Before that, when Scott Walker dropped his "bomb" on Wisconsin in the form of Act 10, he said that he was giving local municipalities and school districts "tools" to deal with cuts coming to their budgets.
These "tools" were hatchets, which the local governments and school boards used to hack away at teacher's pay and benefits, if not wiping out their positions altogether.
People wailed that he was going to ruin education. He was going to force good teachers to retire, to move to other states and/or leave the field of education altogether. The said that it would create larger classes, cut out some fields of education and lower the high level of education that this state had enjoyed for years before this.
And boy, were they ever correct.
In the first year, Wisconsin lost some 3,400 of its finest educators. Class sizes grew, schools were closed, programs were stopped. No matter how you looked at it, things were pretty grim.
School districts from Oshkosh to Mr. Horeb to Madison; in Shawano; really, from all over the state, had to make some difficult choices, none of them winners.
Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Walker, along with his propagandists and apologists, insisted that his tools were working.
But we knew better.
In fact, we kept pointing out that not only was it not working, but that Walker's tools were faulty and would only help the school districts minimally and only for one year, maybe two, and then only if they tapped into other revenues to keep afloat.
Now the tools are broken and things are turning even uglier.
Sheboygan schools are trying to figure out what to do about a $5 million hole caused by Walker's tools. The Elmbrook school district, which had already closed one of its most popular schools due to Walker's tools, is facing another $2.3 million funding gap. Nicolet, like the others, is facing a severe funding shortage as well, as it sinks in that they will have to keep finding new cuts every year for the foreseeable future.
And it's still early. As time goes on, the gentle reader will find that school district after school district, from every region of the state, will be facing the choices of closing schools, laying off teachers, increasing class sizes, ending programs and/or raising taxes.
This is also the result of Walker's most favorite tool of them all - the fiscal sabot.
A sabot is a wooden shoe that European workers would throw into the workings of new machinery in order to break the machines, hence the word sabotage.
The sabot that Walker threw into the educational system was the cutting of revenue, the restrictions on school districts gaining new revenue, and making it more difficult for the schools to retain the good teachers. This damage was furthered by the constant smearing of teachers, falsely portraying them as greedy, violent thugs, and finding ways to turn public opinion against them every chance they got.
It matters little to Walker whether districts raise taxes, cut programs, drove off teachers or closed schools. His goal was to make sure that the public education system stopped working.
Not long ago, a reader left a comment on how they had just voted in their region to raise taxes for the school district. The commenter went on to say how the people became angry about this, blaming the school board, the teachers and everyone but Walker, who caused their misery when he slashed funding to the schools.
Now that the results of Walker's sabotage of the education system is working, he has started moving toward the end game of all this.
In order to satisfy his benefactors, the education profiteers that have given him so much campaign money, Walker has proposed a vast expansion of the voucher program. In other words, he's weakened the education system to the point that the profiteers can swoop in and start swilling even more at the public trough, gobbling up taxpayer money has fast as it's being given to them.
People are starting to realize what a threat the voucher system is to our public education system and how Walker has rigged the game against the tried and true method of making sure our children receive a decent education and learn the skills of critical thinking.
The facts are that the voucher schools are expensive, lack accountability and do a poor job of educating children.
And they've already starting asking the state for even more money, which Walker and his Republican allies are more than willing to give them, as long as the education profiteers keep feeding their campaign coffers. And when that money runs out - or when people catch on that they aren't educating their children - these profiteers will slink off into the night, looking for new victims that they can steal from.
The question now is whether enough of the people become educated themselves on what's going on and are able to rise up and put a stop to it before any more damage is done.
Are we going to make sure our children receive the best educations they can or are we willing to sell their futures so that people like Walker and the education profiteers can turn a buck?