Walker attack spreads to public education


On Sunday Wisconsin Gov. “Chainsaw” Scott Walker signed into law a state budget cutting $800 million from public education, while insisting state school districts will be better off after the cuts. Milwaukee public schools will be the hardest hit, with 988 full-time layoffs coming this week.

In an interview Monday Walker said, “The tools we gave them allow them to more than offset, and in some cases, actually net more revenue than they would have otherwise with the state budget. Now, those are changes you may agree or disagree with how we got there, but in the end, they’re going to fare better.”

The budget expands the state’s “school choice” voucher program, providing more public funds for private schools, and permitting Milwaukee parents to send their children to any private school in the state.

Lobbying group The American Federation for Monetizing Children, which pumped resources into the legislative effort, praised the expansion, as well as the “Once In, Always In” provision that will ensure, according to economist John Lott, that “once a student gets a voucher, that student will always be able to keep it, regardless of their family’s future income. In previous years, a student who received a voucher could lose eligibility for the program because his or her parents happened to increase their income in a given year.”

The idea of students being so harshly penalized for a simple reversal of their parents’ fortunes must have been more than the legislators could bear to contemplate.  And no doubt school district workers are bursting with gratitude for the “tools” Walker gave them.

23 responses to “Walker attack spreads to public education

  1. The only tool I see in this article is Walker.

    By the time the Republicans get through raping education we will no longer be “the land of the free”. We will be the land of the dumb.

    The movie “Idiocracy” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy) gives us a glimpse into our future.


  2. the sad fact is the genie is out of the bottle Moe……

    even my local school district is beginning to make cuts….

    teachers are being laid off up in your old diggs…..

    In New Jersey a judge had to make Christie put some Ed money back….
    It’ll get worst before it gets better…..


    • Hey james, note this is ORHAN’s post. Let me add here the Gov. Scott in Florida has just done the same thing – more vouchers, many more, for pirvate and charter schools. Of course, it’s still about the unions, not about education.


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  4. Oooops….Sorry ORHAN……


  5. Oooops sorry ORHAN……


  6. He, he, he…..Man…I did that twice!


  7. I was going to start in by saying that these cuts are necessary and the teachers union is the group getting hurt not the kids . But then I thought why not just bring up the fact that a Democratic Governor is doing the same thing in New York ? He too is being attacked by the teachers union for cutting aid to education and giving tax breaks to the rich .

    So why are you folks not cursing Governor Cuomo ? Is he not just as evil and heartless as Governors Walker and Christie ? Is he not balancing his budget on the backs of children and the middle class ? Just asking ,


    • Good point, Alan. I’ve been focusing on Wisconsin mostly because it was the first state where this situation gained prominence, and I find Walker’s acts particularly egregious. I’ll take a look at what Cuomo’s been doing.


  8. ojmo ,

    Thanks for the acknowledgement . I realize what the prevailing sentiment is on this board . I know I will not change it . I merely wish to point out inconsistencies . Bashing GOP Governors for being heartless , while a Democrat does similar things is inconsistent . And I do not think Gov. Cuomo is heartless, just realistic .


    • Alan, will you please stop making so much sense!


    • Heyya Alan, back from vacation–very enjoyable!

      Checked up on Cuomo’s record–yeah, he enacted cuts, lots of layoffs, a cap on property taxes, negotiated concessions from the largest public-employee union, and is even being sued by a teacher’s union. But two main differences between him and Walker/Christie:

      1) He worked within existing bargaining agreements, not trying to change them, and 2) he used negotiation, not strong-arm tactics. For example, he allowed the unions, hospital executives, and other health-care players to determine themselves how the smaller health-care pie would be divided.

      The way I see it, Cuomo used finesse over brute force, and didn’t roll back any already-negotiated agreements, so he’s not being trashed like the other guys–he just doesn’t show up on the radar screen the way they do.


  9. I’ve always like vouchers as a concept. I know John Lott by the way. We were both at UCLA.


    • bruce, I don’t have anything against vouchers per se; I think htey’ve become a partisan issue, though not competely. Vouchers have their fans on the left too.

      It’s just that when I step back and look at the GOP’s long assault on education, I know they plan to use vouchers as just another quiver in the arrow.


  10. Ms. Holland ,

    Both the left and right are coalitions . In the left’s coalition is the teacher union faction . Vouchers are an economic threat to them . You may not hate them per se, but a powerful part of the left coalition will always oppose them .

    Point being that maybe the GOP’s support for vouchers is pro education and the left’s opposition is anti education .


    • I won’t argue with that Alan. The Dems could do with a little less concern for the teachers and a little more concern for the children. And do this without abandoning the unions – not only as a constituency – but as a policy position.


  11. Funny how kids with no votes seem to get ignored.

    I know another blogger by the name of Steve Birn, who as I understand it is against public education.


  12. Ms. Holland ,

    ” The Dems could do with a little less concern for the teachers and a little more concern for the children. ”

    Thank you for that .

    But to further belabor the larger point, in Massachusetts they just sent to the Governor a bill restricting the health care bargaining rights of municipal workers . State workers do not have that right . Massachusetts, like New York State is hardly a hot bed of knuckle dragging troglodyte Conservatives .

    Again I am making the point that even in Blue States hard choices are being made to get local and state finances in shape .


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  14. Sadly, Wisconsin is not the only state slashing education. Pennsylvania’s new budget includes cuts to education as well.



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