To the Editor:
My name is Len Herricks and for those of you who don't know, I'm the president of the Oshkosh Education Association. I'm writing to you today because I know Republican Ron Johnson well. I served as a co-chair with him on the Oshkosh Chamber Partners in Education Council for two years.
So when, during the first U.S. Senate debate in Milwaukee recently, Johnson used my name as an example of him working across ideological lines to get things done, I was more than surprised seeing he knows very well from our time serving on the council together that I believe his type of divisive and polarizing views on education would be a nightmare for our public schools. Contrary to Johnson's description of his council work as consensus building, he spent his time pitting parochial schools against public schools, and demonstrated a unique ability to turn off and eliminate the morale of those employed in public education – while leaving the entire council in shambles following his departure.
His extreme views on education have followed him on the campaign trail.
Ron’s idea of saving money on public education starts and ends with eliminating programs for students. He forgets that public schools educate students of all levels and ability including those who don’t have the means to afford a private education.
When asked by a right-wing radio host in July, Ron Johnson said he opposed saving the jobs of teachers. This extremist claim that no taxpayer money should be used to save the jobs of teachers would have drastically increased the size of classes.
Johnson's statement means he also opposed the 2010-11 Jobs Act which will create or retain 3,000 teaching jobs across Wisconsin, including 38 teaching jobs in Oshkosh.
Johnson also opposed the Recovery Act, which has created or saved more than 7,390 teaching jobs in Wisconsin, keeping classroom sizes manageable making sure students in danger of failing to meet basic standards can get the help they need.
I know Ron Johnson and I know that Wisconsin teachers and students can't afford to have him represent us in Washington. I support Sen. Russ Feingold because he's always fought for us.
Len Herricks, president, Oshkosh Education Association