Gov. Scott Walker says he wants to earn the college degree that he abandoned decades ago. We hope that is more than an empty promise from a politician.

His attending the innovative University of Wisconsin System’s Flexible Option program would set a powerful example for the many Wisconsin residents who could benefit from going back to school.

There’s truth to the old saying “the more you learn, the more you earn.” In 2013, median weekly income for someone with a bachelor’s degree was $1,108. For someone who stopped with a high school diploma, it was only $651.

Step beyond aggregate statistics, and your mileage varies. Even a college dropout can rise to become governor, and a college graduate can be unemployed. Walker left Marquette University without finishing a degree.

Most people don’t live on those margins, though. That’s why the Flexible Option is so valuable. Wisconsin residents can earn credits on their own schedule, culminating in a degree that will enable them to seek better paying jobs.

Maybe Walker has the same thing in mind, after a sort. A degree might boost his national appeal if he wants to run for president in 2016. America hasn’t elected a president without a college degree since Harry Truman.

Yet Wisconsin voters knew about Walker’s background and elected him anyway — twice.

Even if that is Walker’s motivation, so what? He might seek another job, just as anyone else who pursues a degree through the Flexible Option does.

He’s busy, to be sure. But so is someone working full-time and raising kids. The only serious hurdle now is the limited number of programs available. Walker would need to find one that matches his experience and interests.

If he follows through, he would send an important message to other adults who dropped out of college. It is never too late to go back and finish what you started. Wisconsin makes it possible . even for the governor.

Governor choosing UW Flexible Option program would set great example.


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