What Is Driving Scott Walker’s War on Wisconsin Universities
The reactionary Bradley Foundation is the power behind this evil assault, and much of Walker’s program to revive feudalism.
Scott Walker’s war on Wisconsin’s public colleges will result in lower quality and higher debt for students and families, which is precisely what his right wing political patrons at the Bradley Foundation have been planning for decades.
Wisconsin students have experienced first hand Scott Walker’s assault on public higher education over the last four years. Double-digit tuition increases and historic, unprecedented budget cuts have resulted in declining enrollment, rising costs, and exploding student loan debt for millions of Wisconsin families. The groundwork for Walker’s crusade against public higher education in Wisconsin was first being laid as Walker began his political career over two decades ago by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a well funded far right wing organization that today has been behind every facet of Walker’s political rise, as well as the ideological and financial source of his failed agenda.
Under Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s colleges have been the targets of an ideologically motivated attack to undermine and dismantle higher education in this state. In his first term, Walker slashed funding for Wisconsin universities and technical colleges by nearly $400 million while in-state tuition rose by double digits. As tuition increased Walker froze funding for financial aid programs and cut tuition assistance by nearly $40 million, forcing college students to carry the weight of his extreme budget cuts. Earlier this year, Scott Walker defied the national trend and intensified his war on the on the University of Wisconsin System by proposing a massive budget cut of $300 million, the largest funding cut in University of Wisconsin history. He also included a proposal in the budget to eliminate portions of the Wisconsin Idea, the University of Wisconsin’s mission statement that codifies that the purpose of the University of Wisconsin System is to improve people’s lives outside the classroom. When confronted, Walker claimed the changes were the result of a “drafting error” and quickly withdrew the proposal. Records later revealed that Walker’s office had directed the changes over the concerns of University of Wisconsin System administrators. In addition, Walker’s budget proposal includes unprecedented assaults on academic freedom and university governance that are already driving away professors and faculty from across Wisconsin. Walker’s crusade against higher education is not “reform,” but is actually strategic and coordinated assault on universities across this state.
More on the Bradley Foundation, from 2011:
From local roots, Bradley Foundation builds conservative empire
Michael W. Grebe, president and chief executive of the foundation, said there’s nothing secretive about his organization. Rather, Grebe likened the Bradley Foundation to the 1960s Green Bay Packers, who ruled the football world with a fearsome ground game and a deceptively simple running play, the sweep.
“We’re going to run off tackle, right over there, and we’re telling you we’re going to run there and we’re going to knock you on your butt and carry the ball down the field,” Grebe said during an interview inside the foundation’s headquarters near downtown. “There are no surprises.”Acting like a venture capital firm for ideas, the Bradley Foundation funds thinkers, doers and organizations tethered to conservative ideals of “limited, competent government,” free markets and a “vigorous national defense,” faithfully executing the will of the late manufacturing titans and brothers Lynde and Harry Bradley.
And make no mistake: Bradley Foundation-funded ideas, as well as political leaders who turn those ideas into action, have helped drive America’s conservative revolution over the past quarter-century.