Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a presidential hopeful, has gotten a lot of mileage out of his story — told most recently at a convention of conservatives in Iowa — about Wisconsin’s teacher of the year losing her job because of union seniority rules.
One problem: It never happened.
So says the actual Wisconsin teacher of the year who still has her job.
Writing this week in the Marquette Educator, Claudia Klein Felske says the woman Walker is talking about won a small award for which she nominated herself.
Verified by multiple news sources, it turns out that Megan Sampson did win an award in 2010, but it was the Nancy Hoefs Memorial Award given by a relatively small organization of Wisconsin English teachers (WCTE) for “an outstanding first year teacher of language arts.” She was one of less than a dozen teachers across the state who self-nominated for this award.
You failed to mention these details as you used Sampson’s lay-off from her first year teaching position as an opportunity to bash Wisconsin schools on the national stage. You blamed the seniority system for Sampson’s lay-off when, in good conscience, you should have done some serious soul searching and placed the blame squarely on your systematic defunding of public education to the tune of $2.6 billion that you cut from school districts, state aid to localities, the UW-System and technical colleges.
Felske, who was a classmate of Walker’s before he withdrew from Marquette, told Walker in her open letter that he “has demonstrated nothing less than a systematic attempt to dismantle public education, the cornerstone of democracy and the ladder of social mobility for any society.”