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Bob Peterson: What Scott Walker Will Do to Public Education

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Author: dianeravitch

Bob Peterson describes what Scott Walker intends to do to public schools and higher education in Wisconsin. Since he plans to run for the Republican nomination for President, it is important to know his views on education.

He is a zealot for school choice and privatization. He doesn’t like public schools or universities. He thinks that taxpayers should foot the bill for religious education. He believes that the purpose of education is workforce training. He is contemptuous of liberal learning. He is proud of his disdain for free inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge.

Peterson writes:

“Buried within the budget are 135 non-budget policy items — a toxic cocktail of attacks on public education, democracy, environmental protections and labor rights.

“For Wisconsin’s schools, the budget is a blueprint for abandoning public education. In Milwaukee, in addition to insufficient funding, the budget includes a “takeover” plan that increases privatization and decreases democratic control of the city’s public schools.

“The budget was passed by the Republican-controlled Senate a few minutes before midnight Tuesday, with all Democrats and one Republican voting “no.” The Assembly is expected to pass the budget and send it to Walker by the end of the week.

“The attack on the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is in the context of a frontal assault on public education across the state. The budget cuts $250 million from the University of Wisconsin system, holds overall K-12 funding flat in the first year with modest increases in the second (which, given inflation, means cuts). And while programs promoting privately run charters are expanded, the budget eliminates Chapter 220 — a metropolitan-wide program designed to reduce racial segregation in public schools and improve equal opportunity for students of color.

“The budget is also expanding the statewide voucher program, under which tax dollars are funneled into private, overwhelmingly religious schools. (The program is modeled after Milwaukee’s private school voucher program which began in 1990 and which now includes 112 schools and 25,000 students.)”

In a dismal field of GOP candidates, Walker stands out for his anti-intellectualism and contempt for learning.

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