Saturday, January 28, 2012

The real story abut Vos/ Ellis conversation

If you haven't seen the youtube that Politiscoop originally unearthed with Rep. Robin Vos along with Sens. Mike Ellis, Sheila Harsdorf and Glenn Grothmann hanging out at Inn on the Park, well, here it is! Ellis does most of the talking, and his Fitzgerald rips are early on, while the "Green Bay Preble is a sewer" talk comes near the end.

A couple of quick notes that aren't being hit hard enough from this story. 1. When they get around to talking about the voucher bill and the plans to make Green Bay eligible for them, notice that Ellis and the others say that vouchers need to be contained to high-poverty areas (this is why Ellis wants to only have the voucher schools be in the Preble district, because it "has all the poor people" vs. the other GB schools). So the legislators admit that poverty is a huge factor in low school performance. It's not the teachers, not the union situation, not the kids. IT IS POVERTY that is the source of this problem. But God forbid the GOP ever do anything to deal with poverty, in fact, these same legislators complain about the cost of programs such as Badger Care, technical colleges and mass transit that help to reduce the chances of people going into poverty, and reducing the chances of poverty-stricken people to get access to jobs that reduce the chances of them coming out of poverty. They'd much rather get big money from Scooter Jensen and the voucher lobby and send kids (and the state money that follows) to the operators of those schools instead of doing something that might be effective and reduce the "problem' that leads to voucher schools being discussed in the first place. 2. Vos's comment about "$200 million in venture capital" for voucher schools is interesting, because if these guys have $200 million to throw around, what's the need to use taxpayer dollars for private schools? (Answer: because this isn't about saving money or better outcomes, it's about sending taxpayer money to campaign contributors with no accountability for what happens to those dollars). I'll also remind you that Vos was the guy who took $147 million away from the state's general fund in the most recent budget (which funds public schools, among other programs) and sent it off to the Transportation Fund, to reward his buddies in the Road Builders' lobby. And Vos is the same guy who complains that the state can't follow the Obama Administration's order to raise the Family Care caps because he claims the state doesn't have extra money to pay for it. Well Robin, if you stopped paying off your campaign contributors with taxpayer dollars, I think we'd have plenty of money to solve these problems, and with much more efficient results than the waste you promote.

So this video is another excellent example of GOP complicity and cynicism, where they claim to be stewards of the taxpayer dollar and people concerned over less-than-ideal outcomes in education. But the reality is that the GOP knows the real problems are poverty and inequality of opportunity, but taking the steps to solve the problems wouldn't get them paid, and therefore, they want nothing to do with coming up with a real solution.

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