Scott Walker’s Education “Oopses”

Scott Walker and education, Scott Walker and the Common CoreGovernor Scott Walker’s educational “reforms” have been controversial, to say the least. Reporters have asked him for someone influential, someone to whom he could turn for support and advice. He named former Milwaukee School District superintendent turned Marquette University education professor Howard Fuller. Fuller, Walker said, is someone he consults often and is the kind of person he’d like to have in his cabinet. Except – that doesn’t make sense.

WISCONSIN – He can’t quite get his stories straight, this Walker guy, at least when it comes to education. Wisconsin Governor Scottie Walker wants to move on to a bigger, more important job out East, but on the road to the nomination he seeks, he’s having trouble getting his facts to line up.

Early in his tenure (pun intended), Governor Walker told the story of a teacher who had won the state’s Teacher of the Year award only to be laid off due to low seniority at the end of the school year. According to Walker, this teacher was a prime example of why his union-busting law, Act 10, was so important.

Except – he was wrong. The teacher to whom he referred had not, after all, won Wisconsin’s Teacher of the Year Award. She had won an award – an award for first year teachers of English Language Arts, an award for which she’d nominated herself. Walker didn’t do his homework. He gave her an award she hadn’t earned.

The real Outstanding Teacher of the Year in Wisconsin let him have it in an open letter online. The teacher he talked about (over and over, as though it were part of a script) asked him to stop. She didn’t want to be his poster child for Act 10. She didn’t agree with his policies, and singling her out as special made her feel awkward and distracted her from teaching.

Now he’s done it again. Walker’s educational “reforms” have been controversial, to say the least. Reporters asked him for someone influential, someone to whom he could turn for support and advice. He named former Milwaukee School District superintendent turned Marquette University education professor Howard Fuller. Fuller, Walker said, is someone he consults often and is the kind of person he’d like to have in his cabinet.

Except – that doesn’t make sense. Walker consults him often? Fuller isn’t even sure which opinions he and Walker share because he hasn’t talked to Walker in, his words, “a long time.” Fuller supports the Common Core academic standards. Walker says he wants to repeal them, but really? I don’t think Walker has a clue what the Common Core Standards really are. As for expanding the use of public voucher money for private schools, another program close to Walker’s heart, Fuller again disagrees. Fuller supported a limited voucher program in the early 1990s. When Walker announced his intent to raise the income limits and take the cap off the total number of children using vouchers to attend private schools, Fuller openly opposed the changes.

Walker might be more credible on the national stage if he got his stories straight. But how can he stay consistent when his stories are just that – stories? Based on a few random facts, perhaps, but his stories overall are closer to fiction.

Do the Common Core Standards ask students to differentiate between truth and fiction? Maybe the good governor needs to do some research of his own.

Tracy Ostwald Kowald is a teacher by trade and writer by nature. She started blogging in 2006 as a way to express herself and deal with everyday stresses. Using the blog as an outlet, she documented her journey through a deep and frightening clinical depression. She continues to blog as a supplement to therapy and an outlet for the creative writer that still raises its hand now and then and says, “Me! Call on me!”

Image via Wikimedia Commons/WisPolitics.com/CC License

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