Tooljob report: the more Walker's story changes, the more it stays the same

Scott Walker, making campaign promises: 250,000 jobs "is my floor, not my ceiling."

First, Scott Walker said he'd create 250,000 jobs.  And provide the "tools" schools and public workers needed in the form of helpful, unprecedented, cuts and reversal of over 100 years of progress in securing workers' rights to fair labor practices and a voice in the workplace.

Then, he was elected governor and accomplished the following:

Then, on Monday, he said he never really meant it about the 250, 000 jobs and that "it's really not about jobs, it's about real people." He also said that it's not his fault about the jobs.  He blames the unrest in Syria. And if Obama can't fix that.  Well, "it will inevitably have an impact."

Then, today, he said it was about the jobs, and he's still going to create 250,000 of them.  And then did this weird purge to his website.

Walker's pretty good at promising tools and jobs.  But he's really, really, really, not doing very well at actually creating jobs. Or helping people who don't have them (because of him). But he's doing great at stifling  dissent, and cronyism, if you're into that sort of thing

Update 8/28/13 7:30pm: 
It just keeps getting better.  I mean worse.  This just in from James Rowen at The Political Environment:  From the new WJFW report "Walker reaffirms 250,000 job campaign promise," which apparently cancels out the Monday story, "Walker backs off campaign jobs pledge at Merrill stop."

"Walker's press secretary, Tom Evenson, called Newswatch 12 on Tuesday, and asked if we could be persuaded to take Monday's story off our website."
I SAID I'll create 250,000 jobs.  Just kidding, it was never about the jobs.  No, seriously.  I'm going to create 250,000 jobs.  But don't quote me on that.  And if you already quoted me on that, would you mind just, um, deleting it?

Update #2 8/29/13 11:42am: 
In apparent preparation for presidential campaign flip-floppery, Walker also told The Business Journal on the same day his staff tried to purge the "it's not about jobs or numbers" episode from the public record, that his 250,000 promise was "an aggressive goal" (you know how he loves aggression) that he "didn't regret:" 
“What we’re trying to stay focused on is not hitting a magic number as much as making sure everything we did — that our overwhelming focus of this administration — is how do we help the people of the state get more jobs?” Walker said.
Which reminds me...  Remember that "Back to Work" special jobs session he called in 2011 so that they could pass anti-worker legislation?  The one that didn't produce a single jobs bill?  Yeah.  I remember that, too.
Oh, and he blames Obama, the Affordable Care Act, and the recall for creating fewer than 85,000 jobs so far.  From the article: "Walker blames health care reform, even as the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says Medicaid expansion would have added 10,000 jobs," Democratic spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff." 

Pass the popcorn.

MLK and the March toward Justice: We share The Dream. Do we share the will?

On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the great struggle of Dr. King’s life, the War on Poverty, is still a dream.  Vauhini Vara reminds us in "Race and Poverty 50 Years after the March"
"In 2011, the median income for black households was about fifty-nine per cent of the median income for white households, up slightly from fifty-five per cent in 1967."
As the world is ablur with powerful sentimental evocations of the impact of the Dream, I'm reminded of these lines from Dr. King's last major speech, "Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution," presented on March 31, 1968 at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. just a few days before he was assassinated in Memphis on April 4.  In this speech, he talked about racial prejudice, poverty, and "the myth of time:" 
"It [the myth of time] is the notion that only time can solve the problem of racial injustice. And there are those who often sincerely say to the Negro and his allies in the white community, "Why don’t you slow up? Stop pushing things so fast. Only time can solve the problem. And if you will just be nice and patient and continue to pray, in a hundred or two hundred years the problem will work itself out."
There is an answer to that myth. It is that time is neutral. It can be used wither constructively or destructively. And I am sorry to say this morning that I am absolutely convinced that the forces of ill will in our nation, the extreme rightists of our nation—the people on the wrong side—have used time much more effectively than the forces of goodwill. And it may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time."

Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always ripe to do right.
 We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that it signed years ago. And we are coming to engage in dramatic nonviolent action, to call attention to the gulf between promise and fulfillment; to make the invisible visible.
Why do we do it this way? We do it this way because it is our experience that the nation doesn’t move around questions of genuine equality for the poor and for black people until it is confronted massively, dramatically in terms of direct action.
And while 50 years have shown that our efforts have not been tireless, or our work persistent enough, our action direct enough, to enact the change needed to fulfil the dream, we are still inspired by the hope Dr. King provides: "the time is always ripe to do right."
The question is, will we do it?  Dr. King goes on in his speech to emphasize the link between racial prejudice and social injustice, locating the roots of poverty in our refusal to find solutions even though we know they exist:
And this can happen to America, the richest nation in the world - and nothing’s wrong with that - this is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. The question is whether America will do it. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.
50 years after Dr. King's dream became an integral part of the national consciousness, and 45 years after his death, after his call that we "remain awake through the great revolution," we find we have dozed off, and find ourselves still asking the same question.

All of us share the dream, or at least all of us with open hearts and moral compasses. But how many of us share the will?

"I can hear the God of history saying:
'That was not enough!'"

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his last major speech:
"Remaining Awake through the Great Revolution", March 31, 1968 

 "We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt."
50 years ago today: August 28, 1963
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most famous speech, "I Have a Dream,"
delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

WHEREAS WisGOP resolves to dismantle public education

As an education advocate, when I talk about the need for diligence in fighting for quality public education, I sometimes meet resistance from other parents and even educators, who find some of the concerns I raise to be so extreme-sounding, so irrational and unreasonable, that they're tempted to dismiss them as being overblown and impossible.  "No one would ever really want to do that to public schools," they say.  "That could never happen here.  People support public education here."

But - as much as I love hyperbole  (I'm an English teacher and a writer. What can I say?), I'm not the kind of person who takes liberties with facts, and I'm certainly not the kind of person who would accuse anyone of trying to undermine the cornerstone of democracy, public education, if it weren't entirely, documentably, true.  And even though none of us really want to believe it, I don't think anything could make how true it is more clear than going directly to the horse's mouth.

The passage below is copied directly from the 2013 Wisconsin Republican Party State Convention Resolutions as Adopted.  The convention was held on May 4, 2013 in Wausau, where "Republican leaders including Governor Scott Walker, Congressman Paul Ryan, and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus spoke to an excited crowd ready to take our message and Party to the next level."  If you want to join the 44 people (give or take, since at least 5 of them are me) who cared what Priebus had to say in his Walkerphilic keynote begging for more members and wondering why the GOP hasn't won a decisive presidential victory in over 20 years (see below for why), click here.  Or just read on to see what they formalized in terms of an education agenda.
The "education" part of the WisGOP message is pasted below.  The entire thing is dripping with thinly veiled contempt for, and unfounded assumptions about the bias within, public education. I started to bold the sections that you might find most shocking or outrageous, but within minutes, pretty much the whole thing was bolded, so I'll just give you a chance to wrap your mind around the highlights before you read on:
  • They want to eliminate 4K, which research shows is one of the leading factors in graduation rates, retention and test scores for all students, but especially low income students.
  • They want to eliminate funding for mental health screening (which potentially reduces violence in schools and helps troubled kids get the help they need), but create funding to put armed staff in public schools, a potentially tragic idea against which mental health professionals strongly warn.
  • They want to eliminate minimum certification requirements to create a system so lax that teachers need neither degrees in education nor student teaching experience to enter a classroom, a move that feeds on increased funding to groups like Teach for America that undermine qualified teaching staff by putting inexperienced temps into the classrooms that most need experienced instructors for short-term assignments. This move also has a disproportionally negative impact on low-income students and those with disabilities.
  • They want to amp up public funds to private school vouchers AND increase the already massive tax break for private school tuition regardless of a family's financial need.  Maybe you didn't catch that last part.  It was this: REGARDLESS OF A FAMILY'S FINANCIAL NEED.  Pardon the shouting, but I just want to make sure this is crystal clear: rich families in Wisconsin will now get both tax breaks AND vouchers, a supreme double-dip government handout, an unconscionable subsidy for the wealthy at the expense of taxpayers and public schools.
  • They not only oppose adopting Common Core State Standards (or any standards for public education), but they actually endorse the ABOLISHMENT of the U.S. Dept. of Education.  That's right.  In the same breath as claiming that the taxpayer should fund the education of wealthy, and that they support de-funding virtually every aspect of public education that helps level the playing ground for low-income students, they've revived the most laughable, least reasonable, of the anti-government-school Tea Party mantras:  "we endorse that the U.S. Department of Education be abolished."  

What more do you need to know to accept that this is not a false alarm?  The war on public education is going on now, in full public view, and we ignore it at our peril.  This is not the rambling of the radical fringe.  This is the official resolution of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. The party responsible, under the well-bought "leadership" of Scott "Fundraising IS Governing" Walker, for the largest cuts to public education funding ever.  The party that tried to run a candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction whose platform was basically "get guns in schools and cut funding to everything else." A party that has been wholly bought and paid for by those with a vested interest in dismantling public education.
Read on for the full monty, and then think hard about whether or not this is really your definition of "forward":   
2013 Wisconsin Republican Party Education Resolution:
WHEREAS, we believe in limited government, individual freedom and personal responsibility; and
WHEREAS, parents have the right to spend their money on the school or method of schooling they deem appropriate for their children; and
WHEREAS, virtual schools have come under attack by the leadership of the state teacher’s union; and
WHEREAS, parents have the fundamental right and responsibility to educate their children and provide for their moral guidance; and
WHEREAS, parents should have as much choice as possible in selecting the right school for their children; and
WHEREAS, vigorous competition from independent schools will stimulate government schools to strive for and achieve excellence; now,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Party of Wisconsin, in convention assembled:
  • Urges that parents of school-age children be given vouchers or tax credits designed to give all parents equal freedom of choice in education without regard to their financial means; and
  • Urges that religiously oriented schools not be discriminated against for exercising their freedom of religion; and
  • Strongly urges that the right to home school shall not be abridged; and
  • Urges our state legislators and local school boards to push for curriculum changes that place greater emphasis on the basics, and eliminate all programs whose objectives are social engineering or advocacy of special interests; and
  • Calls for the state legislature to eliminate funding of 4-year-old kindergarten; and
  • Urges Congress to pass legislation that prohibits schools from forcing or coercing parents to put their children on drugs and eliminates all funding for government-mandated mental health screening of all children; and
  • Supports academic efforts that ensure that the presentation of our history and founding Judeo-Christian principles in our educational institutions, including those of higher learning, is objective, truthful and complete; and
  • Urges legislation adopting alternative standards for teacher licensing that do not require a degree in education or student-teaching experience; and
  • Urges that if political issues are discussed, that multiple opinions be presented to represent a more fair discussion and to allow for debate; and
  • Opposes the adoption and implementation of Common Core Standards as well as the International Baccalaureate Curriculum in the Wisconsin school system; and
  • Supports allowing properly trained adult staff to be armed in public schools.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we support legislation to make it easier to fire unsatisfactory teachers in the public schools and to encourage performance pay for the best teachers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we support local school districts’ decisions to set up virtual schools and parents right to participate in their children’s education and to choose virtual schools for their children’s education; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge libraries in all publicly-funded schools have a balance of reading materials that reflect conservative values as well as liberal values; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we endorse that the U. S. Department of Education should be abolished and all federal mandates and funding (such as Common Core Curriculum), leaving education decision making at the state, local or personal level; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we support school districts having the right to choose from multiple vendors for their statewide school information system (SSIS) on the grounds that multiple vendors will lower costs to the taxpayers and promote free market principles.