Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Last Call For GOP Minority Outreach, Con't

Oklahoma Republicans are leading the way for the rest of the party in Big Tent theory.

The Oklahoma Republican Party compared Americans receiving food stamp benefits to park animals feed by the public in a Facebook post Monday evening. 
In the since-deleted post, the Oklahoma GOP offered a so-called “lesson in irony” by comparing the distribution of food stamps to 46 million Americans to a policy of the National Park Service to discourage the public from feeding animals “because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves” 
Party Chairman Randy Brogdon offered a sort-of apology in another Facebook post today: “I offer my apologies for those who were offended – that was not my intention”: 
This post was supposed to be an analogy that compared two situations illustrating the cycle of government dependency in America, not humans as animals. However I do think that it’s important to have conversations about government welfare programs since our dependency on government is at its highest level ever.

Yep, that explanation (I'm sorry you people aren't so bright and clearly misunderstood us when we compared poor people to zoo animals) will make the perception of Republicans as mean-spirited dog-whistle racist assholes vanish completely by November 2016.

Please, promote Mr. Brogdon to the RNC. Give him the keys to your social media presence, immediately. Put him on TV as much as possible. Give him a white, conical hood to keep cool under those hot lights, too.

That'll help. Trust me.

Hoosier Gonna Teach Your Kids?

Next door in Indiana, Mike Pence's massive cuts to education has had a nasty secondary effect: since Republicans have demonized schoolteachers as greedy, evil union thugs for years now, the Hoosier State can't find enough qualified applicants to fill needed teaching positions.

School districts across Indiana are having trouble finding people to fill open teaching positions as the number of first-time teacher licenses issued by the state has dropped by 63 percent in recent years. 
The Indiana Department of Education reports the state issued 16,578 licenses to first-time teachers, including teachers with licenses in multiple subject areas, in the 2009-2010 school year. That number dropped to 6,174 for the 2013-14 school year, the most recent for which data were available, the Greensburg Daily News reported. 
The dwindling pool of educators is raising alarm in some school districts as they struggle to fill open positions, especially in math, science and foreign languages.

And of course these shortages are going to continue for some time as people don't want to go to college in order to be teachers anymore.  Can you blame them after the way Republicans treat education?

“It has become a real struggle,” Decatur County Community Schools Superintendent Johnny Budd told the Greensburg Daily News. “The pool of applicants is definitely dried up.” 
School leaders say state funding constraints, testing pressures and a blame-the-teachers mentality have steered people away from education as a career. 
Many education programs have seen their enrollments drop in recent years. 
Enrollment in Ball State University’s elementary and kindergarten teacher-preparation programs has fallen 45 percent in the last decade. Other schools are reporting similar declines. 
Denise Collins, associate dean with the College of Education at Indiana State University, said enrollment there has fallen 7 percent, and the number of students completing an education degree has dropped 13 percent.

Demand for qualified teachers is higher than ever, and yet across the country we're seeing school districts in red states slashing salaries, removing tenure protections, and driving teachers into retirement.  Now there aren't enough teachers to fill those teaching jobs.

What did you think was going to happen, red state America?

The Walkering Dead

I'm not sure why GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker bothered to join the GOP 2016 circus this week, because after signing a brutal austerity budget for the Badger State into law over the weekend, he's got zero chance of winning. WaPo's Valerie Strauss:

If anybody was holding out any hope that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker would see even a modicum of reason and refuse to savage public education in his state, they can now let it go. A day before jumping into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Walker on Sunday signed a new state budget that, among other things: 
* slashes $250 million from the University of Wisconsin, one of the country’s great public institutions of higher education, and ensures that most K-12 school districts will get less funding than they did last year; 
* removes from state law tenure protections for University of Wisconsin professors, a move that educators say will seriously harm the school’s ability to retain and attract talented faculty; 
* expands the state’s voucher program that uses public funds to pay for tuition at private schools, including religious schools — even though there is no evidence the program has helped improve student achievement in the past — and creates a new “special needs” voucher law that cuts into protections for special needs students. 
The Associated Press reported that Walker said in a statement that the budget he signs “brings real reform to Wisconsin and allows everyone more opportunity for a brighter future. ” Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, a Democrat, said in a statement that the budget “throws the people of Wisconsin under Governor Walker’s campaign bus.”

Walker's record in Wisconsin has been awful, but he gives really good speeches or something, so that makes him a "Republican front-runner" or something.

And actually, Walker's austerity economics and massive cuts to education is exactly what Republicans want to do to our nation's public colleges and universities and public schools anyway: trash them to the point of breaking and sell off the pieces to for-profit outfits.

Of course he's going to do well in the GOP primaries.

Not so much in the general, I'm thinking.


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