Walker proposes bigger government

Going against his “small government” grain, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said yesterday he favors splitting Milwaukee Public Schools into smaller school districts. Speaking at the Marquette University Law School, Walker suggested that the state’s largest school district should be broken up into ten to twelve autonomous districts. Presumably, each of those ten to twelve autonomous school districts would also have their own autonomous school boards, and even if each board has just five members instead of the nine that currently sit on the MPS board, that’s fifty to sixty new elected officials. In addition to all those new elected officials, each new school district would need administrators, including superintendents, which adds up to a lot of new layers of bureaucracy.

I always thought Scott Walker wanted to shrink the size of government, not grow it, so it’s odd to hear him supporting a proposal that would undoubtedly increase the size of government tenfold, and I can’t wait to see the reaction his proposal gets from the rabidly anti-government folks who seem to comprise Walker’s base of support.


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11 thoughts on “Walker proposes bigger government

  1. Showing a poor understanding of what the smaller government philosophy is all about, Zach. It’s not just smaller to be smaller – though that is part of it. One of the fundamental reasons for smaller government is increased transparency & local control. Which should be a benefit of such a proposal. Not to mention, greater accountability for each individual district. Smaller, more transparent budgets for each district mean that the waste/slush money that slips past is an order of magnitude smaller than with one huge district. My guess is things like iPods as bribes for attendance would have a much more difficult time getting through.

    1. This isn’t about a philosophy; it’s about creating a larger government bureaucracy. Walker’s plan would create bigger government, not smaller government, by virtue of the number of folks that would be required to run 10-12 smaller districts vs. 1 big district.

      1. Yes it is about philosophy. When you are talking about “going against his ‘small government’ grain” philosophy is exactly what you’re talking about. Further down in the thread, you use the term “mantra” which is almost the same thing.

        I have no idea whether it would be a good way to improve MPS or not. I don’t disagree that it would increase “government.” Of course how many of these elected people are full-time bureaucrats? You keep talking about school board members – guess what. I live in a small town – I not only know my school board members, I can walk up to them on the street or give them a call on the phone (at night since they all have day jobs) and tell them what I think. How many parents/voters in MPS can do that? Transparency and accountability would go up if the district were split into smaller pieces. Would this be better in the end – I don’t know. But again, smaller government isn’t about absolute headcount – it’s a means to an end. It’s about effective governing – transparency, and accountability. And smaller tends to improve those things.

  2. That’s going to cost more, at least on the administration end. If it worked, paying more for better results is not a problem. However isn’t this “more management” plan the opposite of conventional business wisdom? I’m of course a liberal who knows only of corporate America from reruns of “The Office” but last night I saw the one where Sabre buys Dunder-Mifflin, and Jo comes in and decides Michael and Jim can’t be co-managers anymore, as it is 2 people doing one persons job.

  3. Bigger government??? So does this post qualify as an endorsement? If this provides a better education than what they are receiving now why aren’t you in favor of this???

    1. E, I’m not always in favor of bigger government, despite what you might want to believe, and I don’t think breaking up MPS into 10-12 smaller districts is going to be the panacea for all that ails MPS.

  4. So if we did away with all school districts and let the state run it as one big state school district, would that qualify as SMALLER government?

    1. If it reduced the number of folks in government, then wouldn’t government be smaller?

      The thing is, Walker’s proposal will add anywhere between 50-100 new elected officials, which certainly would seem to me to go against Walker’s mantra of smaller government.

  5. Once again Mr. Walker has shot from the hip with a ill formed idea without any concept of how it would really work in the real world. So would each new school district also have taxing authority? Would the taxes only come from their ‘new district’ instead of the entire city of Milwaukee? So wouldn’t the poorest districts be even poorer under a case like this?

    The best bet here might to be adopt a Florida style school district: abolish all of the municipal districts and consolidate in one county wide district…

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