Archives for category: Walker, Scott

Journalist Nora de la Cour describes the dire situation in Wisconsin, where incumbent Governor Tony Evers is in a close race with an election denier/school privatizer, Tim Michels. There are many other states where education is on the ballot. Wisconsin was once known for its great public schools and public universities. Former Governor Scott Walker declared war on both. Twenty-five years ago, the far-right Bradley Foundation funded the voucher movement in Milwaukee, which has spread to other parts of the state and to other states. The Trumpist base of the Republican Party has declared war on public schools, based on lies and fantasies spun by rightwing think tanks.

She begins:

New research finds that market-style education reforms, like those pioneered in Wisconsin decades ago, have devastating consequences for students. This election, Wisconsin and the rest of the nation must choose whether to plow ahead or reverse course.

Wisconsin’s Democratic governor Tony Evers is neck and neck with his challenger, Trump-endorsed Tim Michels, whose campaign has lauded abortion bans, election denialism, and a beefed up carceralpolicestate. Robert Asen, who studies political discourse at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, told Jacobin that because education has gotten relatively less airtime, it is “a bit of a stealth issue analogous to [labor law in] Scott Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign,” which didn’t prepare voters for Walker’s vicious attacks on workers. But make no mistake: this election will determine the existential future of K-12 schooling in the state.

Following the now-familiar Chris Rufo playbook, Michels plans to sign a restrictive “parents’ rights” bill and move up the timeline on a universal school choice plan that would destroy what’s left of Wisconsin’s once-great public schools. Formerly the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Evers has pledged to increase school funding and prioritize the public system. In reality, though, even if Evers prevails he’ll at best continue to be “the man of a thousand vetoes,” given that Republican opposition will prevent him from pursuing his agenda. So as Marquette University senior fellow and veteran education reporter Alan Borsuk put it when speaking to Jacobin, this governor’s race amounts to a choice between treading water and veering hard right.

In many ways, Wisconsin blazed a trail for the rest of the country with market-style reforms that increase competition by weakening teachers’ unions and privatizing schools. Decades later, researchers have mapped the devastating impact of these reforms on Wisconsin students. So, as voters across the United States face grave education questions up and down the ballot, it makes sense to look back at what’s happened in the Badger State.

Please open the link and read this important article.

Barbara Biasi, assistant professor of economics at the Yale School of Management, recently published a study that concluded that eliminating unions increases the gender gap in wages.

She looked at data from Wisconsin, before and after Scott Walker eliminated collective bargaining rights in 2011, in his Koch-funded effort to destroy unions.

For every dollar earned by men in the U.S., women earn about 82 cents, according to 2018 census data; this pay gap is even larger for Black and Hispanic women.  Some public schools have avoided the gender wage gap because they follow a strict salary schedule, in which each teacher’s pay is determined based on objective factors such as seniority and academic degrees. But what happens when schools switch to a more flexible pay system?

Barbara Biasi, an assistant professor of economics at Yale SOM, had an opportunity to examine this question when Wisconsin passed Act 10, legislation that essentially weakened the power of teachers’ unions. Afterward, schools had much more latitude in deciding how much to pay teachers.

Five years after union agreements expired, male teachers earned about 1% more per year than female colleagues with similar experience and skills, reported Biasi and her co-author, Heather Sarsons at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The gender gap was even higher among younger teachers.

While 1% might not seem like much, such a gap can substantially affect income in the long run, Biasi says. It “can add up pretty quickly over the course of a person’s career,” she says.

The results suggest that women may start earning less than men when they have to bargain on their own, rather than being supported by a union that negotiates for them. This effect could be seen in many industries as union membership shrinks. “The decline of union power might have an increase in the gender gap in pay as one of the unintended consequences,” Biasi says.

The crucial election in Wisconsin was not Biden vs. Sanders, but the decisive seat on the state Supreme Court.

Governor Tony Evers wanted to postpone the election. The Republicans fought him and got his cancelation of the election overturned by the courts.

Republicans blocked mail-in voting because they thought that fears of the virus would suppress turnout and help their candidate. Milwaukee usually has 180 polling places but last Tuesday, only 5 opened.

But the GOP ‘s efforts to protect the conservative judge failed. He lost.

A liberal challenger defeated the conservative incumbent for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a key race at the heart of Democratic accusations that Republicans risked voters’ health and safety by going forward with last week’s elections amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Jill Karofsky beat Daniel Kelly, whom then-Gov. Scott Walker (R) appointed to the state’s high court in 2016.

The contest prompted a rancorous partisan debate over whether to proceed with in-person voting last Tuesday, which Democrats opposed and Republicans supported. It was also hardfought because of potential implications in the November presidential elections, with a judicial decision about whether to purge the state’s voter rolls hanging in the partisan balance of the court.

Gov. Tony Evers (D), state health officials and local election officials had urged the Republican-led state legislature to postpone the election, but lawmakers refused, citing the risk of confusion and widespread vacancies in thousands of municipal seats on the ballot with terms due to expire in April. Democrats accused Republicans of trying to take advantage of the likely low turnout resulting from fear of infection and closed polling locations.

The election featured snaking lines in Milwaukee and Green Bay, the result of mass cancellations by poll workers and the closure of polling locations. In Milwaukee, election officials opened just five voting locations, instead of the typical 180.
“Tonight, not just Jill Zarofsky but democracy prevailed over a politically cynical strategy to weaponize the coronavirus pandemic as a tool of voter supression,” said Ben Wikler, chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
Kelly conceded the race shortly after 8:30 p.m. “It has been the highest honor of my career to serve the people of WI on their Supreme Court these past four years,” Kelly said in a statement. “Obviously I had hoped my service would continue for another decade, but tonight’s results make clear that God has a different plan for my future….”

Scott L. Fitzgerald, the Republican majority leader in the Wisconsin Senate, told reporters last year that Kelly would have a “better chance” of winning a new term with lower turnout — a statement that fueled accusations from Democrats as to why Republicans wanted to go forward with last Tuesday’s elections.

But heavy mail-in balloting may have upended assumptions about relative advantage; according to statistics issued Monday by the State Elections Commission, nearly 1.1 million Wisconsites cast ballots that way, nearly as many as total turnout in last year’s Supreme Court race — and more than total turnout in the court races in each of the previous two years…

Republicans entered the election with a 5-2 majority on the state Supreme Court, meaning that a Democratic victory would still leave liberals in the minority until 2023, the next time a conservative justice will face voters.
But an ongoing legal battle over a voter roll purge raised the stakes of this year’s election, with implications for November. Kelly recused himself, and conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn sided with voting-rights groups to halt the purge. That left the court deadlocked 3-3, and gave Democrats a shot at stopping the purge, one of their top priorities ahead of the 2020 election.

Foxconn is the giant Taiwanese tech company that manufactures electronic products for major tech companies around the world. They are known for poor working conditions and long hours, also for employee suicides on the job. When Scott Walker was governor of Wisconsin, his great coup (or so he thought) was to woo Foxconn to open five “innovation centers” in the state. This was supposed to create jobs. Foxconn won billions in tax breaks and incentives. That was 2017. But not a single innovation center has opened, and according to this article, none is on track to open. While Walker made grandiose plans for Foxconn, he cut the budgets of schools and universities, which is the usual place to spur innovation.

Looks like he was hoaxed.

Electronics manufacturer Foxconn’s promised Wisconsin “innovation centers,” which are to employ hundreds of people in the state if they ever get built, are officially on hold after spending months empty and unused, as the company focuses on meeting revised deadlines on the LCD factory it promised would now open by next year. The news, reported earlier today by Wisconsin Public Radio, is another inexplicable twist in the nearly two-year train wreck that is Foxconn’s US manufacturing plans.

The company originally promised five so-called innovation centers throughout the state would that employ as many as 100 to 200 people each in high-skilled jobs, with the Milwaukee center promising as many as 500. Those jobs were to complement the more than 13,000 jobs Foxconn said its initial Wisconsin electronics manufacturing factory would bring to the US, in exchange for billions in tax breaks and incentives that Governor Scott Walker granted the company back in 2017.


Carol Burris is the executive director of the Network for Public Education. She is a lifelong educator, first a teacher of Spanish, then an award-winning principal of a high school in New York.

She writes here to explain briefly why charter schools are unnecessary and are not public schools.

“When I was a high school principal, I also ran an alternative school called The Greenhouse. It was small–its average enrollment was 17 students. The students were older–juniors or seniors–who were credit-deficient or who, for personal reasons, needed an alternative setting.

“Greenhouse saved lives and reduced our dropout rate to less than 1%. It was run (and is still run) by a wonderful teacher, Frank Van Zant. I gave Frank ample resources with teachers from South Side going to the school to provide content instruction for one or two periods a day. I trusted him and gave him freedom. It has (and still has) a full-time social worker. Hours for students were more flexible. Instruction was small group. I called the Greenhouse a delicate ecology. I was careful to place in the program only those students who really needed it.
“Our students on suspension also benefitted. They would receive instruction there at the end of the day so that they were well educated and counseled when out of school and could more easily transition back.
“All of that innovation and I did not need “a charter” to do it. The ultimate authority was the School Board. The kids who graduated received a South Side diploma. In fact, by the time I left, 100% graduated with a NYS Regents diploma.
“I am weary of hearing that charter schools are public schools. That is a lie.  Public schools are governed by the public, not by a private corporation.
“Charter advocates will say Wisconsin has “public charters” because they are authorized by the school district. However, all of those district authorized schools, thanks to Scott Walker,  are now run by for-profit or nonprofit corporations. Publicly-governed charter schools without a private board are not allowed.  I do not believe there is even one public charter school–that is a charter school run by an elected school board–in the United States. Is there one left?”


Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect reports about the con job in Wisconsin:


Kuttner on TAP

Fox Con Job. Remember Foxconn? Then-governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin lured the Chinese company to create “up to” 13,000 jobs in his state, with tax subsidies paid by Wisconsin taxpayers that could to as high as $3 billion. Foxconn was going to build a $10 billion factory complex to produce liquid crystal displays and other tech equipment that it now makes in Asia.

As the Prospect reported in an investigative piece last September, the taxpayer cost per new employee was estimated at $230,000, or five or six times the normal figure in such deals.

Though the 13,000 jobs were an estimate, not a formal commitment, President Trump touted that number at a ground-breaking ceremony last year with Walker, then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou.

Well, that was then.

It now turns out that Foxconn will hire a maximum of 1,000 Wisconsinites, and is not building a factory at all. The company now describes its Wisconsin facility as an R&D center, combined with the possibility of some low-skill final assembly jobs.

There are several morals of this story. One, which we already knew, is never to trust Scott Walker or Donald Trump, either separately or together. Moral two is to keep your hand on your wallet whenever corporate execs hold you up for tax subsidies.

But the more important moral is that if the U.S. is to have a real industrial policy to reclaim U.S. manufacturing jobs, it is utter folly to rely on white knights on the form of Chinese companies. Making American manufacturing great again is not at the top of their national agenda.

Better to spend the money directly, on industrial strategies that benefit companies that are committed to producing in the U.S. It remains to be seen how much of the tax breaks were already squandered and what might be recouped. ~ ROBERT KUTTNER

The New York Times describes the same hoax in polite terms.

It was heralded a year and a half ago as the start of a Midwestern manufacturing renaissance: Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics behemoth, would build a $10 billion Wisconsin plant to make flat-screen televisions, creating 13,000 jobs. President Trump later called the project “the eighth wonder of the world.”

Now that prospect looks less certain.

Pointing to “new realities” in the market, the company said Wednesday that it was reassessing the plans, underscoring the difficult economics of manufacturing in the United States. “The global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed,” Foxconn said in a statement.

Company officials had signaled for months that their emphasis was increasingly on research and development rather than large-scale production, dampening the potential for blue-collar job creation.

That turn runs counter to Mr. Trump’s vision for the project, which he had cited as a milestone in reversing the decline in factory jobs. The twist also brought new friction in Wisconsin, where the initiative has been politically fraught from the start because of its billions of dollars in tax subsidies.

Foxconn said that it remained committed to creating 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin and that it was “moving forward with plans to build an advanced manufacturing facility.” But it did not address the share of jobs to be devoted to production, and economists questioned how such a large work force could be created if the plant’s focus was on other areas.

A White House spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

The Foxconn statement followed a Reuters report that Louis Woo, a special assistant to the company’s chairman, Terry Gou, had said the costs of manufacturing screens for televisions and other consumer products were too high in the United States.

“In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.,” Mr. Woo told Reuters. “We can’t compete.”

Mr. Trump’s campaign promise to revitalize American manufacturing was considered an important factor in his capturing Wisconsin and other battleground states in 2016. Yet the cost of luring Foxconn set off a partisan battle in Wisconsin that extended into the midterm elections last year, when Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, was defeated.

Mr. Walker and state lawmakers had agreed to more than $4 billion in tax credits and other inducements over a 15-year period, an unusually high figure, for a plant in Mount Pleasant, near Racine.

Wisconsin residents have had mixed feelings about the investment, polls show. And early on, economists questioned whether the large-scale manufacturing plant and the thousands of jobs would come to fruition. The increasing focus on research raised new doubts about the scale of hiring — economists said that strategy could produce a smaller number of higher-paying jobs.

“There aren’t that many R&D facilities in the world with 13,000 people,” said Susan Helper, an economist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland


In the Wisconsin gubernatorial election, the odious Governor Scott Walker was beaten by State Superintendent of Education Tony Evers. The results will be certified today. Last Friday, Republicans passed legislation to try to thwart the will of the voters.

This came from the Center for Media and Democracy, which is a watchdog agency that blows the whistle on corruption:

Dear Defender of Democracy,

This is urgent.

On Monday, December 3rd, the Wisconsin Elections Commission will certify the results of the Nov. 6th elections won by Democrats Tony Evers, Mandela Barnes, Josh Kaul, and Sarah Godliewski.

On the same day, Republicans in the legislature will attempt to silence the voice of the people and undo the results of the election by stripping authority from Governor-elect Evers and Attorney General-elect Kaul before they are even sworn in.

Here’s what you need to know:

Sore losers, Scott Walker, Robin Vos, and Scott Fitzgerald, have called a special lame duck session to upend the will of the voters and pass five massive bills they released at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

On the list of things they plan to ram through the legislature:

1. Moving the date of a key election to give their hand-picked candidate a better chance at winning a pivotal 2020 Supreme Court race. This move will cost over $7 million and has been decried by nonpartisan election officials in all corners of the state.

2. Narrowing opportunities for early voting, despite a federal judge’s ruling two years ago that struck down similar restrictions as racially discriminatory.

3. Preventing Evers and Kaul from withdrawing the state from a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, a key promise of the Democrats in their recent campaign.

4. Taking away a number of positions from the State Attorney General’s office and giving them to the GOP so they can have a different group of taxpayer-paid lawyers on key cases like the pending challenge to their gerrymandering of Wisconsin districts.

5. Locking in GOP control of the cesspool called WEDC, which has been a hotbed of corruption under Walker and is managing the controversial $4.5 billion give-away to Foxconn.

6. Rule changes that would compel Evers to implement a work requirement for BadgerCare and limit the administrative powers of the governor.

And who knows what they will do once the lame duck session starts?

“I’ve said all along I’m committed to working across the aisle, but I will not tolerate attempts to violate our constitutional checks and balances and separation of powers by people who are desperate to cling to control. Enough is enough,” Evers said in a statement.

We don’t usually put out a call for action, but when our democracy is on the line CMD is there.

Please call your State Senator on Monday at 608-266-9960. Forward this email and encourage friends and family in other parts of the state to do the same. If you have extra time, call the sore losers listed below.

If you want to testify at the only public hearing on the bills, that will be Monday starting at 12:30 p.m. in the Capitol, Room 412 East, and should go most of the day.

There will be a #RespectMyVote rally sponsored by Indivisible on the State Street steps of the Capitol at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Read and share our articles on the lame duck by clicking here.

Thank you for all you do to defend democracy!


Gov. Scott Walker:
(608) 266-1212,,

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester):
(608) 266-9171,

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau):
(608) 266-5660,

Andrea Gabor surveys the election and reminds us that while Trump has dominated the coverage of the election, school issues will be front and center in many states.

“National issues are getting most of the attention in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm election, including health care, immigration and President Donald Trump.

“Yet from Arizona to Kentucky to Wisconsin, politics also remains fiercely local. Especially in states that cut school budgets as a result of the 2008 recession and Republican-sponsored tax cuts, public school funding has become a hot-button issue in many state legislative and gubernatorial races, often scrambling party loyalties. Six years after the Great Recession, most states were still spending less on schools than they were before 2008, according to a 2016 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Teachers in several Republican-dominated states led a political groundswell earlier this year, with walkouts that closed schools. Over 300 teachers are running for political office in the midterms, more than double the number that did so in 2014. While many of the teacher candidates are Democrats hoping to unseat Republicans who cut school funding and promoted privatization in the form of charter schools and private-school voucher programs, educational activism cuts across party lines.

“In Arizona, a small group of mothers and teachers organized to oppose a 2017 law that expanded the state’s voucher program, which steers taxpayer dollars from the state’s public schools to private and religious schools. More than 100,000 people signed a petition to put their referendum on the ballot, provoking a counterattack from Americans for Prosperity, an organization backed by the conservative activists David and Charles Koch. It sued, unsuccessfully, to have it taken off of the ballot. Both sides have identified the referendum on the voucher law as a top priority.”

After years of budget cuts, some districts and states are likely to increase investment in education. And in a sign of the times, the anti-public school Governor Scott Walker claims to be “the education Governor.” Hopefully, voters will not be fooled.

The Network for Public Education Action Fund endorses Tony Evers, currently Wisconsin’s superintendent of schools, for Governor! Voters must kick Scott Walker out. He is an enemy of public schools and public universities and academic freedom. He was and is a puppet of the Koch brothers. Vote for Tony Evers on November 6. Restore the Wisconsin Idea!

​The Network for Public Education Action enthusiastically endorses Tony Evers for Governor of Wisconsin. Tony is running against Governor Scott Walker who has aggressively attacked public education through defunding public schools, attacking teachers and their collective bargaining rights, and pushing voucher programs and charter schools.
Among the 50 states and Washington D.C, Wisconsin was ranked 44 out of 51 on the Network for Public Education’s and the Schott Foundation’s Privatization Report Card. It was ranked the worst in the nation for its charter school policies. Wisconsin’s dismal score is the result of the state’s expansion of privatization, dilution of student civil rights, and the lack of transparency and accountability for charters and vouchers. Walker is responsible, along with a compliant legislature, for Wisconsin’s shockingly low rating.
Tony Evers, in contrast, has focused on educational improvement during his tenure as State Superintendent of Schools. He has proposed full funding of 4-year-old kindergarten and what he calls a “transformational budget.” Voucher supporters view him as a threat because he has asked for much needed reforms.
Here is what Evers has to say:

“No more false choices. There’s a better way, and that is the high road…. We need to prioritize mental health, we need to shatter the decade-long freeze on special education funding, we need to reform our broken school funding system, and we need to restore and expand crucial student support services.”

Although we do not agree with Ever’s support for charter schools, he is clearly the better choice this election. Please vote for Tony Evers for Governor on November 6.

Scott Walker will face off against Democrat Tony Evers in November’s gubernatorial election.

Evers is the state superintendent of education.

Walker is running on his “education record,” which includes busting the teachers’ union, expanding vouchers and charters, defunding education, both K-12 and higher education. At one point, he even tried to rewrite the mission statement of the University of Wisconsin, changing its emphasis on “the search for truth” and “improve the human condition” to one focused on career training (“meet the state’s workforce needs.”)

Politico reports that the Koch brothers are investing in another term for their puppet:

SEVEN-FIGURE AD BUY TOUTS WALKER’S EDUCATION RECORD: Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin is launching a $1.8 million television and digital ad campaign highlighting Gov. Scott Walker’s education record. Specifically, the conservative group details past praise of Walker’s education record from his Democratic opponent in the governor’s race, Wisconsin state Superintendent Tony Evers. Watch the ad here.

— Caitlin Emma and Daniel Strauss reported last month that Walker is staking his reelection on his education record — and his political future could rest on how that message plays with voters. Walker essentially broke the state teachers union with Act 10, explosive legislation that he championed in 2011, gutting the collective bargaining rights of labor unions. Rather than run from the controversy sparked by the bill, Walker is embracing it, insisting that battling the teachers unions gave school districts more control over their staffs and helped officials balance the state budget, both of which have made schools better.

— Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin notes that Evers praised Walker’s most recent budget as a “pro-kid budget.” But Evers, one of the few statewide officials elected with Democratic support, has gone after Walker for cutting education funding or keeping it flat during the early years of his administration. Evers said the cuts prompted school districts to push for increases in property taxes. When he spoke to POLITICO last month, he took credit for “90 percent” of Walker’s recent budget proposal.

— Democrats, through the Democratic Governors Association, also recently announced a $1.8 million ad buy backing Evers. The ad campaign paints Walker as an insider politician who shunned Wisconsin residents while pursuing higher aspirations and traces Evers’ career from the classroom to superintendent of 2,000 public schools