Monday, August 31, 2015

Restore the Wisconsin Covenant

Students who excel deserve educational opportunities, no matter what their family's income levels are

There once was a state that believed in some pretty important things, among them that education was paramount to producing thriving economies and communities.

It utilized the university system as a place to concoct political ideas, and to put them into practice to improve the process.

And it promised its students that if they worked hard, they too could get a college education, regardless of family income level.

Wisconsin was that state at one point. But since he came to office, Gov. Scott Walker has cut education at all levels, and our priorities have changed drastically.

In addition to millions of dollars in cuts to K-12 schools and higher education, the Wisconsin Covenant was also discontinued under Walker’s watch, a program which promised students earning a “B” average in high school the chance to go to a public university, no matter what their economic background was.

The rationale for cutting the program was that the state didn’t have the money to continue it. Some even blamed Gov. Jim Doyle, who created the program, when it ended up costing the state $25 million per year to keep it running.

But $25 million per year is a drop in the bucket when it comes to education spending in the state. And it isn’t hard to fund -- with about 2.9 million workers in Wisconsin, each worker would only have to contribute around $9 in taxes yearly to fund it, or about two-hundredths of a percent in taxes for the median household income for the state.

And it’s not as if government spending has gone down since Walker and legislative Republicans ended the program -- quite the opposite, in fact. The latest budget Walker signed is the largest in the state’s history at nearly $73 billion.

There’s plenty of reasons why we should restart the Wisconsin Covenant. It encourages students to work hard, earning good grades and becoming stellar members of the community in order to gain yearly grants that can go toward college spending.

The reasons against the Wisconsin Covenant -- costs, mainly -- are exaggerated. And the outcomes of those costs are well worth the spending.

At a time when students are struggling more than ever to pay for college, why are we against a program that combines personal responsibility with financial aide? It makes little sense when you think about it.

If the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is serious about winning back the state, they should play up programs like the Wisconsin Covenant. Resurrecting this successful program will surely play in their political favor -- but it will also do a lot of good for students in low-income families, and improve their chances to continue their education beyond high school.

That should be a priority for every Wisconsin citizen to embrace. Only fools would oppose such an ideal.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hillary Clinton, Scott Walker offer different outlooks on shooting tragedy

Clinton pledges to "do something" about gun violence; Walker, not so much

After a shooting tragedy left two news crew members dead in Virginia today, politicians from both left and right offered their perspectives on the matter.

Look at these two reactions from presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Scott Walker.

Here’s Clinton:

And here’s Walker:

Notice the difference? Clinton offers her prayers and says the time for action to stave off gun violence is now. Walker simply offers his prayers, and is deafeningly silent on what should or can be done.

Which isn’t all that surprising. Walker, who has received an “A+ gold star sticker” rating from the National Rifle Association, has deregulated gun laws in Wisconsin since the start of his tenure.

We’ve since seen a rise in violent crime overall, and a murder rate in our state’s largest city that will undoubtedly be higher than Chicago’s by the year’s end.

Walker’s condolences are obviously genuine. But it’s curious that he refuses to think that anything can be done about the nation’s gun problem.

Part of it is cultural. We rely on and worship our weapons, with some sanctifying the Second Amendment beyond religious texts. But part of it is also legal – allowing individuals to purchase guns without a background check is just plain stupid, for instance. We can change that, but politicians like Scott Walker don’t seem to want to.


Less than an hour after he made the tweet above, Scott Walker took the time to troll Clinton on Twitter. What did Hillary Clinton do with the rest of her day?

She renewed her pledge from earlier in the day in a speech on the campaign trail, coming out strongly for balancing gun rights with reasonable laws that can work to prevent future tragedies.

Kind of tells you little a bit about their priorities, don’t you think?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Scott Free 2016

Help fund a Scott Walker documentary film crew

If you get a chance..check out this really well done documentary and project about what the state of Wisconsin has had to endure under Scott Walker since 2011.

My friend Leah Duckert is a teacher in the West Bend School district and is featured in the video.

The project is also to warn the rest of the US what would happen under a Walker presidency and why this guy needs to be stopped.

If you can spare a few bucks send some their way or check out their Twitter page and give them a share.

Nicely done guys!