Contact: Austin Altenburg
[Madison, Wis.] – Today Scott Walker sent the following letter to State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers at the Department of Public Instruction, on the no fewer than seven cases of plagiarism contained in his education budget proposals over the past six years.
Dear Superintendent Evers:
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website says this about plagiarism:
“Copying and presenting another person’s work as your own is illegal and considered plagiarism.”
As reported by the media, several versions of your official agency budget request for the 2019/2021 state budget and of multiple previous official budget requests from your agency include language copied from someone else’s work (including Wikipedia and an intern with an organization in Washington, D.C.) without referencing the source of the work. The media goes on to report that you acknowledge that your budget requests include content that is by definition plagiarism.
Since your own agency considers plagiarism “illegal,” I ask that you issue a public statement explaining to the students of this state why, at the very least, you shouldn’t be held to the same standard that they are in the classroom.
On Friday, you implied it wasn’t a big deal, yet your agency calls it “illegal.” You also suggested that it was a one-time thing, yet the media has now reported on multiple budgets that included plagiarism.
Recently, I understand that your new defense is that I adopted your budget request. Just to be clear: I adopted the budget you requested of me and that you actually called a “pro-kid budget” as reported on February 6, 2017. Republicans did indeed pass a “pro-kid budget” and I am happy to give you credit for saying that, even though you slipped away from the debate after saying it while I traveled the state visiting 50 schools to get it done.
That’s the difference between talk and real leadership.
Now, as we both talk about funding two-thirds of the costs of schools, only one of us has actually provided the leadership to get the members of the state Legislature to approve historic investments in our schools. I actually voted for it when former Governor Tommy Thompson enacted it in the 1990s, only for it to be undone by your party when you were supposed to be providing leadership as deputy superintendent.
So again, I ask you to explain to students all across Wisconsin: why should you not face the same consequences they would as a result of your plagiarism? Our children are watching.
Governor, State of Wisconsin