Category Archives: Education

Discussion on public & private education in the U.S.

WI Budget Surplus Before Governor Walker

Governor Scott Walker

Proud Look for a Bait and Switch

In November last year, during the end of a democratic Governor Jim Doyle’s term, Wisconsin had a budget surplus.  Incoming republican Governor Scott Walker called a special session for his newly republican controlled congress to pass new tax-cuts and a conservative healthcare reform innitiative.  The state government’s finance committee had to revise budget estimates in their report from surplus to large deficit after Walker and his republican congress passed these tax cuts.  Page 1 of the report connects this shortfall to the specific bills creating the defict.

After Governor Walker engineered budget deficits for the benefit of his supporters, he’s now demanding unions pay for his deficit if they supported his democratic opponent, Tom Barrett.  This is anti-democratic and all about awarding republican supporters and punishing democratic supporters.

As mentioned in my previous article, Union Busting as Political Punishment, much of the savings in Governor Walker’s budget hinges on refinancing the states debt.  Walker’s office says the bill must be passed by this Friday (2/25/2011) or the realized savings will be greatly delayed.  The only issue preventing the passage of this budget is Walker’s refusal to remove the union busting clause that saves no money.


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Filed under American Government & Institutions (state & federal), Education, Government Taxes, Spending, and Deficits

Union Busting as Political Punishment

WI Protests - Fox News Will Lie About ThisOver recent years, and during the current budget discussion, various unions representing Wisconsin teachers gave into cuts demanded by the governor or legislature because of state fiscal shortfalls.  Despite the acceptance of his fiscal cuts, Governor Walker is now threatening hundreds of layoffs if his union busting clause isn’t accepted.

This clause does not save any money, yet Walker is threatening the layoffs to help make up the budget shortfall.  If his new threat is true, then he was going to make these layoffs even if his full bill was accepted, and it highlights the fact that he is punishing unions that didn’t support his election, rewarding unions that did, and he’s sending a message to all unions to support him, or he’ll try to kill them if they don’t.

Walker’s spin machine is trying to tell the public the union workers are over-payed at the expense of all these poor citizens.  However, the union members are paid less than their counterparts in the private sector, and they’re accepting more cuts.  This low compensation has continued shortfalls in quality teachers available to work even while unemployment plagues the higher paid private sector.  Additionally, as teachers take more and more cuts, large businesses are complaining about increasingly fewer qualified employees to hire for innovative positions.

Basically, continuing cuts in education are creating continuing shortfalls in a qualified work force.  Maybe we should put more money into education to increase the output of a qualified pool of workers.  This is not the immediate issue at hand, but it is the long-term issue which the unions need to exist to get back the conceded cuts when the fiscal deficits are gone.

According to an NPR article, part of the governor’s deficit cutting plan is to refinance the state’s budget at lower interest.  This must be completed by this Friday in order for savings to start when planned.  For this bill to be passed by Friday, Walker only needs to concede one thing – remove the union busting clause.

If Walker does not remove this clause by Friday in order to get this bill passed, then it will be the governor who will have lost millions of dollars, not the unions.


Filed under American Government & Institutions (state & federal), Education, Government Taxes, Spending, and Deficits

Huck Finn – Sanitized

A few days ago, an NPR article discussed a newly revised version of Mark Twain’s classic novel Huckleberry Finn.  The new version replaces the word “nigger” with “slave” in hopes school districts will return the book, in this version, to their reading lists.  Many school districts have removed the book from their reading lists because of the N-word.  Some people fear exposing students to the word will encourage its useage.

Lets be honest, any junior high or high school student not familiar with the N-word is living in a bubble with little outside contact.  Huckleberry Finn will not be their introduction.

I believe reading books like Huck Finn in school, then having a modern, perspective discussion about the language and era of the book lessens the use of these words.  It’s not hard to explain that these words came from an era of far less education and ignorance of people and culture different from one’s own.  Who wants to talk like they’re uneducated and ignorant?

Get this discussion out of our childrens’ systems early so they don’t find it novel and cool later in life.  I hate these words, so let’s frame them the way they are.

Sweeping things under the carpet never helped a situation later on.  What would happen if we stopped discussing the KKK, Nazis, and the holocaust to insulate our children from such atrocious people and events?  What a grave mistake that would be.

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