The New York Times wrongly blamed Wisconsin governor Scott Walker for education spending cuts and teacher layoffs that happened before he was in the governor’s office.
A Times op-ed column by Gail Collins claimed that Walker “cut state aid to education” causing teacher layoffs, specifically those of teachers Megan Sampson and Claudia Felske, who were laid off in 2010, she reported.
The column originally stated that teacher “layoffs happened because Walker cut state aid to education.”
The teacher layoffs were because of “a severe budget shortfall, in part tied to declining enrollment” that happened before Walker won office, Politifact Wisconsin reported.
“Walker’s policies had nothing to do with Sampson’s layoff in 2010. At the time, he was in the midst of his successful campaign, but did not take office until January 2011,” according to Politifact.
Collins’ Feb. 13 column, “Scott Walker Needs an Eraser,” argued in part that Walker’s recent speech in Iowa was a “rouser’ and “was about waging war on public employeeunions, particularly the ones for teachers.” It now has an appended correction:
“An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated that teacher layoffs in Milwaukee in 2010 happened because Gov. Scott Walker “cut state aid to education.” The layoffs were made by the city’s school system because of a budget shortfall, before Mr. Walker took office in 2011.”
iMediaEthics has written to Walker’s office for comment. We’ll update with any response.
See tweets about Collins’ error below.
Readers also criticized the column in comments on Collins’ Facebook page.