EDITORIAL: Covenant is cause to celebrate -- after it's approved
It's traditional to celebrate significant accomplishments when they occur. The governor's office is putting a new twist on that concept across Wisconsin on Thursday. Gov. Jim Doyle will visit UW-Milwaukee, Lawrence University and Madison Area Tec...
It's traditional to celebrate significant accomplishments when they occur. The governor's office is putting a new twist on that concept across Wisconsin on Thursday. Gov. Jim Doyle will visit UW-Milwaukee, Lawrence University and Madison Area Technical College while Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton visits UW-Superior and Nicolet Area Technical College for the first student signing of the Wisconsin Covenant.
The covenant is a promise to every eighth grade student in Wisconsin. To quote the state's news release: "If (students) work hard in high school and make the grade, the (sic) will be assured they have a place in higher education, and a financial aid package based on a family's financial need."
But there's one catch. Although Doyle is pushing for passage of the measure, it hasn't been approved by either the Senate or Assembly. And there's no funding.
So isn't Doyle putting the cart before the horse by scheduling the statewide "Covenant Day" media blitz? It certainly appears so, unless you understand what really is happening here.
The statewide festivities, in which eighth graders will visit their local campuses to sign the covenant, actually is a legislative lobbying effort in which kids are the unwitting pawns. They're being bombarded with Doyle's personal education agenda with hopes they'll view any potential opponents as curmudgeons, thus pressuring lawmakers to pass the legislation even though sponsors don't yet know how much it will cost.
School children shouldn't be manipulated in this manner. The Doyle administration has a responsibility to sell this measure with facts and figures before it schedules a statewide party.
The concept is a good one. With more legislative input, it could develop into an excellent program that benefits Wisconsin and Wisconsinites long into the future. Hopefully, that will occur. And then, and only then, it will be time to celebrate.