RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Pierce writes: "This rather dubious view into the Walker brain cavern leads us inevitably to the sudden interest in the national press concerning Walker's unsuccessful pursuit of the degree they were nice enough to hand me in 1975."

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. (photo: AP)
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. (photo: AP)

Scott Walker and Education Don't Mix

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

14 February 15


s we mentioned last week, ol' alma mammy is getting quite a workout in the news these days. First, there was the blow-up concerning Professor John McAdams and his blog. Then there was the gumshoeing that my fellow one-time Marquette Tribune editor Jennifer Haberkorn did on one of the straw people behind the King v. Burwell suit. And now, there's all kinds of news concerning the most prominent non-alumnus we've had since Maurice Lucas took the money and ran in 1974. That would be Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin. At the moment, Walker is in England, thereby becoming an international man of mendacity. There he found that the tap-dance that flies on the Sunday Showz doesn't quite work on British television interviewers who don't particularly give a damn if he likes them or not.

In his last response, Walker declined to answer a question and follow-up from his interviewer about whether evolution was real, saying politicians were better off steering clear of that issue. "I'm going to punt on that one as well," Walker said. "I'm here to talk about trade, not to pontificate about other things."After Walker declined to state his views on evolution, the event's moderator, Justin Webb of BBC Radio 4, told him that he believed any British politician would answer such a question by making clear that he or she believed evolution was true.

This rather dubious view into the Walker brain cavern leads us inevitably to the sudden interest in the national press concerning Walker's unsuccessful pursuit of the degree they were nice enough to hand me in 1975. (That this interest is prompted by the fact that this low-rent grifter is now considered by a lot of people, including me, to be a serious contender for the presidency is something on which I am trying not to dwell.) The details are still pretty murky, but there's no question that his friends on campus looked up one day and -- poof! -- young Scott was gone.

And then he left Marquette altogether. Walker's disappearance from campus became a mystery that his political rivals seized on. As recently as 2013, the state's Democrats were still alleging that he might have been kicked out for election-related misdeeds. They dropped that after Marquette officials told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Walker had left "in good standing."...At the time, the Journal Sentinel found, Walker was not close to graduating. After four years, he was at least 34 credits short - about one-quarter of the required total away from earning his degree, according to its report. Walker's political spokeswoman said she would not contest that finding.

Which leads us inevitably to the fact that Walker's general attitude toward truth-in-campaigning hasn't improved very much since he absented himself from the academic end of Wisconsin Avenue. In Iowa, during his well-received speech at which people were astonished that he wasn't a wax figurine after all, Walker told the sad tale of how the 2010 "Teacher Of The Year" in Wisconsin, a woman named Megan Sampson, had been laid off because of those nasty teacher's unions that he has done so much to crush. (The teacher he name checked wants no part of him, either.) Well, we just happen to have one of the 2010 Teachers Of The Year right here. Not only that, but Ms. Claudia Klein Felske also happens to be a good daughter of Numen Flumenque her own self.

Your tenure as Governor has demonstrated nothing less than a systematic attempt to dismantle public education, the cornerstone of democracy and the ladder of social mobility for any society. How our paths have diverged from that August afternoon in 1986. True story: it was freshman orientation just outside Memorial Union. We were two of a couple thousand new Marquette University freshman wistful about what our futures held. Four years later, I graduated from Marquette and later became Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year. You never graduated, and you became the Governor of the State of Wisconsin bent on dismantling public education. Ironic, isn't it? Situational irony at its best. I'd laugh if its ramifications weren't so utterly destructive for the state of Wisconsin.

A mark, that will surely leave.

This is what can happen when you close a place like Jim Hegarty's.

(H/t to Booman for grabbing the Felske letter) your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+82 # Barbara K 2015-02-14 14:47
He doesn't want Unions either, and he got rid of a lot of police and firemen in his state. The state had a surplus until he got his hands on it and paid it to the likes of the Kochs. Then declared how broke the state was. Well, this moron is the one who broke the state. He got rid of a lot of teachers too, guess he doesn't want any smart voters in his state.

+3 # Caliban 2015-02-14 14:50
The topic of why the GOP dislikes--and defunds--educat ion is an interesting one, but this article of Pierce's starts well but finishes (if it actually does finish) strangely, at least to this reader.

RSN--is there an editor in the house or is Valentines Day doing my brain in?
+28 # CAMUS1111 2015-02-14 15:02
@Caliban--you write:"RSN--is there an editor in the house or is Valentines Day doing my brain in?" Charlie Pierce doesn't write for RSN--he writes for Esquire--so what is RSN supposed to edit?!
+28 # Caliban 2015-02-14 16:53
Camus1111--I get that Pierce writes for Esquire, but maybe you can tell me what this piece's last three sentences mean. If not, I would say again that maybe an editor should check whether this reprint was correctly done.

But to a bit more substance. In my state--North Carolina--we have a GOP governor and GOP majority in the State legislature. We have also had attacks on the public universities and on public schools and teachers. So I think I would apply what Barbara K says to the whole Republican Party: "guess [they] don't want any smart voters in [their states].

A drop-out governor is a new one, though.
+4 # CAMUS1111 2015-02-14 17:12
my only point is that RSN cant edit his work--no hard feelings; i'm nasty by nature. And I never explain Charlie
+1 # Caliban 2015-02-14 21:07
CAMUS1111--No problem.
+53 # cymricmorty 2015-02-14 15:24
Scott Walker is the political equivalent of herpes virus that the Koch brothers gave us.
+31 # Barbara K 2015-02-14 16:03
So true. It will be interesting to see how his legal problems turn out; and why they are taking so long to resolve them and arrest him.

+2 # CAMUS1111 2015-02-14 16:37
prick ly heat maybe?
-70 # MidwestTom 2015-02-14 15:35
Private Industry used to pay more than academia for Phd's; that is no longer an absolute. In many fields Professors are making $120,000+ for teaching two or three classes. This is because there has been a competition for the more famous and the ones that author the most. The higher wages then carry on their coattails the Professors in less competitive subjects. Wages in private industry have been at best flat for a decade, not at the Universities. Visit any small town with a major university, and just look at the housing, and ask if looks like the national average.

The end result of this wage inflation has been the tuition inflation which has been rising unrelenting;y at 3 to 5 percent per year at most schools. I just read that Northwestern is now $62,000 per year.

I do not know what Walker is proposing, but I do believe that he has a good target.
+44 # conniejo 2015-02-14 16:58
Part 1. I don't fault you for your perspective on professors. With all due respect, your message shows that Walker's efforts to misrepresent the work of professors are effective. I am not a professor, but I work at a university (60-70 hrs per week--most evenings and weekends), and I see what professors do. First, most professors teach 2 courses per semester, not 2-3 per year; some teach more. The job of a professor is 50% teaching (and related duties), 25% research, and 25% service. Activities that many businesses pay people to do are performed at a university by faculty members as part of their service duties. Service also may include service in the community, in national and international associations where new knowledge is shared among colleagues, for governments or businesses that consult with faculty members. The line between service and teaching is blurred in many cases because faculty members also have responsibility for graduate students. They serve as the primary advisors for students who are working their way through master's and Ph.D. programs. The amount of one-on-one time that a professor spends with her/his advisees varies according to the number of advisees a professor has and the different stages of the students' education. It is not unusual for a faculty member to have ten, twelve, or more advisees with whom s/he is in contact daily. This is both teaching and service as the faculty member guides the student's research to the culminating thesis or project.
+28 # Helen Marshall 2015-02-14 18:52
The professors at my university teach 3 or 4 or even 5 courses per semester. An adjunct professor gets about $2500 per course. THere may indeed be professors earning $100K and more but that is not the norm.
+45 # Regina 2015-02-14 17:08
It's not the professors -- it's the coaches. No professors, not even presidents, get anything like what the coaches get. Colleges have become the minot leagues for pro athletes -- the scholars and their students are just incidental. Whatever the gate doesn't cover gets added to tuition -- gotta maintain the fancy field, too, as well as all that travel.
+36 # conniejo 2015-02-14 17:10
Part 2. It may seem that teaching 2 courses a semester is not time-consuming, but consider that a professor spends 6 hours per week in the classroom and probably 3-4 hours preparing every lecture. There is work preparing labs, overseeing teaching assistants who meet with students in discussion sections, preparing quizzes or lab exams, writing and grading mid-terms and finals, reading and evaluating final papers, etc. Professors hold office hours during which they meet with individual students or groups to discuss the day's or week's course material. They spend many hours developing new courses. Some people think that once a course is developed, the professor can use the same syllabus each year. Not so. Professors must update a syllabus each year to include new knowledge, lab techniques, theories, interpretations . Considerable time goes into reading new books and articles written on the subjects professors teach. I'm not sure about you, but it takes me 2-3 days or more to read a book. Multiply that by numerous books published each year on a subject as well as the journal articles that are far more numerous. And here the line blurs between teaching and research. Professors incorporate into their lectures new knowledge developed and discovered by their research and that of their colleagues. Research itself requires hours of work each day; many hours are put into writing books and articles for publication, and responding to reviewers' comments or editors' suggestions.
+27 # conniejo 2015-02-14 17:19
Part 3. Professors spend time at professional meetings presenting the results of their research and learning from that of their colleagues. Not every professor teaches four courses per year. Some, who may have slowed down their research may teach six. Some may teach fewer including those who may have accepted administrative positions or who have numerous different research projects going on at the same time. Some researchers bring in millions of dollars in research support, some of that money going to help defray the infrastructure costs that support that research, some going to support graduate students that will be our next scientists and think tank members. As funding for research continues to be cut, faculty members must write more and more grant proposals to secure the funding that they need to continue their research projects. A history professor, a philosopher, and a sociologist may not seek or secure the same number of grants that those in the natural sciences and the professions obtain (though some do), but they are creating the new knowledge that helps us understand our problems and find solutions based on learning from our past histories, identifying universal and different cultural ways of thinking about issues, and analyzing what has been tried in problem-solving and why it has or has not worked.
+31 # conniejo 2015-02-14 17:21
Part 4 (the last!). Most faculty members earn far less than the $120,000 salary that you indicate professors in some fields earn. And that varies by institution. When an institution has been cut to the bone, as is the case for my campus of the University of Wisconsin, one no longer can trim costs without sacrificing quality. I believe the answer to making education more affordable and available to everyone who desires it is not to cut colleges and universities to the point that they no longer can survive but to value education more, asking those who can afford to do so to pay a bit more so they will benefit from the most well-educated workforce in the world. However, I would be pleased to discuss with you your specific ideas about where you believe costs could be reduced. I truly am interested in hearing from those who see this from a perspective that differs from mine.
+1 # mmcmanus 2015-02-19 14:00
Amen to all 4 parts! My brother is a professor, and he works well into the night nearly every night meeting with students, grading papers, doing research, and preparing for his next day's lectures.
+35 # reiverpacific 2015-02-14 18:53
Quoting MidwestTom:
Private Industry used to pay more than academia for Phd's; that is no longer an absolute. In many fields Professors are making $120,000+ for teaching two or three classes. This is because there has been a competition for the more famous and the ones that author the most. The higher wages then carry on their coattails the Professors in less competitive subjects. Wages in private industry have been at best flat for a decade, not at the Universities. Visit any small town with a major university, and just look at the housing, and ask if looks like the national average.

The end result of this wage inflation has been the tuition inflation which has been rising unrelenting;y at 3 to 5 percent per year at most schools. I just read that Northwestern is now $62,000 per year.

I do not know what Walker is proposing, but I do believe that he has a good target.

As always, backup please.
My daughter lives and works in Madison Wis' and has seen a state that used to be a union stronghold, go to shit at the hands of this anti-populist crook.
Corporations are taking over American Universities to teach their narrow, commodity-based tunnel vision of "Us first, the rest can struggle for the crumbs".
Walker is a fink in the pockets and at the end of the puppet-stings of the Koches, who saved him from recall by bussing in indigents to vote for him.
I suppose this is the stuff of which presidential contenders are made in both of the 1.25 parties.
+21 # Benjamin Franklin 2015-02-14 19:59
Idiotic post. Aversion to taxes, the new 4-letter word, is killing public education and spiking parent tuition payments, and making it more difficult for people to go to school . . . exactly as the oligarchy planned.
+9 # Benjamin Franklin 2015-02-14 19:59
Referring to Midwest Tom's post
-45 # MidwestTom 2015-02-14 15:39
As The Economist magazine pointed out several weeks ago, the largest inequality in America is not income, but education, from grade school on, and especially college, due to the costs. I believe that coasts can be trimmed without sacrificing quality.

Last year the Economist reported that college applications are dropping because people simply cannot afford them. Some small colleges are even shutting down due to lack of students. There is room for change.
+25 # CAMUS1111 2015-02-14 17:00
you are truly ignorant
+15 # jon 2015-02-14 20:09
+36 # RMF 2015-02-14 17:40
Yes, the cost of tuition can be brought down by restoring some of the support from the public fisc that has been withdrawn during the recent era. The idea that salaries of professors have ignited tuition inflation is pretty absurd. For one, it's well known that colleges now employ more adjunct professors than ever, and adjuncts earn a very modest salary, much less than the typical plumber or carpenter.
+17 # Ray Kondrasuk 2015-02-14 19:41
Tom: "...people simply cannot afford them...."

Used to be that a summer's work at a minimum-wage job would pay for a year's tuition at a state U. When I graduated from high school in '61, my buck-an-hour lawn-tending work earned me $320 in two months, enough for two semesters' tuition
at $118 per at Wisconsin State College-Eau Claire.

Now kids have to work a summer and a semester to pay for but a half-year at a time on the eight-year debt-free plan. Or borrow heavily.
+8 # Benjamin Franklin 2015-02-14 20:00
See my post above, Tom. Try to concentrate.
+38 # Regina 2015-02-14 17:01
Let's not forget Walker's sneaky rewrite of the UofW's mission statement -- just to supply the state's workforce needs, not to advance knowledge and develop an educated population. He had to do a fast, slick backtrack to the original statement when the students as well as faculty rose in wrath. That tracks with his ungraduated persona as described in this article.
+35 # jouster 2015-02-14 17:33
It doesn't matter what we think about what Walker does. The majority of our citizens are low information voters and Walker is going to win the Koch primary. The barrage of television, radio and print ads will be overwhelming. Every other candidate will be slandered as "not a true conservative". The uninformed but easily swayed masses will vote for Walker, voting against their own best interests.

I despair!
+13 # jon 2015-02-14 20:14
I think you have described our situation very well.
+1 # mmcmanus 2015-02-19 14:07
Scott Walker=Howdy Doody. The DNC should come up with several ads depicting him as such: a wooden headed puppet with no brain of his own. He's good a dishing out tea party slogans, but is not a deep enough thinker to even understand the complexities of any of the difficult issues now facing our country. For example, it was easy for him to tell voters he would "create more jobs", but it turns out he doesn't have the first clue as to how to actually do that. Remember, Scott Walker=Howdy Doody.
+13 # ericlipps 2015-02-14 18:10
Walker's chances at the nomination are poor. The fix is in: the GOP's biggies are already working on the crown they'll place on Jeb Bush's head. Only if he dies or is caught in bed with the proverbial dead girl or live boy will Jebbie not get it. (And these days, even the live boy might not disqualify him.)
+17 # fredboy 2015-02-14 18:41
Doesn't surprise me that the oaf Walker couldn't cut undergraduate school. He's a leech, and that's about his depth.

He'll quit on us if we give him a chance. Don't trust people like this.
+13 # jpmarat 2015-02-14 19:02
Most Americans have NO IDEA of a prof's work week, but 70 hours per week is close to average. However, even if it were closer to 35, why would we resent persons so thoroughly educated and responsible for the next generations, & research, making 80,000 to 120,000K? That's more a comment on the less literate Americans, science & math nincompoops, than on the profs. The REAL problem with profs, including adjuncts, is that they are a more than willing part of a massive, destructive, tribalistic, oligarchic, imperialistic, propaganda machine. Walker & Kochs should LOVE them, especially on Nixon-W-LBJ Presidents' Day..
+12 # Caliban 2015-02-14 21:22
jpmarat: Generally profs are much more politically left than the average citizen, so they are not the ones to be concerned about in the push for political justice.

What bothers me much more is the question of how the GOP has persuaded so many voters at the state level to send conservatives to state legislatures, the governors offices, and to the US House and Senate.

The ordinary citizen gets crushed by these people and yet the voters keep coming back for more. It is a sad and irritating puzzle.
+19 # geraldom 2015-02-15 00:16
What I find amazing is that both Jeb Bush and Scott walker are running for president in 2016 and both have committed crimes.

Scott Walker is being investigated for corruption of some kind, and in the 2000 presidential election, both Jeb Bush and his Secretary of State at the time, Katherine Harris, were sued by the NAACP for creating a phony database list of over 90000 Floridians, almost all minorities, who were disqualified from voting on the premise that they had criminal backgrounds. None of the people on this list had any criminal background.

The NAACP won their case in court against Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris who had to admit that the database was completely phony, but it was too late. The 2000 presidential election was long over when the case ended, but the fact that both Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris were proven to be behind this phony database scam should be enough to disqualify Jeb Bush running for president in 2016 and beyond.

If both Scott Walker and Jeb Bush were Democrats instead of Republicans, their political careers would have been over and done with. But, because they're Republicans, they get special dispensation.
+2 # rvanort 2015-02-16 10:03
They are both Bushes. The fix is in for one or the other.
+5 # martina 2015-02-16 14:56
There seems to be a concerted effort to "dumb us down" in making education is superfluous. Remember Spiro Agnew's comments about "effete intellectual snobs" who were supposedly his Democratic opponents? Scott Walker wants to turn his lack of education into an asset by posing as "one of the boys"--someone who has not had the advantage offered by expensive education.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.