There are two problems in this section of Collins’s column: First, she accuses Walker of dishonesty, but she’s just quibbling over semantics. Is it really inaccurate to describe someone named an “outstanding first-year teacher” by the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English as a “teacher of the year” for short? I’ve never seen much of a difference: In the headline of this 2011 piece, I described Sampson as a “teacher of the year,” but in the body of the piece I precisely describe her award. Walker has been telling this story for four years, and no one thought Walker’s description of Sampson was dishonest until Gail Collins heard about it.
But the big error in Collins’s piece is her claim that “those layoffs happened because Walker cut state aid to education.” As you can see in the excerpt above, Collins is talking about teacher layoffs that occurred in 2010. Walker did not become governor until 2011.
The truth is that Walker’s reforms actually saved teachers’ jobs.