Unfortunately, business is booming when it comes to foreclosure problems in Wisconsin. Fortunately, the Milwaukee Foreclosure Mediation Program is succeeding at helping a growing number of those problems end with people keeping their homes and financial institutions satisfied with new arrangements.
Debra Tuttle, chief mediator for the program, said during a panel discussion at a conference Friday on foreclosure issues in Wisconsin that from July 22, when the program began, through November 4, there were 278 requests for mediation, more than double the number that was anticipated.
Twenty cases have gone through the mediation process, with all but one resulting in the owner keeping the house, she said. More than twenty others have ended with agreement between the owner and lender without the mediation process. And 136 are awaiting mediation. Continue reading “Big Demand for a Win-Win Way to Resolve Mortgage Crises”
President Barack Obama’s 35-minute speech on education at Wright Middle School in Madison on Wednesday was interrupted by applause at many points, but most of the reaction was pretty low-key. Three lines drew what seemed to be more enthusiastic responses from the crowd of more than 500, most of them teachers, parents, and students at the 250-student school. Each of those lines says something significant about public sentiment and Obama administration priorities on education issues.
One: Obama said, “I’ve got to be honest, we’ve got to do a better job of moving bad teachers out of the classroom, once they’ve been given an opportunity to do it right.” His calls for recruiting higher-quality teachers and rewarding top teachers better didn’t get applause, but this line did. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a telephone interview after the speech that this didn’t surprise him — it happens wherever the president speaks about education, he said. Raising the quality of teachers, in large part by doing more to identify quality teachers (and those who aren’t) is one of the highest, but most difficult, priorities for Obama and Duncan. And moving out the ones who really aren’t good at it is especially difficult, particularly given the defensiveness of teachers’ unions when such issues come up.
Two: His call for overhauling the way testing is done nationwide. Continue reading “Obama’s Applause Lines on Education”
When, if ever, has a president of the United States inserted himself as directly into a legislative issue in Wisconsin as President Barack Obama is doing by visiting Madison on Wednesday? Obama’s visit to a middle school a couple miles from the State Capitol will focus on education – and it comes as Gov. Jim Doyle and others are ramping up their push for a series of educational reforms, including giving much of the power over Milwaukee Public Schools to Milwaukee’s mayor.
Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who will be with him, are firm supporters of many of the ideas being incorporated into the legislative package. Wisconsin clearly has to make changes such as these if it wants a decent chance at a share of the $5 billion in the Race to the Top money and other incentive funds Obama and Duncan will distribute over the next couple years.
It appears highly likely a special session of the Legislature will be called in November to consider the education proposals. The outcome is not clear. Continue reading “Will State Education Reforms Get a Boost from Obama?”
Does Lake Lanier hold an important message about the possibility for economic growth in the Milwaukee area? If so, it’s a message that business and political leaders in Wisconsin need to move with urgency, boldness, and vision if they want to make southeast Wisconsin the hub of freshwater-related business in North America.
That was a key theme of a conference Monday convened by Marquette Law School. “Milwaukee 2015: Water, Jobs, and the Way Forward” brought Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and business and academic leaders together before an audience of several hundred at the Alumni Memorial Union.
“My dream is, by 2015, when people think water, they think Milwaukee,” said Richard A. Meeusen, president and CEO of Badger Meter and co-chair of the Milwaukee 7 Water Council, a group of civic leaders focused on building the metropolitan area as a hub for businesses related to water. Continue reading “Water, Jobs, and the Way Forward”