By Nijesh Upreti
The Wisconsin gubernatorial campaign is under way. On one side of table, Republican Governor Scott Walker sits clothed in confidence. On the other side, Democrat Mary Burke positions herself as a competitive alternative. Both candidates are clearly determined to lead Wisconsin.
For three years now, the state of education in Wisconsin has been compromised by the resignation of experienced teachers and the arrival of an inexperienced workforce. The celebrated Wisconsin Act 10 of 2011, championed by Walker, is not in favor of low-earning teachers as it leaves them struggling to keep up their standard of living. Also, with the dissolution of unions, the teachers are less engaged since there no longer exists that platform for them to voice their opinions on education policy.
While Walker has failed to create even half of his promised private sector jobs, he has something to boast about when he says he put the money from big government interests and union bosses into the hands of taxpayers.
Similarly, while Burke has data to hold against Walker that clearly shows the 4,300 jobs lost in August in Wisconsin, she has to do some serious homework to deny the accusations of plagiarism from Walker regarding her job plans. According to the Washington Times, of the 50 percent of people who had heard about Burke’s alleged plagiarism, 18 percent said that it has affected their vote.
However, Burke has strong hands over her thanks to her support of Obamacare. Just a little while ago, on Wednesday, Sept. 29, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke on behalf of Burke at a campaign rally, which is certainly going make up for those lost votes. Also, Burke‘s speech last month at a women’s leadership forum was commendable enough to be praised by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Walker has lots to defend from Burke, from his record as governor to his support of a slew of measures opposed by abortion rights groups. Those groups specifically detested the law that requires ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. On the other hand, Walker does have a comparative benefit with the laws passed during his governance in support of accused women and survivors of domestic violence.
If Burke can win over enough voters, she will be the first female governor in the State of Wisconsin. But the gender ratio is definitely going to be a problem. There exists a huge gender divide, with Walker leading with twice as many men and Burke enjoying a 14-point advantage among female voters.
For the most part, I think it is wrong to jeopardize Wisconsin’s education system with laws that lead to the resignation of experienced teachers. For me, issues related to education are grave compared to others; of course, this does not hold true for everyone. As an educationist, I would vote for Burke—despite allegations of plagiarism—as it is about the matter of the quality of education in Wisconsin.