But, as we all know, nothing on the web ever goes away forever . As my boss likes to say, a number is just a number until you compare it to another number. And the last thing WEAC wanted was for these numbers to be compared with other numbers. And kudos to the Wisconsin State Journal for digging into this:
A Wisconsin superintendents survey last fall found state budget cuts prompted school districts to eliminate thousands of staff positions, increase class sizes, raise student fees and reduce extracurricular offerings this school year.
But this week, Gov. Scott Walker's office said those results don't tell the full story and that similar surveys from past years show school districts fared better after his education changes went into effect.
Indeed, in past years district layoffs were in the 60 to 70 percent range, compared with 30 this year. It's stunning to me that WEAC thought it would get away this, and boy did it try:
Officials with WEAC did not make themselves available for an interview. The organization, which is the state's largest teachers union and one of the lead organizations seeking to recall Walker, conducted the previous surveys and at one time posted them on its website.
However, the links to those surveys no longer work, and WEAC has ignored the State Journal's requests for the prior-year results. Emails obtained through a state open records request show the governor's office unsuccessfully tried to get copies of the old surveys from WEAC, WASDA and the state Department of Public Instruction.
In one email, Miles Turner, WASDA executive director, told a Walker staffer, "Our office went paperless several years ago and we do not have copies of anything on that project. We truly are not trying to conceal anything."
DPI responded that it didn't have the surveys.
Werwie said WEAC never responded. He said it seemed the groups were trying to hide the surveys, perhaps in an attempt to keep people from realizing the benefits of Walker's changes.
Walker staffers finally found the surveys through an unlinked section of the WEAC site that still contained the surveys.
And, what isn't mentioned here is that a lot of the layoffs took place in large school districts that chose to extend existing teacher's contracts which means they didn't have the tools Walker provided them at their disposal. This is a stunning attempt to deceive by the state's largest teacher's unioin.