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Feb 4, 201512:27 PMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Wisconsin students survived Act 10; Democrats, not so much

(page 1 of 2)

So John Boehner did not leave the podium for a smoke break during President Obama’s State of the Union address, contrary to our prediction. Technicians here at the Policy Werkes suspect that a burnt-out coil in Old Sparky, our legacy mainframe computer, is responsible for the faux pas.

At least Wisconsin Democrats exhibited no similar signs of disrespect during Gov. Scott Walker’s budget address last night. (Full text and video here.) Saw no orange T-shirts, no blue fists, no chanting, no drum circles. No Democrat turned his back on Walker’s outstretched hand as in past addresses. That’s progress, one supposes.

Still, how can anyone this side of Comrade Nichols and Fighting Ed sit on their hands so long without going numb?

Walker recounts that state government reduced property taxes for the first time in 12 years and promises to keep the lid on for the next two years. Why is that not an applause line? Exists there a more regressive tax? From the reaction on the Democrat(ic) side of the aisle, one would have thought someone had set off a stink bomb. Lower taxes. Eee-yooo! Enjoying your minority status, are we?

Echoing the global climate change alarmists, Democrats are certain that expanding school choice and freeing up the state university system from political micromanagement will dumb Wisconsin down into a northern Dogpatch.

“Recently, some have raised concerns about this proposed reform,” Walker said last night. “These are some of the same claims we heard four years ago when our Act 10 reforms were enacted.”

Scott Walker is not only “an enemy of teachers,” wrote Heather DuBois Bourenane in September 2011 for Isthmus, but is guilty of “devastating attacks on public education itself in Wisconsin.”

“Today,” Walker continued during his budget address, “our graduation rates are higher, third-grade reading scores are better, and Wisconsin ACT scores are second best in the country.”


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Comments, page 1 of 3 1 2 3 Next »
Feb 4, 2015 01:30 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

The Internet higher education discussion boards are lighting up with comments about Wisconsin's short-sightedness. Plenty of UW faculty are polishing CVs and putting the word out that they're looking to get out of this state. Others are openly speculating about which faculty they can poach, along with their grants, from UW. That'll be your brain drain! Other states seem to be coming out of the recession without self-inflicted budget deficits ("Tax cuts uber alles!") that give an justification to the small government, anti-intellectual yahoos to degrade a world-class university and state system. Mediocrity (at best), here we come. And who is it going to hurt the most? Not Madison so much, but the outstate campuses where most of Wisconsin sends their kids to get educated. A lot of the campuses are in GOP represented districts, but the leggies won't be allowed to "vote their districts" because a certain psychopath (yes, that's a Walker; the preacher's kid with no empathy) has higher political aspirations.

Feb 4, 2015 01:36 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Wasn't there just a report out that showed UW as the 17th ranked university until 2011, then a steady decline under the current administration to where we are today? Maybe Dave should include all the details rather than cherry pick what proves his point..

Feb 4, 2015 02:29 pm
 Posted by  David Blaska

US News 2015 ranks UW-Madison 47 among all national universities. (1. Princeton 2. Harvard 3. Yale 4. (tie) Columbia, Stanford, Chicago); UW-Madison was ranked 41st in 2014, 45th in 2011.

Among public universities only for 2015, UW-Madison is #13 (Virginia is #2, Michigan #4). Madison ranked 13th in 2011.

Feb 4, 2015 02:56 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

1. Third grade reading scores are a result of 4K, despised by conservatives, yet incredibly effective.

2. Walker's true feelings about the UW are reflected in his insistence that the Wisconsin Idea be struck from the UW System's mission statement. Either he wants to give the UW autonomy or he doesn't. Looks like he actually wants it both ways: Privatize the system, but still micro-manage its mission.

Feb 4, 2015 03:01 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

In 2008, the rankings for UW were 38th and 8th.

Feb 4, 2015 07:04 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Walker said all he needed to about education today when he tried to pass off this ridiculous "drafting error" excuse for fiddling with the Wisconsin Idea in his state budget. If it was a drafting error, why was it dealt with in the budget to begin with?

Are you going to stick up for Walker on that one, Dave? If you do, it's past time to pick out China patterns. More like time to pick out a bassinet!

Feb 4, 2015 09:16 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Sure David, just keep repeating that Act 10 has made Wisconsin's K-12 schools better. Just keep telling yourself that. Truth is that when you take away BILLIONS of dollars in funding for K-12 schools since 2010, you drive down teacher salaries and increase class sizes, making teaching conditions in Wisconsin's K-12 schools the worst in the United States.

Since Act 10, each year the combined graduating classes of new teachers from all education schools in Wisconsin has been steadily declining as college students run from teaching careers. The class of 2015 will be down over 50% from pre-Act 10 levels. Thousands of Wisconsin teachers, primarily those in the 23-40 age bracket, (our next generation) have already fled Wisconsin to teach in states where teachers and public education are not being demonized 24/7 by you and your conservative ilk. Which states are they fleeing to? There are 49 states to choose from which offer better lives and careers to great teachers.

Even Scott Walker has acknowledged the severe brain drain of middle and high school teachers in the sciences, mathematics, technical education, and special education areas in his budget. Walker's proposal to license anyone with a bachelor degree and real life experience is meant to address this talent drain.

My neighbor's kid can't wait for Walker's budget to become law. He has a college degree in history and works at the zoo shoveling crap out of the animal cages. Next year he hopes his "real life experience" will be the ticket to his new gig as a high school Biology teacher in Walker's Wisconsin.

Feb 5, 2015 07:52 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

To paraphrase a well known political operative...
If your enemies are screaming bloody murder, keep on doing what you're doing, because it's working.

If one thing is for certain, Scott Walker has the Progressive movement's number and he knows how and when to hit them. And he makes it look easy, too.

Northwoods Patriot

Feb 5, 2015 08:35 am
 Posted by  Anonymous


Using your own thought process, if true, then the Affordable Care Act must be working far above expectations.

True Northwoods Patriot

Feb 5, 2015 09:30 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Dave ....I would hope your education policy would be that Wisconsin schools do more than barely just survive. The scores that you and Walker tout were always there. We always ranked at the top with Iowa and Minnesota in ACT/SAT scores. Graduation rates also were among the best in the nation. Yet please remember that all we heard over the past 4 years from Walker and friends was that Wisconsin schools are failing With the exception of MPS ....Wisconsin schools are not failing! But things might be changing down the road via ACT 10. We've lost many of our veteran teachers the ones that Walker said ACT 10 would reward the "BEST AND BRIGHTEST." The state is stuck with a demoralized teaching force who see no financial reward for their efforts at any time in the future. Walker's budgets and his expansion of private schools at the cost of public school dollars means larger class sizes and fewer resources. I suspect that the damage in public education will show up in the near future and certainly any young person who wants to be a teacher would have to think long and hard about submitting themselves to the climate Walker has created surrounding education in Wisconsin. To be demeaned and denigrated by the Governor of your state and pitted against friends and neighbors by virtue of your pension and health insurance which was granted by your school board in lieu of salary increases and pilloried in a book the governor wrote certainly sours one from continuing to teach in Wisconsin!

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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