We got a huge amount of reader response to my post yesterday about the impending demise of the University of Wisconsin. That's not terribly surprising. One of the things we've learned over the years from audience research is that about half our readers have advanced degrees and a disproportionately large number of them are in education, from K through college. As I said in that post, I'm more interested in the practical effect of what Walker is trying to do than a discussion of tenure in the abstract. Because what Walker is doing is basically like lighting your own house on fire. States can get into financial jams and need to cut spending, either because of budgetary mismanagement or rough economic times. But if you look closely at what Walker is doing there's no real budgetary imperative behind it. It's just a desire to destroy a great public institution for the sake of doing it, driven in part by right-wing ideology and in part by the palpable animus Walker himself holds to people who managed to get an education.
A big part of what is happening here is that, to people like Walker, Madison is an anchor of Wisconsin liberalism. But not just liberalism in the partisan political sense, also scarier things like empirical thinking and new ideas. And it's not just the humanities. What really comes out in this article is how much of the scythe is aimed at the sciences.
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