing the measure even though more than 70% of Wisconsinites support such a requirement.
To hear Doyle and state Senate Democrats talk, there is no voter fraud in Wisconsin.
From jsonline.com today:
Criminal inquiry possible in voter filingsAt least six voter registration workers could face criminal investigations after turning in 200 to 300 fraudulent registration cards, according to the Milwaukee Election Commission and the activist group that employed them.
In one case, "one woman called us to complain because her husband has been dead for 10 years and a voter registration was submitted," said Sue Edman, the commission's executive director.
In other cases, deputy registrars working for ACORN were "making people up or registering people that were still in prison," said Carolyn Castore, ACORN's state political director.
In still other cases, workers used the same address for numerous voters or used driver's license numbers that did not fit the voters' birth dates, Edman said.
ACORN found the problems and fired a dozen workers, Castore said. But under state law, all of the voter registration cards had to be turned in to the election commission, even if they were clearly fraudulent or incomplete, Edman and Castore said. So ACORN sent in the cards but flagged the fraudulent or incomplete ones, they said.
Edman said she has referred six individuals to the district attorney's office for investigation.
Another 1,500 to 2,000 voter registration cards were incomplete, and ACORN is trying to help the commission staff fill in the blanks, Castore and Edman said. The incomplete and fraudulent cards were a small percentage of the 35,000 registration cards that were turned in, and the suspect workers also were a small percentage of the more than 220 deputy registrars hired by ACORN, Castore said.
This story is like a shrieking siren with laser beam lights, pointing to almost assured shenanigans at the polls this November.
Who has protested most vehemently against photo ID? Democrats.
Who stands to benefit the most from voter fraud? Democrats.
With no photo ID in place this Wisconsin this November, the climate is ripe for all kinds of mischief.
Senator Mary Lazich has written extensively on the photo ID issue and has cited numerous studies pointing out the flawed arguments against requiring a photo ID to vote. Her blogs on the topic can be read here. All the information Senator Lazich provides should be remembered when you go to the polls later this year.