cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The phrase “Hope and Change” has become ingrained in our memories since it became the watchword for President Obama’s campaign for the highest office in our land.
I think we are entering the second phase and I’d call it “Hope and Change Revisited”. It is evident especially in Wisconsin given the wholesale change in the power structure of our state’s government.
Among the things that must occur certainly we find job creation at the top of the heap. But, tied to the creation of jobs, is the tax climate in our state. And tied to that is our state’s spending habit. And tied to that is the impact of tax cuts on state shared revenue that finds its way down to the local scene.
I thought, too, as I watched the inauguration program yesterday, about the State Superintendent of Schools and the battles that are likely to be evident in that arena. Governor Walker has already energized the Superintendent by seeking the right to review and approve any and all rulings issued in state government before those are accepted and placed in force. The Superintendent, who is elected, believes that he has the right to make those rules as he sees fit and that he doesn’t need the Governor’s approval. That promises to be an interesting struggle.
As I thought about education, I pondered the elimination of the QEO (qualified economic offer) rule and what that might portend under the new government. There is little doubt in my mind that the manner in which our schools are operated will change over the coming four years, and probably sooner rather than later.
How will teachers' bargaining be affected? Will tenure be affected? Illinois is right now working on significant changes to tenure rules that would tie tenure to student learning. If that legislation were to be enacted in Illinois, teachers could lose tenure or, at the least, would have to show they were capable teachers before be granted tenure; rather than having to serve for a limited time before being granted tenure as is the case in our world today.
I have talked with many teachers and have found that quite a significant number of those were honest in their feelings that their unions protected some teachers who didn’t deserve to be protected. Maybe that will become part of Hope and Change Revisited.
For the time-being, there seems, at least amongst those with whom I interact most, a feeling that there will be good to come from the Walker Administration. I admit there are a few who feel exactly the opposite. I do actually have friends for whom the word ‘conservative’ is not something with which they’d prefer to be branded, contrary to what some of you might believe. And they are good friends, too.