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Scott Walker to extort University of Wisconsin students into specific jobs

Nov 21, 2012

We won’t say that the GOP hates public education. But, just from observation, it’s hard to think the opposite when Republicans have been trying to defund schools, break teacher unions, place idiotic standards on teachers and students (No Child Left Behind), and privatize education for the better part of two decades now. One almost wonders if the goal with No Child Left Behind was to so degrade public schools’ ability to teach and students to learn, that the country would be forced to conclude public education doesn’t work.

Now the GOP is up to something different, and it’s beginning in the GOP’s corporate beta testing grounds of Wisconsin. As reported by the Wisconsin State Journal, Governor Scott Walker will now tie state funding to whether students graduate with a degree the GOP deems an asset to the capitalist economy; effectively extorting universities and their students. Indeed, effectively overriding student free will.

Last week, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation in Simi Valley, California, Walker laid out his vision for education in an hour-long talk.

Walker stated, “I hear tremendous concerns from our employers in manufacturing,  health care and information technology… is that they have jobs but they just don’t have enough skilled workers to meet those jobs.”

Conclusion: if Wisconsin students aren’t going into health care, manufacturing and information technology, the state (now fully controlled by the GOP) will force education to bend to its will and place students in those industries. Sounds rather like the Soviet Russian educational system, but no matter—the GOP aren’t interested in wielding the state for their own purposes, right?

Gov. Walker will tie education funding to performance starting in kindergarten, through 12th grade schools, and on to Wisconsin’s technical college and University of Wisconsin systems.

“What we’re going to do is not just put money in … we’re going to make investments that are driven off of performance,” Walker said. “We’re going to tie our funding in our technical colleges and our University of Wisconsin System into performance and say if you want money, we need you to perform, and particularly in higher education, we need you to perform not just in how many people you have in the classroom.

“In higher education, that means not only degrees, but are young people getting degrees in jobs that are open and needed today, not just the jobs that the universities want to give us, or degrees that people want to give us?” added Walker.

The things is universities aren’t in the business of giving states any specific type of jobs. That is not their business. Students enroll in Wisconsin universities, for example, and decide what they want to study based on whichever career path interests them. Students decide, not universities, and certainly not the state.

Walker wants to reverse this educational free will. He, like many in the GOP, see the educational system useful only insomuch as it can create docile, hard-working automatons who will keep the hallucinatory free market economy chugging along.

Watch the video of Walker’s speech below. The segment on education reform is at about the 55:00 mark.

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