Gov. Walker: Revoke this teacher’s license!

This is Scott Walker’s equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall.” Politically adroit, the governor’s latest challenge to the education establishment is also good policy.

The governor is trying to help students and their parents, if they would only realize it. Name another governor (and legislature) who froze UW tuition for two years running.

Name another administration giving families more educational choices. Name another administration that returned power to the voters that had been usurped by the employee unions. Name another governor who would use his bully pulpit to challenge the same-old, same-old status quo of the public education monopoly.

Turns out the government union stereotype that bad employees can’t be fired is too true. The Middleton-Cross Plains school district asked for trouble when it bedded down with the unions even after Act 10. Now it can’t fire a porno-hound teacher because it long ago ceded such authority, under its teacher union contracts, to an unelected arbitrator and renewed that abdication of authority post-Act 10.

Wisconsin Reporter reveals that the arbitrator donated $1,500 to Democrat Tom Barrett’s campaigns for governor in 2010 and the recall in 2012. She ordered the district to reinstate the teacher to a similar position and pay him nearly $200,000 in back pay. The district spent another $627,000 in legal fees trying unsuccessfully to have the decision overturned in the courts.

To Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, Gov. Walker wrote, “Since taking office, I have worked to put in place reforms giving local school districts the tools they need to hire and fire teachers based on merit, performance, and professional conduct. With the passage of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, schools now have the ability to move away from the old contracts, which prevented them from doing so.”

Now the governor is asking the Department of Public Instruction to revoke Andrew Harris’ teaching license — whereupon we learn that the agency began investigating the miscreant over three years ago! There’s government efficiency for you!



Harris’ union contends that others did the same thing but were not fired. Many received suspensions of varying degrees. At some point, an employer must be able to use discretion without being subjected to 57-page arbitrators’ decisions and costly legal hair twisting. Again, the perfect is the enemy of the good. (I was not the only one speeding on that highway, officer.)

Chris Rickert gets it right. “More important than quibbling over such inherently subjective questions is whether a democratically elected government body can make its own human resources decisions.”

(Memo to Mr. Rickert: Our 19th century forebears despaired of the political mugwumps. These are folks who sat on the fence, their mugs facing one way and their wumps the other. History rewards those who took a stand, as you did here.)

Ed Schultz, John Nichols, Fighting Ed Garvey, Slymer, Liberal of the Year Jeff Simpson — may we hear from you, please?

Blaska’s Cliff Notes

  • Did not watch Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night. Today’s news reports confirm my decision. It was Millard Fillmore with a Teleprompter. The president is going to close the dreaded “income gap” by executive action? Expanding income tax credits for childless workers? A nation rallies to liberalism! Happy days are here again!
  • Adding value is how you grow the economy and wages with it. How about authorizing the shovel-ready Keystone Pipeline. 2014 is “the year of action.” What was 2013, then?
  • Speaking of socialism, goodnight, Pete Seeger. (Can’t remember the source but) an American Communist has been described as a well-meaning person who doesn’t understand communism.
  • Hillary Clinton says she has not driven an automobile since 1996. Now, if Mitt Romney had said that …
  • Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin is in trouble with the law. Amazing that George W. Bush was blamed for this man’s malfeasance during Hurricane Katrina.
  • Walker is more popular in Wisconsin than Barack Obama. According to this week’s Marquette Law School poll, the President is upside-down at 44% approval, 50% disapproval. The governor, meanwhile, is approved 51% to 42% — and widened his lead over Our Mizz Burke to 47-41, up from 47-45 in the October poll. No wonder Mizz Burke is keeping her distance from Obama when he visits Waukesha Thursday.
  • Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-The Emerald City, introduces a bill to legalize marijuana. Where is the Democrats’ laser-like focus on jobs? (Just returning the favor.)
  • Who gave the Republican response to the State of the Union? I heard it was that guy from Duck Dynasty.

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