wisconsin capitol
Press Release
August 20, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker’s Education Speech Debacle

Suggests Cabinet Secretary for Agency He Said He Wanted to Eliminate, Who Opposes His Education Agenda, Touts Story of Teacher Who Has Asked Him Repeatedly to Stop Talking About Her

MADISON, Wis. — The bumbling run of Gov. Scott Walker for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination stumbled on yesterday with a speech on education in New Hampshire. In his address the Wisconsin governor, who made the largest cuts to public education in state history, floated a name for a potential cabinet secretary pick for an agency he declared he would eliminate and used a story of a Wisconsin public school teacher who has repeatedly asked him to stop mentioning her in his stump speeches.

“It is truly remarkable that Scott Walker has reached new heights of ineptitude and made a speech on education that’s as bad as his record on the issue,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

In his speech, Walker floated the name of Howard Fuller, former Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools and college professor as, “the kind of person” he would consider for Secretary of Education. However in his increasingly desperate attempts to outdo Donald Trump for most ill-considered agenda, Walker has called for the total elimination of the federal Department of Education. Making matters worse, in a newspaper interview, Fuller said he would never take the job and that he disagreed with Walker on the centerpiece of his education agenda – the unlimited expansion of the unaccountable private school voucher program. In a series of tweets from his personal account, Fuller also went on to note he strongly disagreed with Walker’s regressive policies on a host of other issues.

Amazingly, Walker’s embarrassments didn’t stop there. In an attempt to explain his dealings with teachers, which he earlier equated to how he would deal with ISIS terrorists, Walker told a story about an English teacher from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Not only is his story inaccurate, but the teacher in question has as early as 2011 and as recently as June of this year asked Walker to stop mentioning her in his speeches.

Ross noted that, unfortunately for Wisconsin, Walker’s abhorrent performance on public education is not limited to his speeches. As Governor, Walker not only famously attacked teachers in their workplaces, he signed in to law the largest cuts to public education funding in state history. He has also sought to aggressively expand a taxpayer-funded private school voucher program without requiring equal accountability to public schools. In addition to numerous high profile instances of abuses and mismanagement, independent studies have found students in the voucher program are performing no better and in some cases worse than their peers in public schools.

He concluded, “While it’s embarrassing for Scott Walker that the people he mentioned in his speech are publicly disagreeing with him on policy and requesting he stop using their story, the real harm is to the children of Wisconsin, their families and the state’s education professionals who have to live with his misguided policies.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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