Friday, January 31, 2020

Scott Walker/GOP legacy shows up in declining ACT scores in Math, Science, and English.

Have we forgotten all those past predictions warning what would happen if school funding got slashed, if teachers were vilified, and Act 10 past? 

Yes, apparently.

Today Milwaukee Journal Sentinel never mentioned any of the above, so Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald, and Robin Vos once again got away with attacking education like all good Republicans always do and causing the decline we're seeing today. We said it would take a while for this to happen, and now it is happening, despite having a great public school system and teacher workforce in Wisconsin:

According to a new analysis released Friday by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum ... the percentage of students who met that benchmark has declined in every subject but one since the state began requiring the 2014-'15 school year.
a. about 48.7% of students last year were deemed college-ready in English, down from 54% in the 2014-'15 school year. 

b. math dropped from 36.2% to 29.2%

c. science from 31.7% to 31%, after peaking three years earlier.

d. reading (went up) slightly from 34.4% to 35.8%.

The drop for all students in every subject is smaller, so there is time to rebuild what Gov. Scott Walker blew up, but consider these few points written up by former Sen. Kathleen Vinehout back in May, 2018:
1. A 2017 analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows that a large number of teachers have left the teaching profession (and didn't teach the following year) in Wisconsin after the enactment of Act 10 ... in the 2010-11 school year teachers aged 55 and over (who were) retiring jumped from about 15 percent in the 2009-10 school year to over 30 percent.

2. After Act 10, the overall percentage of teachers leaving the profession rose from 6.4 percent in the 2009-10 school year to 10.5 percent in 2010-11, with exit rates remaining higher than before with 8.8 percent leaving in 2015-16.

3. And according to a Journal Sentinel special report, 2015 saw the smallest group of juniors and seniors enrolled in teaching programs in over two decades.

4. And according to a Journal Sentinel special report, 2015 saw the smallest group of juniors and seniors enrolled in teaching programs in over two decades. (Note: enrollment was down nationwide, but not like in Wisconsin.)

5. After Act 10, the average experience level of teachers in Wisconsin also decreased. Teachers with less than five years of experience increased from 19.6 percent in 2010-11 to 24.1 percent in 2015-16.

6. According to a 2017 report by the Wisconsin Budget Project, Wisconsin school districts struggle to fill vacancies, especially in math, science and technology. The report notes that one reason for teacher shortages is high turnover.

7. The Journal Sentinel examined spending and teacher data for 424 districts and found that 75 percent of districts were losing their teachers more often after Act 10 because a competitor offered better working conditions and compensation.

8. That turnover has been accompanied by lower, not higher, teacher salaries. According to the Center for American Progress, after Act 10, “year-over-year pay cuts were found across urban and rural counties” ranging from 2 to 3.4 percent when adjusted for inflation ... teachers with experience between five and 15 years have seen their annual salaries fall by an average of $4,273.
While right-wing groups like the McIver Institute love to claim huge taxpayer savings, much of that could have been done in cooperation with public education. Wait, I think they used to call it, negotiation. It's been a while since we've used that word around here.

They think saving taxpayers money is better than educating the next generation (they also think too many kids got to college now). McIver never brings up the majority of school districts where it's voters passed massive funding referendums, the same as if taxes were never cut in the first place. If saving taxpayer money on schools was so important...?

But they do hate public opposition and that messy thing in the speech, like during the Act 10 protests. NOTE: A number of myths below: no one needed protesters bused into the state, protesters never "created their own self contained society and government," teachers did protest for their kids AND themselves, and public support for occupiers never eroded. Wishful thinking by McIver Institute "fellows," but then, conservatives just don't go out and protest. Who needs to when they have big money on their side buying influence. For a good laugh...:
Wisconsin liberals were furious with Walker’s attempt to curtail union power, and they showed up in droves – and in buses from out of state – to register their disapproval. Protesters flooded the Capitol.

More than a week into the riots over Act 10, protesters still hadn’t left. In fact, they had set up camp inside the state Capitol and formed their own self-contained society and government. Public education was crippled and schools shut down as teachers skipped class and threatened to go on strike at the protests’ peak. Teachers admitted on camera that they were doing it for themselves at the expense of their students. As more people began to see what was really going on at the Capitol, public support for the occupiers eroded.

Space Force uniform being developed...

Monday, January 27, 2020

Elections Commission right-wingers and Judge Malloy don't need the law to purge voter rolls, just blind ideology!

Upfront with Adrienne Pedersen nailed it again, when tough questioning and follow-ups finally gave Wisconsinites a very clear picture of just how bad Republicans Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. Robin Vos politicized the elections commission.

The state went from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board to an elections commission guided, and poisoned, by right wing politics. Upfront featured...
Wisconsin Elections Commissioners Ann Jacobs and Bob Spindell debate a case that could force thousands off state voter rolls.
Point 1: Republican appointees are usually partisan right wing know-it-alls and bullies, like business man and long time commissioner Bob Spindell, who believes his opinion is fact.

Point 2: Democrats are always required to have legal experts, scientists and other nonpartisan researchers who can't mindlessly make things up to prove their case. Case in point; Democratic commissioner Ann Jacobs is an attorney, who has to back up every one of her statements with the law.

In the first clip, Ann Jacobs blows up the whole notion that the upcoming elections is in some way threatened by unpurged voter rolls. (Note, the video of this important debate was already disappearing from Upfront's web page, so I hope preserving it here will inform conservative voters how loose and manipulative many of their Republicans representatives are). :

Attorney Ann Jacobs: "What he is saying is somebody is going to go commit a felony in their own name by voting at an address. That does not get extra votes. That doesn't change the outcome of the presidential election. We are talking about registered voters who legitimately registered to vote, who will stay on the roles, and if they have moved, they will be able to change it. If they have not, they will be able to walk in and vote." 
(From the transcript)
And the business man Bob Spindell's Republican'll love his blunt admission:
MR. SPINDELL: I would like to answer a question ... There is also no evidence that there is no fraud going on. I think having 200,000 extra people on the rolls, which is a Democratic ploy almost everywhere-the Dems like lots of people on the rolls, the Republicans like to have th these cleaned up.  
Here's part 2, that was already removed from Upfront, so I had to record the DVRed segment with my phone. Jacobs reveals how Judge Paul Malloy went well beyond his decision to purge voter rolls, by targeting specific election commissioners for voting the wrong least according to him, setting up a dangerous and unconstitutional precedent:
Judge Malloy’s order, which includes a $250-per-day fine for the three commissioners who voted against the purge...
 Jacobs offered this shocking possibility...
"Let's talk about the idea that a circuit court judge has held commissioners of a state body individually, not the commission, in contempt because they voted the wrong way. And what it would essentially do is allow any circuit court judge across the state to force votes that he or she individually want and do so by threatening penalties against individual commissioners. And I think that's a shocking usurpation of the commissions, commissioners, all sorts of government entities.

More Evidence of Voter Fraud Nonsense: Spindell also added this:
"There is evidence there is fraud. A detective of the Milwaukee Police Department Mike Sandvick did a written study on that years ago."  
A few very odd things about that...
(In 2008) Det. Mike Sandvick was primarily responsible for a police report that recommended voters show photo identification to prevent vote fraud. The 67-page report was released in February 2008, when Flynn was still new on the job. It was labeled as an official police report but was unsigned. Flynn said nobody on his command staff authorized its release or endorsed its policy recommendations. Republicans quickly seized on the report to press their case for requiring photo identification.
But according to the an extensive Brennan Center study:
After the 2004 election, initial media accounts featured front-page allegations of widespread fraud in Wisconsin.[40] On February 26, 2008, the Milwaukee Police Department released a report on that election, with what appears to be a painstaking investigation of the facts, and policy recommendations offered with less care and disavowed by the Milwaukee Police Chief.[41] The department's careful factual investigation primarily revealed administrative mistakes and, occasionally, negligence.[42] It showed that much of what had originally been identified as potential fraud was in fact due to clerical error.[43] It also uncovered several votes by potentially ineligible individuals, including some who were allegedly nonresidents, and some who had allegedly been rendered ineligible due to convictions.[44] The report revealed only one potential vote that might have involved in-person impersonation fraud, with no documentation verifying that the vote in question was actually cast.[45]

Friday, January 24, 2020

Rep. Vos gaslights, says Gov. Evers hasn't tried to save rural Wisconsin and farmers for the last decade!!!

Come November, I want every farmer and rural community in the state to watch their Republican representatives sit on their hands when Gov. Tony Evers presented his plan to save America's Dairyland and fading rural communities. 

For the last 9 years with Scott Walker and Republicans in full control of the state, they did nothing to help farmers and rural voters while farms were disappearing at an alarming rate...NOTHING. Yet Republican Rep. Robin Vos, in a breathtaking moment of gaslighting, said this:
Vos: “Certainly if he (Evers) has finally turned his attention to rural Wisconsin, that basically shows he has ignored that part of the state for most of last year since he’s been elected governor. So if he’s a newfound convert that rural Wisconsin has problems, of course we’re going to listen.”
But Evers reminded voters that his budget, the one Republicans abandoned in order to take credit for many of Evers promises, contained farm help as well:
Evers: "Some of these proposals aren't new, many of them are a form of what I proposed in my budget that were unfortunately taken out." 
Proving Republicans have no intention of working with Evers ever, they refused to even stand up and support help for rural America:

After 9 years of taking their rural voters for granted, they never once even noticed or promised to stop the loss of farms in Wisconsin. The following didn't matter:
1. Wisconsin lost almost 700 dairy farms in 2018, an unprecedented rate of nearly two a day.

2. In 2019, Wisconsin lost 819 dairy farms, leaving 7,292 dairy farms in place. It marked the biggest drop in a single year, and underscored the negative impact of Trump's trade war in a state critical to his re-election bid. The state leads the nation in the number of farm bankruptcies, according to the American Farm Bureau.

3. During just the last decade, about 40% of Wisconsin dairy farms have shut down.

4. Wisconsin's remaining dairy farms, along with milk and cheese plants, contribute about $45 billion to the state. 
Vos is hoping no one is going to remember that he and Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, along with Gov. Scott Walker, were in charge for the last 9 years. Instead, Vos is blaming the new governor for doing nothing...seriously. Oh, and after Gov. Evers calls the special session, Republican will only gavel it in and then leave, doing nothing again...putting it off for another day. From WISN:
Vos: "It's nice that they're trying to play catchup after literally almost a decade of ignoring rural Wisconsin..."

You can bet Republicans will trash any effort Evers puts in front of them, so they can take credit for their own stripped down copy cat version of legislation they never would have come up with themselves. See what I mean...
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Monday afternoon that he will convene a special session Tuesday to introduce bills regarding the state's dairy crisis. The special session bills will be introduced and referred to committee. 

"Farmers are already telling us the governor’s package does more to grow the size of government than actually help our rural areas," Vos said in a written statement. "We’re open to amending the bills or introducing our own proposals in order to do what’s best for rural Wisconsin."
From a previous blog post....

Scott Walker Legacy; he Ignored and Destroyed Dairy Farms: Walker's 8 year focus was to replace our current structure of government with a theoretical conservative system that shockingly ignored solving the one things that put Wisconsin on the map; America's Dairyland. Instead of understanding the problem and leading a reform movement to save our states dairy farms, heck the whole industry, he instinctively thought of mega corporate farmers and worse, producing an oversupply milk. That resulted in low prices for the last 4 years:
In 2012, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced an incentive program to produce, as a state, 30 billion pounds of milk a year by 2020 — a 15 percent increase

Despite record production every year since 2002Walker urged farmers to step it up even more. But...the market had turned and many dairy farmers were having trouble breaking even on their new investments. Some felt duped by the agribusiness system.

The more surplus farmers produce, the lower the price of agricultural commodities for food processors," said Kara O'Connor, government relations director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union.
Who did Walker help most? Guess...

"All of the most powerful players in the industry, except the farmer, benefit from overproduction."
Notice how Walker's program alone brought down the dairy industry in the chart below:

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Trump "bet that Republican voters didn’t really care about free trade or mutual security, or about the environment, much less deficits...let a lot of long-suppressed demons out of the box."

I think the following just about defines the Trump cultist Republicans (yes the entire party now) perfectly. After reading this opinion, I had to see who wrote this, and shocker, the guy is a GOP consultant. No wonder he nailed it:
In Ronald Reagan’s America, being born an American was to win’s life lottery; in Donald Trump’s America, it makes you a victim, a patsy, a chump.

Trump didn’t hijack the GOP and bend it to his will. He did something far easier: He looked at the party, saw its fault lines and then offered himself as a pure distillation of accumulated white grievance and anger. He bet that Republican voters didn’t really care about free trade or mutual security, or about the environment or Europe, much less deficits. He rebranded kindness and compassion as “PC” and elevated division and bigotry as the admirable goals of just being politically incorrect. Trump didn’t make Americans more racist; he just normalized the resentments that were simmering in many households. In short, he let a lot of long-suppressed demons out of the box.