Walker says he’s an ‘education governor’

Gov. Scott Walker is calling himself an “education governor” as he draws a “great contrast” between his own educational policies and those of the Dems seeking to challenge him in November.

The guv in an interview with WisPolitics.com yesterday also pledged to increase the state’s graduation rate to the highest in the nation by the end of his third term, should he win re-election.

Walker’s comments comes as his campaign releases its sixth TV ad, this one centering on Walker’s past investments in education.

Walker said the division between himself and his Dem opponents stems from their alignment with interest groups.

“They’re beholden to the education bureaucracy and the special interests,” he said. “We freed that up, put the power back in the hands of the people that the taxpayers actually elect to run the schools.”

But Dem Party spokesman TJ Helmstetter pushed back on Walker’s assessment of the Dem field. While he agreed education is “a great contrast in this campaign,” Helmstetter said that’s because “Scott Walker broke it, and a Democratic governor will fix it.”

“Democrats are focused on families, kids, and making public schools work for everyone,” he said. “Scott Walker is beholden to huge foreign corporations, unaccountable private schools, and his political campaign donors. Scott Walker is surrounded by so many special interests he can’t tell the difference anymore.”

Walker has previously laid out a plan to establish a high school graduation rate that’s one of the best in the nation as part of his “21st Century” agenda that includes priorities for the next four years, should he win re-election.

Asked how he plans to improve the graduation rate, Walker said he’d “continue to look at ways to help our students early on get on a career path.”

“We believe there’s an overwhelming body of evidence that as students start figuring out sooner in their K through 12 career what they’re interested in and what kind of careers they’d like to pursue that makes their classes that much more applicable and it makes it more likely they’ll stay until graduation,” he said.

And Walker said there’s “no plan at this point” for Milwaukee Public Schools.

The guv last month on “UpFront with Mike Gousha” said it might be time to “shake things up” at MPS in order to achieve his goal of making the state’s high school graduation rate one of the best in the nation. He also floated the idea of looking at changing the district’s boundaries or splitting it up “into smaller pieces.”

But in the interview yesterday, Walker said he doesn’t yet have a specific plan regarding MPS, adding he’s planning to meet with a series of stakeholders in Milwaukee to discuss options.

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