‘Education problem is too many ‘experts”, headlines Mel Zimmerman’s Opinion Letter, as he belittles Mitt Romney as a ‘fixer’ of what went wrong with public education (The Wichita Eagle, June 11, 2012). I didn’t realize the ‘experts’ are those with 30 years in the classrooms and can recite how the teacher’s union handle their fuels.
Mitt Romney is a former governor, a very successful businessman, and his expertise comes out of wisdom, knowing what’s wrong as the first step to fixing anything that doesn’t work. But a dozen or so of governors are already on the way to fixing education which the teacher’s unions won’t like. From a Kimberley Strassel ‘Potomac Watch’ Opinion of the Wall Street Journal, she names the states, and ‘more have passed or are working on reforms that tackle collective bargaining, tenure, merit pay, school choice, and the use of more efficient technologies.’
‘Probably unknown outside of Wisconsin, Governor Walker, who soundly stomped the unions in a recall election, was busy with reform. The Walker breakthrough was to integrate education into the broader fiscal and structural dispute,’ Strassel wrote. ‘ Mr. Walker, by undoing the bigger state infrastructure that locked in inefficiencies has freed up additional funds to flow into the classroom, all without asking for more from taxpayers.’ Collective bargaining was limited, competitive bidding on health insurance, and individual contributions to health and retirement policies, meant savings in the hundred of millions of dollars. A handful of school districts layed off 40% of the states’ teachers who educated only 12.8% of Wisconsin kids.
Wake Up Kansas! And don’t overlook fixing 33% drop-out rates.