Hoping to Examine– Looking at the Wisconsin Idea Under Attack

Thanks to Wisconsin WARF for the image.  Find at http://www.warf.org/about-us/wisconsin-idea/wisconsin-idea.cmsx
Thanks to Wisconsin WARF for the image. Find at http://www.warf.org/about-us/wisconsin-idea/wisconsin-idea.cmsx

Here is the plan– a few posts looking on what is going on in the state of Wisconsin, particularly regarding education but not limited to education.

Recognizing gaps is essential right now.  There is a significant achievement gap between white and minority students in schools right now, and Wisconsin’s and the schools I have taught in are the worst.  While a lot of that gap can tracked to unconscious bias and obstacles present in education, that gap requires a look at economic opportunity across society.

There is also an economic gap in America, phrased as the 1% and 99%, and the income inequality is growing.

This is the time for progressivism to resurge– which, if you take Wikipedia’s definition, means “advancement in science, technology, economic development, and social organization” which ar “vital to improve the human condition.”

This is captured in the Wisconsin Idea, the idea that education, and specifically the University of Wisconsin system, could improve the daily lives of each and every citizen through research and idea disbursement.  The ideals of the Wisconsin Idea included limiting monopolies and predatory wealth, maintaining labor rights, and working to improve the legislative process.

Most famously exemplified under Governor and then Senator Robert LaFollette and put in wide practice by University of Wisconsin President Charles Van Hise, the Wisconsin Idea is part of Wisconsin heritage embodying many Wisconsinites’ values, including my own.

The Wisconsin Idea, and thus the values, are indeed under attack.

As stated in the New York Times, Walker revised the state budget wording surrounding the Wisconsin Idea: “The initial draft of Mr. Walker’s budget bill also proposed to rewrite the university’s 110-year-old mission statement, known as the Wisconsin Idea, deleting ‘the search for truth’ and replacing it with language about meeting ‘the state’s work-force needs.’”

This blog will look at a few things–

The attack of the UW

The continued attack on public schools

The attack on research

The attack on legislative process

 

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