The Assembly is currently posturing on the budget. Sometimes they forget about the consequences for real people outside of Madison.
Beating up on the University of Wisconsin is a favorite pastime for the gangbangers in the Assembly and Senate, even though none of them can explain why they cut. Just like gangbangers, they don't care about why -- but their actions have consequences.
The UW remains about the best bargain in education in the Midwest and the UW Colleges, the "Little-University-on-the-Prairie-Division," is still the best deal in the UW System. Ask anyone who's been there.
The current Assembly budget slashes 30 positions in the University of Wisconsin Colleges, which includes the campus here in Washington County. Our local share would probably be 2 of those positions. Instructors teach about 4 courses a semester and there are 2 semesters a year.
Here's the math: 2 instructors @ 4 courses each = 8 courses per semester and 16 courses a year. That's 8 to 16 courses each year taken away from people in Washington County.
How many Washington County taxpayers are affected?
At 25-35 students per course, the Assembly budget would cut off access to 200-280 students each semester, or 400-560 students a year.
That's just here in Washington County.
With the ongoing squeeze of globalization on our traditional labor force, people are going to need college degrees in engineering, math, and that hard sciences, to stay ahead of our trading partners in China and India.
Just like the interstate highways or the Web, education is an investment in our economic infrastructure. Cutting off investment in our kids' education is really just sticking it to ourselves -- although, not directly. Technically, the Assembly is sticking it to us -- and, ironically, to their own children.
We'll see whether Rep. Strachota is interested in our economic future or in locking the door of opportunity to the people of Washington County.
I hope she's more interested in the future.