We’ve all heard about the stand-off with the unions and the AWOL Wisconsin Democrats. Walker, no shrinking violet, just gave a budget address, announcing that he’s doing what virtually every American politician is afraid to do — cut education waste, fraud and abuse (more commonly known as “education spending).
- Cut $834 million in state K-12 education spending over the next two years.
- Phase out income requirements and eliminate enrollment cap for Milwaukee school choice program, and make schools across county eligible.
- No change in the “funding flaw” under which voucher expenses are deducted from Milwaukee’s state aid, even though no aid is granted to Milwaukee for those voucher-school students.
- Remove the requirement that MPS teachers reside in Milwaukee.
- Eliminate the minimum 180-day requirement for public school calendars, a measure that could open the way for some districts to initiate four-day school weeks. Districts would continue to meet a minimum instructional hour requirement.
- Repeal the limit on the numbers of students who could use the state’s open enrollment system to attend a virtual charter school in another district.
- Allow any four-year University of Wisconsin campus to sponsor an independent charter school.
- Require that charter school teachers need only a bachelor’s degree to teach, rather than a teacher’s license.
- Remove mandates that school districts employ reading specialists and only licensed nurses with bachelor’s degrees; prepare indoor environmental quality plans; and require training on drug administration to be approved by the state Department of Public Instruction.
This is a laundry list of unassailable policy improvements. Compare the items above to the weak and pointless arguments of the status quo. Our friends on the left have nothing to offer but to spend more money on a failed system. Their idea of a reply is to blather on about the Koch brothers, showing their utter intellectual vacuity.
Perhaps most refreshing of all, is that Walker is just cutting spending on these pikers, and ditching the failed strategy of trying to “buy” reform with more dollars to a greedy class of education bureaucrats and union power-brokers.
I don’t know if Scott Walker is going to win these battles, but I applaud his dropping the failures of the past. He seems to understand that bargaining against yourself and caving to morally illegitimate interests hasn’t been working.