Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wanggaard Should Just Never Speak...with Notes

Yeah, yeah the Siren understands she is late providing notes for Wan's 3rd installment of a series on Patch titled "Please Don't Recall Me." 
Chocolate Boy submitted this gem on January 21st, but since he's saying all the same crap...what's the hurry?
Like always our "notes" are in red.
State Sen. Van Wanggaard: Improving the Quality of Education in Wisconsin Through Massive Cuts, Privatization and Lies

This week marks the third installment of my “Year in Review” series. So we know Van can count to three. Last week I reviewed how I helped improve public safety in 2011. I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride..."  In this edition, I will continue to recap the busy legislative year we had in 2011 by reviewing what we did to improve education in Wisconsin last year. Saltines will help control the queasy feelings you may suddenly experience. When I became a State Senator I wanted to make sure that all our children receive a quality education. I am happy to say that as a Legislature we were able to balance Wisconsin’s budget, as well as improve the quality of education in our state last year. Here is a look back at what we accomplished in 2011, and what we can look forward to in 2012. I know what you are saying..."Siren you let three whole ridiculous sentences go by without comment." Yes, here's why...Van has built you a little sandwich using three statements that are meant to be read as one whole thought. Read it again. There's a lot packed in there.
Let's break it down: 1. I like schools. 2. We balanced the budget and improved education. 3. This is what we did. 
If you can accept that Van appreciates education as true, it makes the next sentence (which is a total lie) SO much easier to swallow. It's like a turd sandwich with some tasty bread on the outside - but beware there's shit inside!

Without a quality education, you cannot have a quality workforce.
True. Slice of bread. That is why as a state, we invest almost $13 billion dollars, or 44% of the entire state budget, in educating Wisconsin students. Turd - a totally bullshit statement - compared to previous budgets they spent much less. As you may expect, this is the biggest expenditure in the state budget. Bread.
See how he (or his staff) does that? Shit sandwich. 

As you know, last year we inherited a $3.6 billion budget deficit from the Doyle Administration, which required cuts in almost every state spending area, including the largest spending area which is education. Change of tactics. Budget deficit is true. Their "required cuts" is very debatable point. This resulted in school aids being reduced statewide, including aid to Racine area schools. The largest education budget cut in the history of Wisconsin. This is the reason the Act 10 collective bargaining reforms were so important. Weasel. Teachers had agreed to higher compensation contributions all along - they objected to crushing their right to bargain. Two completely different issues Van lumps into one. Collective bargaining had no impact on the budget - something Walker admitted to before Congress, remember? For example, the contract that Racine teachers signed with Unified Schools, based on Act 10 reforms, saved the district between $17-$19 million. Proving that teachers were in fact willing to pay more - RUSD teachers actually agreed to a higher level of contribution than Act 10 required - before Act 10 was passed. These savings were in excess of the $13 million in General School Aid reductions received by Unified.  Van is taking credit for something Racine teachers did. Dick. In spite of the teachers good will, Racine gets left with a $7 million budget shortfall and $25 million less in funding.

Throughout the budget process I was in near-daily contact with local school officials, determining the best use of our scarce tax dollars. Because they were in my office and refused to leave. It was clear from my conversations with Unified that their top priority was maintaining Unified’s charter school funding, which had been scheduled to be cut. Right, that was the only thing they were concerned about. Racine is the only school district in the state that receives this funding, which made this a difficult sell in the Legislature. Harder to sell to Racine residents who have to swallow Vos's school voucher wet-dream. That is why I worked so hard with Governor Walker, Representative Vos and others to successfully restore $1.75 million of this funding to Racine Unified. Okay this is a good one. Tony Evers requested the restoration of Charter School Funds in the DPW alternative budget - not Van. Joint Finance gave Racine $1 million for 2011-2012, $750,00 for 2012 - 2013 and then it DISAPPEARS COMPLETELY in 2013-2014. Van the Savior.   

Another issue that has garnered a lot of attention is the introduction of school choice to Racine.Which we passed during the night with no hearings and no public input. Throughout my campaign for Senate in 2010, I publicly supported adding school choice as an option for Racine parents. Which is why I was the recipient of the most amount of campaign cash in the state from the Walton (Wal-Mart) family - the biggest donors to pro-voucher programs in the country. Cha-ching!  Despite the hyperbole to the contrary, Racine School Choice actually costs less in property taxes per pupil to educate a child than a student of Racine Unified ($2,474 vs. $3,527). The Fiscal Bureau estimates the Milwaukee/Racine voucher programs will result in a $17 million net spending hike over the next two years...sorta makes that per pupil rate for sub-par teachers kinda look like chump change. However, I was very concerned that the addition of school choice could result in a mass exodus from Racine Unified. It will.
That is why I insisted on a cap on the number of students for the program for the next couple of years. This school year, 250 spots are available for Racine School choice, and only 500 spots will be available next school year. The following year there is no cap at all...funny he left that out. This phase-in will help level out the impact on Unified’s budget. A $25 million dollar funding cut - really Van?  Enrollment is limited to those parents who earn up to 300% of the federal poverty level, which is the same threshold as BadgerCare for kids. Like the enrollment cap, the income cap also goes up over the next three years. In the third year a family making $70k will qualify for a voucher - three times the level of poverty. I’m pleased to say this program is off to a roaring start, and there were over 400 applicants for the 250 available spots this school year. Racine's new private high school - hasn't paid their staff for months and their building is being foreclosed - a roaring start for sure. That's the kind of solid learning institution we should be funneling public money.

2012 promises to bring exciting things for education as well. Exciting is one way to put it. Across the state staff cuts are double the last two years combined and will only increase - like class sizes will. One example, which I’ve written previously about, is my technical education high school diploma legislation that I authored with Rep. Mark Radcliffe (D-Black River Falls). The bill, Senate Bill 335, allows school districts to partner with local business groups to offer a “Tech Ed” high school diploma in a skilled trade, such as welding. SB 335 received a unanimous 7-0 vote in committee last week, and I am hopeful for action before the full Senate as soon as next week. First, Van's bill does not have to be accepted or implemented by any school district in the state. It's a ceremonial bill designed to make him look like he hasn't fucked over RUSD as he makes his exit out to the county. 
Second, vocational diploma's are not new and they have never worked. There is not one study over the last 50 years which has proven that vocational diplomas prevent school drop outs. What they do is create 2nd class diplomas which are frowned on by colleges as well as employers. A vocational diploma says "bad student" louder than anything one could put on a job or college application. 
If Van actually DID want to do something about helping people pursue a skilled trade - he would have fought to stop the 33% cut in funding Gateway Technical College had to eat. I also look forward to reviewing Governor Walker’s education reform legislation, targeting comprehension, educator reform, and school accountability. Here comes more means testing and educator vilification so they can give public money to jesus freaks.
To create jobs, we not only need well-educated students, but students that are prepared for college or a career. Bread. We’ve made progress on this in 2011, but there is definitely more work to be done. Turd. As I always have, I look forward to continuing to work with everyone, Democrats and Republicans, to get this done in 2012. Bread.
How was your sandwich? Have a saltine.