|Gov. Jim Doyle at the WOAA: Education and Economics
by Jonathan Gramling
|concerned about the general anti-immigrant kind of talk we have these days in this state and in this country. There is no doubt we have a very significant issue, particularly with immigration from Mexico and the numbers. But it seems to me that we have to deal with this in a very rational way where you really try to come up with some reasoned solutions instead of just saying everyone is a criminal and they all ought to go home. Where does that get us? It doesn't help us move forward as a country at all."
And it is precisely the students who originate outside of Wisconsin, including students from around the world, according to Doyle, who help the University of Wisconsin be known as a world-class institution and bring talented people to this state. "I think that many Asians came here because of education and became Asian Americans over time," Doyle said. "That's why it is so important to me that we continue as a state to stand for education."/ And it is Doyle's opinion that out-of-state students and out-of-country students help Wisconsin's economy grow and help it compete within the global economy. Doyle cited several incidents from two of his trade missions to Asia as examples. "I went on a trade mission to Japan, a high-tech mission to Tokyo," Doyle said. "We went to a big conference and then we met with a lot of companies. I hosted a reception for the Wisconsin Alumni Association of Tokyo. There are 2,500 active members, active members of the Wisconsin Alumni Association in Tokyo. These are people who hold degrees, Japanese people for the most part with a small number of Americans now living in Tokyo, from the University of Wisconsin and who returned to Japan. In terms of our ability to do commerce around the world, they are the greatest friends we have in Japan. The head of the national railroad is an engineering graduate from the University of Wisconsin. And when they have choices to make about where they are going to do business in the United States, if everything else is sort of close or even, they are probably going to choose Wisconsin."
Doyle saw other similar possibilities in China, the world's second largest economy behind the United States. "I took the largest trade delegation in the state's history to China," Doyle noted. "We were in a very, very modern production facility outside Beijing where they make medical equipment. And when some people heard I was there, they gathered around me. Ten engineers who were graduates from the University of Wisconsin were working in that facility. They were just thrilled to see me to have a little bit of Wisconsin there. And I was thrilled to see them, to know that a little bit of Wisconsin is in that facility in Beijing."
India, the second fastest growing economy in Asia behind China, also has special ties to the University of Wisconsin according to Doyle. "I'm very proud of the fact that Wisconsin is one of the top five universities in the country in terms of the number of Indian people who hold degrees here," Doyle said. "And again, it is enormously helpful. This is a way that we deeply reach into the cultures and families and traditions of those countries, which are now becoming increasingly economic powerhouses."
After detailing the importance of k-12 education and the vocational-technical school system to our state and their importance for allowing people to educate themselves and improve their lot in life, Doyle expressed his grave concerns that proposed cuts to these systems might have on the every day citizen's chances for upward mobility. He reflected back to an earlier time and the high value that generations past placed on education so that others may advance.
"My parents grew up in the middle of the greatest depression this country ever knew," Doyle emphasized. "Their parents had nothing and yet, they went to great schools. Decades later, my father and mother always bragged about how good their schools were and nothing I could ever do could meet their standards. I went to Stanford, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard Law School. Nothing was as good as Oshkosh High School. But they came from those towns during the Great Depression to Madison to go to a great university. And people had nothing. But what little bit they had, they were willing to invest in a great university. And my parents did what everyone did in those days. They sold magazines on the street corners. They hustled here and there to get a dollar to eat some meals. If my father were alive today and if he were to look around and see all of us driving two cars and living in the houses we have and flat screen televisions and if I were to say to him that we don't have the money in this state to support a good educational system, he would look at me as if I had gone out of my mind. I hold that lesson very closely to me."
It is a lesson on Wisconsin's progressive tradition.
(Photos by Heidi M. Pascual)
|On October 7, Governor James Doyle addressed members of the Wisconsin Organization for Asian Americans at its fall potluck held at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed First Unitarian Meeting House on Madison's near west side. After noting the contributions that Asian Americans have made to the state of Wisconsin, Doyle cut to the heart of his remarks concerning education, which he feels is a shared value across all Asian cultures.|
|One of Doyle's biggest concerns is the forces within Wisconsin that seem to want to turn Wisconsin's educational focus inward. He used the recent controversy over the number of out-of-state students enrolled at Wisconsin's state universities as a platform to underline the importance of the University of Wisconsin ? and its non-residents -- to the state's future. "Our greatest draw of people to this state is people who come here to go to the university and love Wisconsin and find their work here and start their families here," Doyle said. "I am concerned about this idea that we are going to somehow turn inside of ourselves. I'm also very|