Scott Walker Stresses Importance Of Education Days After Cutting Education Funding By $250 Million

Casey Quinlan Education Reporter, Think Progress

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) went on Fox & Friends Thursday to discuss his entry into the 2016 presidential race. But the governor who recently earned negative headlines for cutting hundreds of millions from the state’s top-tier university system made a curious claim: that the key to boosting wages wasn’t the minimum wage, but education.

Co-host Brian Kilmeade mentioned the Los Angeles City Council’s vote to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Union officials proposed making unions exempt from the change.

“Truth be told is the best way to help people get better wages is not to grow the economy but to help people get a better education and the skills and the qualifications,” Walker said in response.

“Are you saying the minimum wage is not supposed to be a livable wage?” Kilmeade asked.

Walker answered:

The best way to do that is to … I don’t want to fight about the minimum wage. I want to lift everybody up, and the way to do that is through education. You don’t do that through a government dictate, you say let’s get people the education and the skills and the qualifications they need for careers that pay far more than the minimum wage. That should be our ultimate goal. People will be better off if the get the skills they need to be worth more to their employer and they’ll be making more than that $15.

Walker proposed a state budget that would slash $300 million from the University of Wisconsin over two years and cut $127 million from public primary schools. The state budget also continues a freeze on state special education aid for the eighth year in a row and erodes teacher licensing standards by requiring the state department of education to give permits to teachers who haven’t completed a bachelor’s degree, according to The Washington Post.

A U.S. Census Bureau report, issued in May 2014, which covers the fiscal year of 2011-12, shows that Wisconsin’s decrease in per pupil spending from the 2010-11 year was the highest of all 50 states. There was a 3.6 percent rise in per pupil spending in 2010-11, a 2.6 percent rise in 2009-10 and 3.6 percent rise in 2008-09 before Walker was sworn in as governor.


This has been reposted from Think Progress.

Casey Quinlan is an education reporter for ThinkProgress. Previously, she was an editor for U.S. News and World Report. She has covered investing, education crime, LGBT issues, and politics for publications such as the NY Daily News, The Crime Report, The Legislative Gazette, Autostraddle, City Limits, The Atlantic and The Toast.