What Wisconsinites are Reading About Senator Johnson's Disastrous Education Agenda

Aug 22, 2016

Senator Johnson’s disastrous education agenda continues to receive a failing grade from educators and Wisconsinites. After pushing a bill last month that would allow private schools to discriminate against students with disabilities, Senator Johnson doubled down on his sad vision for education. At a WisPolitics luncheon on Friday, Johnson questioned the need for teachers. Really. Calling education a “cartel,” Johnson said, “we’ve got the internet ― you have so much information available. Why do you have to keep paying different lecturers to teach the same course?” Instead he suggested students just watch Ken Burns documentaries.

Senator Johnson’s remarks quickly stirred outrage among educators across the country who know that a great teacher is the foundation of a great education. Check out what Wisconsinites are reading about Johnson’s vision for education:

Huffington Post: GOP Senator: Ken Burns Documentaries Are Better At Teaching History Than Actual Teachers

“Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Thursday that if the nation wants to rein in college costs, it needs to break up the “higher education cartel.” And a key way to do that would be to have more DVDs and fewer teachers…

“Johnson has come under scrutiny in the past for his remarks on higher education. In March, he said students were taking longer than four years to graduate because they were able to easily get student loans and it was fun to party.”

Inside Higher Ed: Ken Burns or Instructors?

“Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which has organized faculty members in Wisconsin, issued a statement criticizing Johnson while also praising Ken Burns.

“Leave it to someone from a party led by a reality TV star to confuse videotape with the learning experience of a classroom,” she said. “What Ron Johnson doesn’t get is that education happens when teachers can listen to students and engage them to think for themselves — and that can include using Ken Burns’s masterful work. But this is typical for a party with an education agenda as out-of-date as Johnson’s Blockbuster Video card.”

Think Progress: GOP Senator Says College Students Don’t Need Teachers, Can Watch Ken Burns Videos All Day

“A common cultural trope of the incompetent teacher is one who plays videos for their students on a regular basis instead of lecturing and overseeing in-class activities and projects. Yet that’s exactly the kind of education one Republican senator would like to see college students receive…

During a recent appearance on WisPolitics, a state political news service, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R) suggested that the country could save money on higher education costs by cutting back on instructors — and instead allowing students to learn from Ken Burns videos and the internet.”

Raw Story: Wisconsin GOP senator wants to replace history professors with Ken Burns videos

“Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) thinks history professors are an extravagant luxury that could be cheaply replaced with video documentaries and Google searches.

Johnson, who is locked in a tough re-election battle against former senator Russ Feingold, argued last week that Ken Burns and following through on invitations to “do your research” were sufficient substitutes for costly college professors, reported Inside Higher Ed.”