Education Funding

5 worst governors who put rich corporations and CEOs before students and schools

By Amanda Litvinov and Colleen Flaherty

What do the governors of Florida, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Wisconsin and Michigan have in common? Yes, they were all elected in 2010. And since taking office, all have shown time and again that they are willing to put the wants of rich corporations and CEOs before the very real needs of the students who attend their public schools.

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That’s why they all made our list of the five worst governors when it comes to enacting laws on behalf of the wealthiest at the expense of public schools and the working families who rely on them. When we sat down to compile this list, we realized that no infographic was big enough to contain all the wrongs these fellas have done to public education in their states. So we had to boil their records down to a couple of the “lowlights.” We also realize that there are other governors who should be named here (you narrowly escaped this post, Gov. Kasich). It’s just a start, but please share these graphics to help others see what these governors stand for. After all, they also share this in common: They all face re-election this fall!

#5: Florida Gov. Rick Scott

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#4: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett

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#3: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback

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#2: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

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#1: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

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71 responses to “5 worst governors who put rich corporations and CEOs before students and schools

  1. I hope you all remember that even if your governor can’t be voted out this year, you can erect roadblocks by electing Democrats to your states legislative bodies. Take away the Republican majorities and you take away the governors ability to make such terrible choices.

  2. Actually if you take into account the population of a state and compare the amount cut Brownback would be number one. And he just won re-election in 2014 so he has another two years before he is finished destroying the state of Kansas. The entire legislature of Kansas is up for grabs this year and efforts are underway to replace the extremists who have enabled Brownback to get away with the ALEC agenda.

  3. I wish to point out an error in this article. Not all of these assholes face reelection this fall. Unfortunately, down here in Florida, we are stuck with Rick “Valdemort” Scott for 2 more years because governors have 4 year terms here and he was somehow reelected in 2014. I am still depressed over that because I loathe him more than anyone else on the planet.

  4. Governor Doucey (that’s right, Douche – great name for a douche-bag governor) of Arizona MUST be added to the GOP list – He’s pulling the same deal here w/ unfunding education and chopping corporate taxes. (It’s obvious Douchey is running for president already) These governors are pushing us back to the 18th century – we’ll pay for it by becoming a at least a 2nd-world country if not a 3rd world one – but these people will be long gone, but their horrific policies will have brought a great nation to its knees.

  5. We r the answer. Everyone here has valid arguments and observations. What we need to b is party blind, color blind and media blind. Only vote for people that have followed through with what they said they would do and if they don’t , recall them instantly. The problem is there r too few people left who still think for themselves. I’m afraid we’ve reached the tipping point. The land of the free and the home of the brave is dead and gone. All we have left r crows squabbling over the remains.

  6. I am a life NEA member who is becoming discouraged by the changes in our organization. We need to stay focused on education and not hear so much about political agendas over which we ideals that relate so much to the liberal political agenda! I am grateful for the all of the ways NEA helps teachers in the classroom with all the resources that are offered. Thank you for all the protection you give us, too!

    In Illinois i so disappointed that we are behind Pat Quinn to be re-elected for governor!! He should be one of the worst governors on your list. He is following in the footsteps of previous Illinois governors by being investigated by the FBI for misusing funds. I was hoping that the Illinpos Education Association would not endorse either man running for the office, but instead Quinn will receive PACE funds.

    Let’s remember that the Associations should focused on helping the teachers and protecting our rights!

    1. My comments are in regard to Jeannie Glasgow’s comments Aug.13,2014. She is discouraged about the changes in our organization, I believe Jeannie is out of the loop on what has been going on nationally against public education. There is a “war against public education”,it is political,we have to be aware and fight against it.
      The NEA article “Five Worst (current) Governors” gives us insight as to what is going on across our nation. These five governors are from the same political party. Look them up on line and see which political party they belong to… Then look at the governors across the U.S that belong to the same party, check out their education policies. You will see they all match. Their goal is to privatize education, take money from our public schools until they are not effective and they can be closed,thus doing away with public education. Privatizing is for money, public education does not make money for individuals who are in charge of public schools. Schools run by Private individuals do.

      Jeannie mentioned that NEA should be helping teachers and protecting their rights. That is exactly what NEA is doing, protecting our rights and our jobs! It has to involve politic. Money to run our public schools comes through the states legislative body, they are voter elected individuals. They decide just about everything that teachers and educators can and cannot do, what we teach,how many days are required in a school year, how much tax dollars they will put into our salaries, teacher benefits/retirement and how much of the states money goes into public education, per pupil ratio etc.
      These same governors who are putting the squeeze on public education are also trying to shut down the state teachers unions, in their own state. Can you imagine working in today’s classroom without your Teacher Organization or Union watching your back? I see this as how they are targeting NEA. NEA’s many members make us powerful.
      My advice to educators is to keep up with politics, watch your incumbents voting records on education. Your livelihood and our school children are at stake. It matters who you vote for and votes do have consequences.

  7. NEA —your days are numbered, you suck, your solution is always to request and spend more money. The liberal solution to everything DOES NOT WORK. Look around. The Country is going to hell due to idiotic liberal thought and implementation.

    1. Can you believe the liberal bias? Why didn’t they just say Republicans are bad. Really? Every Democrat governor is doing great? Thanks for not letting me down NEA; I know exactly what you’re all about.

      1. Look around you; get the facts. It’s all the republician govenors b/c when they got elected (and how they got elected–by making these promises to ALEC, Koch’s etc.), they went to the same Rep. govenors meeting and pledged to follow the ALEC, Koch tea party/libertarian agenda of getting rid of public education, and giving the money to corporations while also deregulating them. (Read What the Matter w/ Kansas, and Wedell Potter’s Deadly Spin.) I consider myself independant (and I even voted for our gov. much to my detriment now–b/c he cut my job out of spite). I don’t vote Dem b/c I want to vote Dem or Rep first, I vote AFTER I have read/seen what they are doing.

  8. So sorry, but you all missed Chris Christie of New Jersey. His is the big fish since he plans to run for president 2016.

    Teachers paid more into their pensions and medical last year with the agreement that he would put more money into the pension from which the GOP Governor Christine Whitman borrowed several years back to bail out New Jersey in a financial crisis.

    Now the time has come to replace his share of the monies, and he is reneging on his contractual agreement. NJEA is in the process of taking it to court.

    So be prepared. He is planning to run for president.

  9. Surprised not to see Texas on your list! Every horrible thing mentioned from other states is happening here too. We have been involved in a battle royal over the underfunding of public education, tax caps, and the drive to divert tax dollars to Charters and Vouchers, while cutting funding for teachers health care and pensions for years now. While we may be glad to finally get rid of Rick Perry, his minions are stepping out of the legislature to run for his replacement in the current Governor’s race. Thanks to all who shared although it is sad to see that public education, teachers and the future of American children are under attack across all of America.

  10. How does the country overlook Gov. Perry and Texas? Without any prior comments I wonder what else will fall sway to an executive candidate who opposed education improvement do to the use of federal funding. He governs a state leasing the nation with low education standards. Students required to start the day with the US Pledge followed by the Texas Pledge. Lone Star.

  11. Where is Indiana’s Governor Pence? He is gutting the public schools to favor private ones, which don’t have to take the same tests….and just reduced retirement benefits for teachers effective this coming fall. An ALEC guy, through and through. Our new Sec. of Ed. got more votes than he did, and he has hamstrung all her efforts to fix education by creating a powerful committee and loading it with people who run private schools. What a mess! And they say he’s planning to run for President of the USA…

  12. Unfortunately, we have a Dem in the White House and a Sec. of Ed @ his side who are both anti-public ed and into the privatization of ed…too much money in politics!!! Any govenor, whether he/she be an R or a D who supports corporate(private) control of public education is given their walking shoes when running for re-election. The American dream and the future of our democracy demand public education must be preserved and strengthened. We, the People must stand strong…involve ourselves and run for offices @ the local, state, and national levels…stay involved, participate, make a difference…democracy begins with you…You’re it!

  13. Many parents are tired of teachers and schools being liberal mouth pieces. Just teach academics and leave politics and the childrens sex life out of the classrooms. Teachers unions are not there for the kids so quit using them for your own political props.

    1. You don’t know schools very well, do you? In Kansas, where Brownback is eviscerating public education as quickly as he can, I attended three graduations. At all three, prayers were said by local ministers. In two of the graduation speeches, Bible verses were read, one by a student, the other by a teacher. We’re forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day, with its “under God” insertion. Please, know what you’re talking about before calling schools liberal mouthpieces. If anything, Kansas schools are bastions of conservatism.

    2. Robert – you really should do some research and go to the source before making such blanketed, erroneous statements. The majority of parents, actually, are becoming quite disconcerted with the teacher scape-goating and desperate last resort, “it’s the union’s fault” platform – simply not valid and makes you look silly. Your bandwagon has already run its course – you’re a bit late…

    3. I teach and I’m not a liberal mouthpiece. I’m a God-fearing, gun-owning Tennessean who Bates abortion. You really think most of us are liberal mouthpieces? That’s just what the fascist GOP wants you to believe, and the average American idiot believes it.

    4. Yes, but what have corporations done lately. Right or wrong, at least unions fight for the middle class and poor people. It’s all about rights for the mc/p.

    5. Without teachers’ unions they would be paid minimum wages, no medical insurance, no retirement benefits, etc. Without teachers’ unions schools would all be for profits for the corporate executives.

    6. ….”Roberts” Stop! With your political double talk! The article is pointing out where the money is coming from, and where it’s going, and who’s engineering it! STOP! Politicizing, and polarizing everything, and just see the truth! Because truth is not fodder for politics, politicians, or YOU!

  14. I would like to know how you determine the “Worst”. The clowns you name are certainly in the limelight often, but there are the quiet ones just as bad. Iowa’s Branstad brags that he “saved” wasted education money, and supports a better learning environment. Double talk for”screw you!”

  15. Hey NEA, michigan has another while peninsula you missed in your image. As an education association and all you might want to include it!

    1. I am from the Upper Peninsula, so that was the first thing I noticed. I’ve seen this happen other times on maps. It’s as if we don’t exist. I very much assure you, we are here.

  16. Chris Christie should be #1 on this list. He has destroyed the morale of teachers in NJ by his failed promises to fully fund the teachers’ pension. Christie only cares about rich corporations and CEOs because they will fund his presidential campaign. He is a bully who doesn’t stop until he gets his way. We need to stop him from destroying the nation’s educational system like he has done in NJ.

  17. How could you forget NC? We’re the laughing stock of education right now. Moral Monday started here…. Don’t even need to dig deep.

  18. All corporate prostitute jerks. Hope they’re all defeated in their next election but don’t count on it as stupidity put them in there and stupid tea potty idiots will keep them there. Pathetic and sad.

  19. You’ve dropped the ball by missing Kasich of Ohio! SB5, OTES, CC$$, Charter scandals, TFA supporter….he must GO!! Vote Fitzgerald – our last hope to keep public education in Ohio.

  20. You also need Connecticut’s governor, Dannel Malloy, on the list. He has “task forces” to solve every problem. The one for discussing “‘Common Core””was TOLD that their mission was NOT TO discuss the validity of Common Core, but ONLY to talk about strategies for going “onward & upward” with the destructive program, initiated by billionaires ( Bill Gates & other corporations ). NOT ONE TEACHER in Connecticut was asked to participate in it’s creation. Mandates were handed down. Teachers were not to ask questions. They were to follow directions. If they question, they can be held insubordinate & fired! Yea, this is democracy! ( Oh, & did I mention that the Common Core Task Force is made up of people who elected themselves & there are NO members from the NW or NE, rural towns in the state. They’re left to ” flounder” on their own.

    1. Yes, how did you miss “Dannel” Malloy, the most anti education, anti teacher governor I believe in the nation. He has told out hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare. Example, Bridgewater Associates. The owner earns 2.9 BILLION dollars of personal salary a year. Yet Dannel gave our taxpayer money, 120 million dollars to this hedge fund corporation. And for what purpose? To move from Stamford to Westport, 12 miles away. Yet, he cut the state’s contribution to the retired teacher’s health fund. That saved a whopping 70 million dollars and cut the benefits to thousands of struggling teacher retirees. There’s no one worse than Malloy!

  21. LOL they are only the worst for union hacks. They are the best for everything else. Everything Democrats touch gets worse.

    1. Do you live in Kansas? We’re about 270 million in the red. We had a surplus before Brownback came in. I’m a registered republican and I think he’s a complete moron. I didn’t vote for him in 2010 and won’t this year.

  22. You forgot someone: Paul Lepage, current governor of Maine and hopefully on his way out. He hates everyone and is attempting to change that image for this election year, but when you really do hate everyone (other than rich repubs), it is pretty hard to hide.

  23. I also live in PA. The voters have chosen this repugnant path for this state; their votes are perhaps a reflection of the quality of education in this state. Corbett and his little minions in the legislature don’t seem to understand that the future of this state and this country lies in the children of today. They too, will feel the pain when they reap what they’ve sown.

  24. This map of Michigan struck a nerve with me. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, an area that comprises 1/3 of the state’s land mass, and it is not pictured on your map. I thought that since this is an education policy website, elementary-level geography skills would be employed in producing state maps.

    Either way, I come from a family of Upper Michigan public educators, and agree wholeheartedly with the premise of this site — Governor Snyder is as blatantly anti-public education as they come. He sees education as an opportunity for private sector profit for his billionaire friends to monopolize.

  25. In your list, “5 worst governors who put rich corporations and CEOs before students and schools,” how in the world did you miss Chris Christie of NJ???

  26. I am very disappointed that our gas bag of a governor Paul LePage didn’t make the list. One can’t even begin to measure how deep he is into corporate interest, especially with the Koch brothers.

  27. I don’t care what it takes to get rid of Common Core. These Governors must bust the Common Core unions. I accept whatever methods they must use to do that.


      1. Common Core unions is a catchy phrase that the writer probably used to refer to the group of 1%’ers like the Koch brothers and the Gates cabal. Those folks, together with lapdog (mostly) Republican state legislators are as well-funded and determined as any union ever was.

    1. Let’s see if I understand this correctly. You want to get rid of unions, so you advocate hurting little kids to do that!

  28. Please, you cannot forget TN gov. Bill Haslam & his commissioner of education Kevin Huffman. Haslam & Huffman have systematically driven thousands of experienced teachers out of the profession by ending due process, tying pay to TVASS (VAM), selling public schools in Memphis to cronies and donors of the governor, given millions to K-12 online corporation to scam tn taxpayers, taken millions of state grants and given them to TEach for
    Haslam defended Huffman’s illegal actions in the latest TCAP delay scandal. Haslam gave a blank check to corporate charter schools. Jeb Bush visits TN regularly to advise on education schemes.
    Haslam, Huffman, & Jeb Bush are on track to deny a good education to TN kids and enrich testing companies to the tune of $183,000,000 of TN taxes.

  29. I live in PA where there is an overt attack on public education. There is a belief here in our GOP controlled legislature that privatization and therefore competition for student enrollment is the answer to all of our education problems. This dovetails nicely with Corbett’s Grover Norquist pledge as State funding cuts place more of the responsibility of school funding on the homeowners’ local tax rates to pick up the tab, knowing that rising school district taxation will raise the ire of the residents and turn them against their public school system in our depressed economy. Depressed, that is, for the middle class and working poor who live paycheck to paycheck, and PA lags behind (47th in job creation) while the “job creators” (how disingenuous) are reaping record gains, thanks to Corbett’s “generosity.”
    It would not surprise me if our current GOP advocated for the privatization of our military!

    1. Michigan is the same way. We have even had to battle to keep the precious art the Detroit Institute of Art has. Not only do they not care about education, they don’t care about our history. Only the wealthy matter. It is very sad. I do not understand how anybody can support this attack on education.

    2. Here in Los Angeles Unified School District we have had more private “Charter” schools created than anywhere else. The majority of the Private schools that are funded by the school district are absolutely corporations. I have seen them on campuses – many teachers have told me they work 10 to 11 hours a day with only 30 minutes off for lunch. They then go home and grade all the papers, lesson plans, etc. I asked them about their salary – so MINIMUM. Maximum salary working is $40,000. How is that money being spent? Some Principals make $300,000 and there are profits obviously in those schools – not spent on the students. WHY would people think that is the way to create good public education? I have heard that many of those teachers are desperately trying to leave the Charter school and move on to a basic salary and work time. Also, the Private Charter Schools kick out low performing students – send them back to their public school area. Again – MIDDLE class is disappearing. Priority is the RICH nationwide. Things must change…

    3. Privatize the military. Now there is an idea. Then the GOP wouldn’t have to worry about taking care of veterans. but it might be kind of expensive. I am sure paid military would want more money than our soldiers get.

  30. These governors must go!!!
    They are ruining our Public Education Systems and rights of our teachers and public employees. The are funding the RICH corporations.
    Where are the people? What will happen to our students? our futures?
    The governors will be the ruin of our states’ economies.
    They must go!
    Please be educated to the tactics of these governors and their “supporters”.

  31. Education for our children is so VERY important! And equally important are the teachers and other educators who instruct our children. To me, it is VITAL that we make it possible that men and women who desire to be educators have the opportunity attend college and receive the education they need to impart knowledge to our children. In Wisconsin, our governor, Walker, and the state legislature, has cut funds for public education! This is abhorrent! Increased funding is needed, not decreased funding. Walker has increased funding to his voucher schools. These voucher schools tests scores and other indicators have shown students lagging behind the public schools. Walker also has declared war on unions, which includes the state’s teacher’s unions. This is very alarming! I hope Wisconsin voters realize how our economy and our schools, teachers and students are being hurt by Walker’s extremist policies. We MUST vote him out of office and replace him with Mary Burke.

  32. MARY FALLIN, Governor of Oklahoma. can give any of the 5 guys you chose a real run for their money for the title of WORST GOVERNOR. She has not made a single rational or humane decision. Check her out and consider adding her name to the list!

  33. Where’s Cuomo of NY? Between his charter schools, common core fiasco, and property tax cap which is killing public schools, he deserves to top the list, not be considered for endorsement!

  34. You NEED Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico up there… she’s a horrible offender and openly in corporate control. AND she’s up for re-election this November.

    1. Which guys? Do gals suck too? Why do they all suck? You could at least write a useful comment, if you’re capable of doing so.

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