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DPI should judge schools on teaching, not logo

Waukesha Freeman Page A6 Opinion 7/18/2013

The great sword of political correctness has fallen on Mukwonago High School. The school is being forced by the state of Wisconsin to change the mascot and logo because “Indians” is no longer acceptable.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the agency forcing the change, won at the appeals court. Now the Mukwonago school district is faced with deadlines this fall to eradicate any mention of “Indians.”

Is this really what the politically correct liberals at the DPI want?

It’s not like “Indians” is considered to be a pejorative on the same level as “Redskins,” the name of the professional football team in Washington DC. It’s not as if the logo can’t be drawn tastefully to be sensitive to Native Americans. If anything, the logo and school nickname gives the school an opportunity to educate students on the history of Native Americans in the Mukwonago area. Students could – and should – learn that there is more to the Potawatomi tribe than a casino in Milwaukee.

That’s not good enough for the DPI, which is more concerned about the logo in the school gym than the quality of the instruction in the classroom. We can’t judge the quality of a school by the score on a DPI report card, we’re told, but we can judge the racism in the heart of a school district if they use a Native American term for a team name.

If only the DPI showed the same willingness to take a school district to court when a school fails to educate students.

The school team name debate gets positively absurd. The most well-known case of political correctness triumphing over common sense was the disastrous decision by Marquette University to change their team names from Warriors to Golden Eagles. Somehow “Warriors” is offensive to native Americans, even though there have been “warriors” in every culture.

But that absurdity also occurs on the local school level, where the Legislature mistakenly gave the DPI the power to force schools to change their team names, mascots and logos if they are deemed offensive. Shortly after the law went into effect, the DPI forced the Osseo-Fairchild School District to drop the name “Chieftains,” because that somehow was “racebased” and promoted “discrimination and harassment.”

Oh, and if a school district decides to defy the edict from the DPI the district can be fined $1,000 per day. How does that help DPI Superintendent Tony Evers’ goal of more funding for education?

This monument to political correctness was passed the last time Democrats had majorities in the Legislature. Perhaps the next time the Democrats are in control they can empower the useless office of the Secretary of State to start renaming communities to completely eradicate Native American names from our culture.

We could rename Mukwonago, Mequon, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Tomahawk, Menomonee, and Oconomowoc. We should use innocuous names like Bob and Fred.

By the way, does anyone else find it ironic that the capital of political correctness, Madison, is named after a dead white male slave holder? When is that name going to be changed?

Of course, changing names for political correctness isn’t really about not giving offense to different ethnicities. This is about smug leftists feeling morally superior because everybody who doesn’t agree with them is racist. By bullying local schools, they get to demonstrate their moral superiority over the unwashed that actually wants to keep the team names.

Never mind how silly the DPI and their cheerleaders look. Never mind the skewed priorities. They’re morally superior, and they want to remind everyone every chance they get.

Republicans now control the Legislature. They should end this nonsense and stop the DPI from suing school districts and fining non-compliant schools.

Republicans should do it in the name of defending local schools. But Republicans should also do it because we shouldn’t be eradicating the role of Native Americans in our history and our culture by trying to erase every mention of them.

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