Wisconsin GOP senator wants to replace history professors with Ken Burns videos
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) thinks history professors are an extravagant luxury that could be cheaply replaced with video documentaries and Google searches.
Johnson, who is locked in a tough re-election battle against former senator Russ Feingold, argued last week that Ken Burns and following through on invitations to “do your research” were sufficient substitutes for costly college professors, reported Inside Higher Ed.
“We’ve got the internet — you have so much information available,” Johnson told WisPolitics. “Why do you have to keep paying different lecturers to teach the same course? You get one solid lecturer and put it up online and have everybody available to that knowledge for a whole lot cheaper? But that doesn’t play very well to tenured professors in the higher education cartel. So again, we need destructive technology for our higher education system.”
The 61-year-old Johnson, who believes the “Lego Movie” is anti-business propaganda, suggested Ken Burns’ PBS documentary could form the basis of Civil War instruction for all U.S. students.
“One of the examples I always used — if you want to teach the Civil War across the country, are you better off having, I don’t know, tens of thousands of history teachers that kind of know the subject, or would you be better off popping in 14 hours of Ken Burns’s Civil War tape and then have those teachers proctor based on that excellent video production already done?” Johnson said. “You keep duplicating that over all these different subject areas.”
Johnson, a Tea Party favorite, has been trailing Feingold, who he defeated in 2010, for much of his re-election bid, and the Koch brothers-backed Freedom Partners Action Fund pulled $2.2 million in TV ad spending away from his campaign.