There was an interesting quote from my State Representative, Mark Pocan, in the Wisconsin State Journal story on the prospects of Governor Jim Doyle’s agenda as a lame duck.
But Pocan acknowledged fundamental reforms of school financing would be difficult to achieve soon given that they would likely cost money that the state doesn’t have.
“The real comprehensive change of how we fund schools is going to be difficult to do over the next eighteen months,” Pocan said.
“Difficult,” does not mean impossible. Unfortunately, this sounds like yet another lowering of expectations.
One sure thing is that we’ll never know how difficult if Pocan and his colleagues don’t try.
Another sure thing is that there has been no public attempt at comprehensive school funding reform in the months since the Democrats won control of both houses under a Democratic Governor (and no, Doyle’s stitched-together attempts to win favor from Arne Duncan do not count). Please try.
Reading Pocan’s remarks I was reminded of FDR’s first hundred days and what could be accomplished with political will. Here is a list:
First Hundred Days Legislation
March 9 – June 16, 1933
March 9 Emergency Banking Act
March 20 Government Economy Act
March 22 Beer-Wine Revenue Act
March 31 Creation of Civilian Conservation Corps
April 19 Abandonment of Gold Standard
May 12 Federal Emergency Relief Act
May 12 Agricultural Adjustment Act
May 12 Emergency Farm Mortgage Act
May 18 Tennessee Valley Authority Act
May 27 Securities Act
June 5 Abrogation of Gold Payment Clause
June 13 Home Owners Loan Act
June 16 Glass-Steagall Banking Act
June 16 National Industrial Recovery Act
June 16 Emergency Railroad Transportation Act
June 16 Farm Credit Act
Doyle has about 540 days left. If he or members of the Senate and House want to fulfill the promises they have made over and over again, if they want to redeem themselves for what they did to education in the most recent budget, if they want to have something positive to run on in 2010, if they want to invest in our state’s future, if they want to leave a legacy they can be proud of…comprehensive school finance reform is a must and they have to get to work now.
Thomas J. Mertz