Comment hints note of retaliationAssembly Speaker-elect Robin Vos recently warned the University of Wisconsin-Madison budget might be affected after some classes on Bascom Hill were cancelled the day of President Obama’s pre-election rally on campus.
By: By Matt Pommer, Superior Telegram
Assembly Speaker-elect Robin Vos recently warned the University of Wisconsin-Madison budget might be affected after some classes on Bascom Hill were cancelled the day of President Obama’s pre-election rally on campus.
Vos suggested it might be “tit for tat” when the Republican-dominated Assembly considered the 2013-2015 spending for the Madison campus. Student education was short-changed by the cancellation of classes, he indicated.
Those old enough to remember the tragedy in Dallas or the shooting of President Ronald Reagan in Washington won’t argue with the Secret Service’s decision to close buildings up and down Bascom Hill for security reasons.
Vos’ comment perhaps showed the Republican disappointment with Obama’s re-election victory. The disappointment was acute in Wisconsin because Obama won handily while Republicans were winning the Legislature.
Perhaps the speaker-elect could have been showing Assembly Republicans he knows how to issue partisan threats to those affected by state government.
Right-wing radio personalities, who often criticize education policies, would be pleased.
Ironically, the question of classroom time comes as the university moves, with strong support from Republican Gov. Scott Walker to offer programs to help adults get UW degrees. Much of the learning in this approach will come via the internet and laptop computers. The amount of time in classrooms won’t be an issue as they march toward their college degrees.
Classroom time has been an issue in the past. Bowing to pressure from the tourism industry, the Legislature several decades ago voted to prohibit public schools — including UW System campuses — from starting classes before Sept. 1. Some educators suggested it would affect the scheduling of classes and mean less time in classrooms.
One of the most memorable debates by the Madison campus faculty came on the idea of ending the first semester, final exams and all, before Christmas. One change would mean many classes would be reduced by five minutes.
Status quo proponents suggested that it would erode the education of students.
“Would a Madison campus degree be as important if word got out that classes were shorter?” asked one faculty member.
The emotional debate droned on and on, but the change gathered support after one professor said a shorter period would help the students.
He said it would force faculty members to review their lecture notes, some decades old, and update how they taught. That common sense routed the status quo, and the pre-Christmas semester end was endorsed.
University education has changed since members of the Assembly obtained their higher education. Laptop computers have become key tools in higher education.
Professors provide internet access to much of the required and suggested readings for many of the courses. In the pre-computer era, the material was put on library reserve for the students to share. The number of books that end up on library-reserve shelves has dropped dramatically with the coming of the internet.
Yes, thousands of students turned out for the Obama rally. It may have annoyed Republicans but it didn’t make Obama the winner. His margin of victory in Wisconsin was 53 to 46 percent of voters who turned out at the polls.
Seeing a president of the United States in the flesh can be something to remember, regardless of your political leaning.
Conservative anger with the appearance of an incumbent Democratic president of the United States isn’t new. President Carter appeared at a Stevens Point Catholic high school arranged by U.S. Rep. David Obey. The high school principal was fired by the bishop over Carter’s abortion stance even though Carter did not mention the topic in his remarks.