Last night the two candidates running for Department of Public Instruction participated in a We the People debate. In one of the more interesting moments, Rose Fernandez tried out her best Scott Walker impression. The priceless moment came when the candidates were asked if they would accept the federal stimulus money that has been designated for education in Wisconsin. Dr. Tony Evers welcomed the chance to pump $800 million dollars into our state's schools, rightfully commenting that "educators are the lever that can turn our economy around." Rose Fernandez on the other hand took what should have been a softball and turned it into a strike out. Fernandez waffled as to whether she would accept the unprecedented federal investment in Wisconsin education and Wisconsin students. Quite an odd thing for someone that wants to run the Department of Public Instruction. Although it is not a surprise.
Apparently Rose Fernandez has spent too much time with Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker at all of those partisan events all over the state. Who can forget Walker's infamous refusal to bring home our own federal tax investment to meet the many needs of our own county? He may have pleased the hardest of the right wing primary voters, but he was broadly panned across most other lines. Apparently Rose doesn't want to offend her base of support on the far far right, so she waffled on an $800 million question.
It's not a good sign when someone with zero qualifications and a questionable administrative history, follows it up with turning down an $800 million federal investment in the students of Wisconsin. It is even worse when that is a candidate for the Department of Public Instruction. I know that they probably spent a good deal of time together at these hyper-partisan events, but the last thing that anyone needs to do right now is imitate the Walking failure from Wauwatosa.
Now Read Part II: "Rose Waffle Should Give Us Pause"