Just when you thought “reform” couldn’t get worse, couldn’t become more hostile to real education, count on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to think of something utterly reprehensible.

Valerie Strauss reports on Walker’s assault on his state’s great university system, both by cutting its budget by $300 million and changing its purpose.

She writes:

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker submitted a budget proposal that included language that would have changed the century-old mission of the University of Wisconsin system — known as the Wisconsin Idea and embedded in the state code — by removing words that commanded the university to “search for truth” and “improve the human condition” and replacing them with “meet the state’s workforce needs.”

After loud public criticism, Walker’s staff said the wording was an error.

Reflecting on Walker’s bold but brainless initiative, Arthur Camins wrote this essay on “What Is the Purpose of Education?”

Governor Walker thinks it’s to prepare the workforce. Camins disagrees:

“But it doesn’t have to be either-or. Education should prepare young people for life, work and citizenship.

“Knowledge of the natural and engineered environments and how people live in the world is critical to all three purposes of education. Critical thinking, creativity, interpersonal skills and a sense of social responsibility all influence success in life, work and citizenship. For example, unhappy personal relationships often spill over into the work environment, while a stressful workplace or unemployment negatively impacts family life. Uninformed disengaged citizens lead to poor policy choices that impact life, work and citizenship. To paraphrase the verse in the old song, “You can’t have one without the others.”