Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gov. Walker wants a passing grade for failing his jobs assignment

Governor won't make a second jobs pledge this time around

Gov. Scott Walker has stated that this time around he’s not making a second jobs pledge. And nor should he -- he's still working on the first jobs pledge he made in 2010.

In his first run for office, Walker promised he’d create 250,000 jobs -- “I want my Cabinet secretaries to have branded across their heads, ‘250,000 jobs,’” Walker said shortly before taking office, reiterating his campaign pledge from months before. “I want them to know their job is on the line because my job is on the line to create 250,000 jobs in the private sector” (emphasis added).

Now Walker has changed his tune a bit. He says he has no regrets about the pledge, but that he aimed high simply to get results -- and that he deserves another four years in office, even though he currently sits below even 50 percent of his promise.

The lesson here is that accountability doesn’t matter. Just in time for school, students in classrooms can learn this from the governor: when asked how well you can perform at any given subject, make up a standard that would be impossible to achieve. When called out on it, simply state that you did your best, and ignore the problem afterwards.

Got a huge assignment and need to write 1,000 words on the history of agriculture in early Mesopotamia? Promise to write 1,500 words instead, and deliver less than 750. Tell your teacher, “Hey, I set myself a big goal because I wanted to try and reach it! Don’t judge me for failing to deliver on the assignment!”

The allegory above matches Walker perfectly. The assignment? Recovering jobs lost during the recession. Walker’s promise? A huge, then-unthinkable 250,000 jobs in four years. With 133,000 jobs being the acceptable measure, Walker has failed to produce even that number. When called out on it, he merely says that we’re “headed in the right direction.”

That may work for Walker’s base, but I dare any kid going back to school to make such a promise in their first classroom assignment. When they fail to deliver, you can have them tell their teachers that they were headed in the right direction.

They’ll still get a failing grade, and you can count on things changing quickly in that classroom if that student wants to earn a passing credit. The governor ought to be held to the same standard.

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