Saturday, December 20, 2014

Legislative Accountability

From Busted Pencils Blog, make sure and bookmark it!

Dear Senator Vos,
I just finished reading your interview in the Journal Times. There is a lot to comment on but let me just focus where my expertise allows me some ability. I know this concept might be hard for you to understand but I typically try to only offer commentary on the things I actually know about and have a significant experiential base to help make my remarks relevant and maybe even useful.
For example, I will not comment on “right to work for less” legislation—not my expertise. However, I do think that creating an atmosphere that is hostile towards the working people of the state—labor—might be short sighted considering that employment and wages in “right to work for less” states seems to be no better than in states that allow workers and employers the freedom to bargain without government interference. Just a feeling I have.
But now let’s talk about your intense desire to dismantle the education system of the state of Wisconsin.
WHY, WHY, WHY would you even be thinking about implementing “accountability?” Accountability has a 30-year record of failing children, parents, teachers, and communities. And the disaster of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top over the last 14 years has literally denied a generation of children access to their fundamental right of a powerful and critical education! The only beneficiaries of “accountability” have been you and your friends in the legislature and the companies that have made millions on the sale of tests and data systems to schools. Schools that have simultaneously been drained of money that could have gone towards the only things proven by research to help create an atmosphere in which real learning can occur—health care, basic nutrition, and access to books.
This leads me to ask again, why? Why engage in behavior that actually damages children, families, and communities? Is the money being offered by lobbyists really worth purposely harming Wisconsin’s kids, families and communities? If you and your colleagues in the legislature really want to help make sure Wisconsin is delivering on its promise to the children of the state, why not simply start by asking for help from people that actually know what they’re talking about. Why not ask a classroom teacher what they need to help educate the children of Wisconsin?
In addition to wanting to disrupt K-12 education, now, according to the article you want to screw up the University of Wisconsin system of higher education all because of some silly idea that professors are not working enough.
I have a better idea. Before you start screwing up one of the best systems of higher education in the world all over your perceived issue with faculty workloads, please first implement a transparent system of accountability for you and your legislative colleagues. Provide us with detailed daily workloads—the taxpayers— so we know where and when you are actually working for us. We—the taxpayers— need to be sure that all of you are not “working on administrative and other nonproductive activities.” We—the taxpayers—want efficient legislators. We don’t really have time for you and your colleagues to engage in inefficient legislative practices.
Also, it would be really helpful if you and your colleagues designed a legislative report card. We—the taxpayers—would like to know if you and your colleagues are actually building Wisconsin’s infrastructure, creating life sustaining jobs, and helping to promote a civil society free of racism, segregation and poverty. Right? I mean we are paying you good money. Shouldn’t we—the taxpayers— know if you and your colleagues really are effective civil servants?
Or better yet, shouldn’t we—the taxpayers—know who the failed legislators are? Oh and along with that how about a merit based system of pay for legislators and a transparent system for the removal of failed legislators? We—the taxpayers—really don’t think that you and your colleagues should have a job for life.
Thanks for your time and I eagerly await your draft for a system of political and legislative accountability.
Best wishes for the New Year,
Tim Slekar


  1. The Molotov, the Popcorn Czar, and the Flat Earth Society don't need no stinkin' public education.

  2. Ronald Reagan was quoted back i n the 60's when he was dismantling the free university system in California and attacking public education. I can't find the exact qoute right now but in effect he said, "why should we pay to educate people when they use that education to oppose my policies". In fact it appears that a government committee tasked with understanding unrest in the 1960's came to the conclusion that an educated public was harder to control. Shouldn't be too surprising that the quality of our public school education began to be degraded during the 1970's and continues to be the focus of an orchestrated attack to reduce critical thinking skills. No surprise that walker himself has been quoted saying that he would limit funding for education that doesn't produce economically useful which of course, he means liberal arts. A basic understanding of the conditions that led to the concentration of enlightened intelligence in the 13 colonies and the revolt against the king of England cannot help but lead to the realization that our founding fathers had benefited from one of the most intensive liberal arts educations of any generation before or after. The fact that they were largely self taught, in no way diminishes reality that a strong liberal arts background enables the highest level of critical thinking...and it's twin...rebellion against those who would be our oppressors.