We've heard pundits and politicians weigh in on Gov. Scott Walker's nearly $1 billion cuts to Wisconsin schools. But what do Walker's policies look like to the people most affected by them -- the kids sitting at their desks with No. 2 pencils and hope for the future?
Now we know. A group of precocious students at Madison's West High School have created a political action committee called Students for Wisconsin and duly registered it with the state's Government Accountability Board. They have an impressive website that lays out issues and goals and encourages visitors to get involved (extra credit for the Lyndon Johnson quote about the vital importance of education).
They also have a new ad that attempts to win hearts and minds for the June 5 recall election between Walker and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. The title leaves no doubt where the kids are coming from: "Scott Walker: Ruining Our Wisconsin Education."
The ad is charmingly low-tech, as a group of earnest students simply speak to the camera one-by-one, with a sheet for a backdrop.
But modesty is part of its power. You don't get the impression of focus groups and consultants behind "Ruining Our Wisconsin Education." You get the impression that you're hearing from real kids who know real teachers and fear for real problems in the 2012-13 school year.
The kids do their teachers proud by meticulously citing a source for every fact. And they earn an A+ for effectiveness with this final statement, out of the mouths of babes:
Gov. Walker, you claimed you had a budget to balance, jobs to create, and you found it necessary to cut funding for public schools in order to fulfill your goals for our state. In reality you've targeted our teachers and blamed them for the state's economic problems. And now 96% of Wisconsin's school districts will receive an average of nearly 10% less in important funding. So the real cost of your budget is our education.