U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) is facing a difficult reelection battle. Johnson is in a battleground state where voters do not trust Donald Trump. In fact, in Wisconsin, voters trust President Obama to pick a Supreme Court Justice over Donald Trump.
So what does Johnson do? He acts as crazy as Donald does.
Johnson denigrated educators by saying they could be replaced by television documentary instructors, then blamed tenured professors for preserving the “higher education cartel.” He got the right wing talking points right in there, didn’t he? Educators are now part of the ‘cartel.’ Suddenly, a Republican is concerned over the price of college tuition and that would be great if it was genuine. Johnson blamed the ‘cartel.’
Degrees aren’t necessary, according to Johnson:
He criticized accreditors and tenured professors for blocking reforms. He said that he favored “certification,” in which people could demonstrate competency or skills in certain areas through testing rather than earning degrees. (The University of Wisconsin is a leader in competency-based education, in which students earn degrees sometimes in ways similar to the path Johnson suggested.)
Johnson feels that we, and our children, can learn from the Internet instead of from those icky professors.
“We’ve got the internet — you have so much information available. Why do you have to keep paying different lecturers to teach the same course?,” he asked. “You get one solid lecturer and put it up online and have everybody available to that knowledge for a whole lot cheaper? But that doesn’t play very well to tenured professors in the higher education cartel,” he said.
“So again, we need disruptive technology for our higher education system,” he continued.
You see how he added that word ‘cartel’ again?
Johnson continued to say:
“One of the examples I always used — if you want to teach the Civil War across the country, are you better off having, I don’t know, tens of thousands of history teachers that kind of know the subject, or would you be better off popping in 14 hours of Ken Burns’s Civil War tape and then have those teachers proctor based on that excellent video production already done? You keep duplicating that over all these different subject areas.”
A statement was issued by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, in response to Johnson’s remarks. In it, Weingarten took aim at Donald Trump and the GOP, too.
“Leave it to someone from a party led by a reality TV star to confuse videotape with the learning experience of a classroom,” she said. “What Ron Johnson doesn’t get is that education happens when teachers can listen to students and engage them to think for themselves — and that can include using Ken Burns’s masterful work.”
“But this is typical for a party with an education agenda as out-of-date as Johnson’s Blockbuster Video card,” she added.
Last month, Johnson didn’t formally endorse Donald but he did say he intends to support him. That sounds like an endorsement to me.
Photo: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty.