Tag: teacher

ENDORSEMENT: Kati Walsh for U.S. House Speaker

With Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner exiting stage right, I’m pleased to announce that I’m going to make a very special endorsement. I proudly endorse Kati Walsh for Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

Since I’m guessing that very few, if any, readers of this blog know who Kati Walsh is, I’ll talk a little bit about her. She’s a resident of Madison, Wisconsin and an elementary school art teacher in the local public school system in Madison. She’s also a very strong advocate for public education.

Now, many of you are probably thinking that Ms. Walsh is not a Member of Congress. Of course she’s not a Member of Congress. However, there’s no legal requirement in the U.S. Constitution that the speaker be a sitting member of the House, so anyone could legally be elected speaker by the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In fact, the U.S. Constitution could be interpreted as allowing for someone who doesn’t meet the constitutional requirements to be eligible to be elected a U.S. House member (at least 25 years of age, U.S. citizen for at least seven years, resident of the state in which he/she seeks to represent) to be elected speaker. Heck, there’s nothing prohibiting me from receiving votes for speaker, even though I’m not a Member of Congress, and I have zero interest in being speaker.

Do I think that Ms. Walsh will get a single vote in the upcoming election for speaker? Of course not. The vast majority of the Republicans will vote for one of their own House members, probably Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), with a few hard-line conservative Republicans voting for Tea Party-types in protest. On the other hand, nearly all Democrats will vote for Nancy Pelosi, with the exception of a handful of centrist/conservative Democrats who will vote for either a Republican or a different House Democrat.

However, I’ve always thought of the idea of a citizen speaker (i.e., a U.S. House speaker who is not a House member) would be interesting, as a citizen speaker would have the power to preside over the House, but not be able to vote on legislation before the House, effectively making the speaker’s post non-partisan and technocratic in nature. If Kati Walsh can teach a class of elementary school children, then she’ll have no problem presiding over the U.S. House of Representatives and its 435 adult members.

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Scott Walker completely ignores request from Wisconsin teacher to quit talking about her story

Megan Sampson, an English teacher at Wauwatosa East High School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, has repeatedly been used by Republican Wisconsin Governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker as the face of his union-busting Act 10 bill. Act 10, among other things, stripped teachers and most Wisconsin public employees of the vast majority of their collective bargaining rights.

However, Walker has been using Sampson’s story, which I’ll explain in detail in the following paragraph and only mention once on this blog, without permission from Sampson. Sampson has repeatedly denied Walker permission to use her story because she doesn’t want to be seen as a political figure, and she’s offended by Walker using her as a posterchild for Walker’s far-right political agenda.

In 2010, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) laid off Sampson, and Sampson was hired by the Wauwatosa school system not long afterwards. Both of those events occurred before Act 10 became law in Wisconsin in 2011. After she was hired to teach in Wauwatosa, MPS offered Sampson to return to MPS as a teacher, but Sampson refused the offer because she was employed to teach in Wauwatosa.

Walker has claimed that Sampson was hired in Wauwatosa after Act 10 became law in Wisconsin. As I stated in the above paragraph, this claim by Walker is false. Additionally, Walker has claimed that Sampson was honored by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) with a Outstanding Teacher of the Year award for her work for MPS. In reality, DPI gave four Wisconsin teachers outstanding teacher awards for 2010, but not Sampson, and Sampson received an outstanding first-year teacher award from the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English (WCTE), a non-profit organization whose membership is composed of English teachers in Wisconsin who wish to join the organization.

Since I started blogging a few years ago, there have been instances where people have contacted me and asked me not to use their name, likeness, quotes, stories, etc. in my blog posts, and I have respected their wishes. The fact that Scott Walker has continued to use the story of Megan Sampson in an inaccurate manner and, more importantly, without her permission proves that Walker has zero respect for his fellow Wisconsinites. If Walker can’t respect the people of his own state, he’s not going to respect the American people if he’s elected president.