Look out – Jim Doyle is irate.
Word came down today that Wisconsin was passed over for $254 million in federal “Race to the Top” funds, for which Wisconsin had applied in January of this year. You may recall that in order to qualify for the funds, Wisconsin had to change their law that specifically stated that student test scores couldn’t be used in determining teacher compensation levels. Early in 2009, President Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, criticized states that shielded teachers from their students’ test scores, and threatened to withhold TOP funds from states that continued the practice.
Of course, when the federal government is handing out “free money,” the state legislature looks at them like my dog looks at me while I’m eating popcorn. Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature scrambled to put together a bill that did as little as possible to make any real change, then rushed it through both houses just under the deadline to apply for federal money. (Their bill made connecting teachers with student test scores a permissible subject of bargaining – so it could happen, but only if the teachers’ union agreed to it. I’m sure the feds were like “wow – Wisconsin just cobbled together the most tepid bill possible in a naked attempt to get their hands on our money – they mean business!)
In the mean time, Governor Doyle called for a bill mandating mayoral control of Milwaukee Public Schools. And he wanted that bill so badly, that the subject barely crossed his lips for the next eight months. (Chances are, the maids at the governor’s mansion will find the original copy of the bill in one of Doyle’s couch cushions.)
Of course, in the first seven years of Doyle’s administration, there was virtually no attempt to improve schools through enhanced accountability measures. MPS slugged along, while more and more children dropped out. But suddenly, like a dancer at a strip club, Jim Doyle is willing to strap on the high heels and take to the pole when President Obama shows up and throws dollar bills at him.
What’s most amusing, however, is that Doyle seems to want to blame everyone else for his predicament:
“The train is leaving the station. But because the Milwaukee School Board continues to cling to the status quo – and because the State Legislature has so far failed to make real reforms – Wisconsin is not on that train,” Governor Doyle said. “Today’s announcement should be a wake up call to many. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has made it clear. The federal government will provide significant resources to states that are serious about reform. Milwaukee needs clear, consistent, accountable leadership focused on reform.”
Anyone want to guess where “Jim Doyle – Champion of Accountability” was in 2003?
Oh yeah – he was busy harassing private choice schools – trying to make them more closely resemble the public schools that he now claims are so unaccountable.