An open letter to Gov. Scott Walker: stop perpetuating the myth of the lazy professor

In the near future I might author my own rebuttal to Gov. Walker’s plans to scuttle Wisconsin’s higher education. Several high-ranking Republican Conservatives simply despise higher education. More specifically, they seem to be against state-sponsored education, against the public support of education. Listening their comments on C-SPAN and reading essays on their individual websites, one can only come away with the sentiment these GOP members would be more than happy to divest the Federal and state governments of the responsibility of educating people and turn the education of our populace over to for-profit schools and religious organizations. Some states are already using the voucher system to provide public monies to religious schools in clear violation of the separation of Church and State. More to the point, Gov. Walker and his compatriots in the GOP are seeking to break-down state educational systems using “state rights” as a rallying cry yet what their attempts are truly attempting to do is push more federal money into for-profit universities. These for-profit universities are responsible for the greatest portion of student loan indebtedness and lack of results. There are a host of other issues Scott Walker seems too mentally impaired to understand. I’ll take a stab at addressing those issues in my own response. Cheers!

The Contemplative Mammoth

Dear Gov. Walker,

Last week, you told professors at the University of Wisconsin that they needed to “work harder.” You were making a case that the Wisconsin state budget crisis could be ameliorated by increasing employee efficiency, and you suggested having faculty teach at least one more class. I’m not going to talk about whether or not the budget crisis is manufactured (some have argued it could be solved by accepting federal funds for the state’s Badger Care health program), or whether your real goal is really partisan politics, and not fiscal responsibility.

Ouch. Ouch. Photo by fellow UW Madison geographer Sigrid Peterson.

Instead, I want to talk about the myth of the lazy professor, a stereotype that you’ve reinforced with your comment. I spent 2005 to 2012 at the University of Wisconsin, where I obtained a PhD in the Department of Geography; I am now an assistant professor at the University of Maine.

When you…

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