So, the big news today in education issues is the fact that the Wisconsin state Assembly decided to stop waiting for a quorum and figured out a way to finagle doing what the majority of the legislators wanted to do for weeks.
Outside of the fact that Wisconsin can probably look forward to a massive exodus of the most qualified teachers that they have (just look at the quality educational systems of other “right-to-work” states), if I lived in the land of milk and cheese, I would be very concerned about the remarkable ineptitude of my state government (and remember people, I live in New York!).
Consider this point: The governor of Wisconsin refused to negotiate on a bill that he wanted passed, even when the public sector unions signalled that they were willing to meet all monetary concessions, and ignore that fact that the value of the money they were being asked to give up was approximately equal to the value of the money that said governor plans to give in tax breaks to businesses in the state. To put it another way, the governor decided that an issue that cost the taxpayers of Wisconsin nothing (continued rights to collective bargaining and union representation for large sectors of the public workforce) was worth a legislative path that could very well cost the state many millions of dollars in stalling tactics and general nastiness.
Of course, the governor and folks of like-mind would argue that collective bargaining as a concept is costly for a variety of economic reasons. Which is essentially saying that the Boards of Education of local school districts, and the various administrative units in charge of other public services, are too inept to be able to negotiate economically feasible contracts with their unions. In other words, the governor is arguing the institution that he is the CEO for does not posses the mental capacity to bargain, a mode of transaction that pre-dates the existence of money in human society.
We might leave it there, and we had until today, when the governor demonstrated that his inability to successfully govern went well below even this previously established dearth of competence, by directing his political allies in the legislature to use a course of action to rectify the situation that he could have used weeks ago, had he thought of it, and if it is, in fact, legal (the last-minute nature of things seems to suggest that he knows it is not particularly kosher, and is hoping for some assistance from what I will assume to be activist conservative judges). The end result: Through his actions the governor has left his state in the worst possible situation, wherein it’s workers are devalued, its public sector will soon be destroyed AND whatever savings in municipal bonds he was prattling on about several weeks ago when the democrats first fled town, have long since evaporated.
This man is the governor of a state. I don’t care at all for the one that we have in NY, but at least I’m pretty sure the guy has a functioning brain. Fortunately, given the last four weeks, I’m hopeful that the problem in Wisconsin (the governor), will remain squarely Wisconsin’s problem. That guy is going to be a death sentence for any ticket with national aspirations.