Winning Ugly

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

educationThe legislative gyrations accompanying development of the state budget bill leave us grateful that it only happens every two years. But if this year’s budget exercise seemed exceptionally unpleasant, it brought some welcome results.

The repeal of prevailing wage laws for local governments will save money for taxpayers. The law remains in place for state public works projects, but regrettably at that level the federal Davis-Bacon Act usually prevails, putting full repeal out of the state legislature’s reach.

It’s embarrassing that the Assembly leadership had to be dragged kicking and screaming into this pro-taxpayer reform, but the rank-and-file demonstrated that Republicans remember why they were entrusted with the majority.

For those wondering if the budget offers anything for Wisconsin schoolchildren and their parents, the best clue is that Tony Evers hates it.

Mr. Evers is the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, chosen in low-turnout spring elections, meaning chosen by teacher-union votes. Accordingly, Mr. Evers  asked the governor— hopelessly —to veto nearly two dozen budget items. A few examples:

Authorization for a takeover of failing schools in Milwaukee. Nationwide testing reveals some Milwaukee public schools have no students performing at grade level. Evers and Co. surely know this, but defend the status quo.

A required civics exam.  It’s just what it sounds like, an effort to verify that students have some idea how their government is supposed to work.  Are we rude to suggest Evers and his constituency realize it’s a problem for them if kids understand this stuff?

More Charter and Voucher Schools. No explanation needed: Competition. Customers choosing based on quality.  Bad, bad, bad.

The damage to public education has taken place over half a century and won’t be repaired overnight. The superintendent’s lengthy veto list backhandedly confirms that repairs are underway.

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