Scott Walker Leads GOP on Education

, Malcolm A. Kline, 2 Comments

Whatever his merits or demerits, the actual front-runner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination continues to show how Republican candidates, at least on education, can lead on, rather than be overwhelmed by, issues.

Governor Walker waves as he arrives to speak at the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), a front runner in the contest for the Republican nomination for president, made bold reforms of elementary, secondary, and college education a prominent part of his proposed 2015-17 budget,” Heather Kays wrote in School Reform News in the March issue. “The budget, presented on February 3, would remove the cap on the state’s school choice program, eliminate state funding for Smarter Balanced tests tied to Common Core State Standards, and cut $300 million from the University of Wisconsin (UW) over two years in exchange for greater autonomy in the system.” School Reform News is published by The Heartland Institute.

Meanwhile, the March 13, 2015 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education features an article entitled “What Republican Governors Want From Colleges” that focuses on Governor Walker and Louisiana’s Republican Governor Bobby Jindal.

Across the country, another Republican chief executive is attacking a different insidious educational practice. “Kids who cannot read still get promoted to the next grade, a practice that Gov. Susana Martinez says keeps New Mexico mired near the bottom of national education rankings,” Milan Simonich reported in The Daily Times on February 18, 2015. “Martinez on Thursday appeared with legislators from both parties to push for a bill that would end ‘social promotion.’”

“No child should move up unless he or she has mastered the basics, Martinez said. She said 80 percent of the state’s fourth-graders do not read proficiently. This contributes to another alarming statistic a high school dropout rate of 40 percent, Martinez said.”

So, social promotion does not refer to Jeb Bush’s resumé.