Today’s election is very important. Wisconsin will decide which two candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction will be on the April ballot; districts around the state have significant referendum questions and there are a couple of local Aldermanic races in Madison where there are candidates who I think deserve support (there are also some other primaries for judges and Board of Education and other Aldermanic races around the state). The projected turnout is only 6%-10%, so your vote may make the difference.
First and foremost, Todd Price is the clear choice for State Superintendent. Price has a thorough understanding of the difference quality public education can make in the lives of individuals, the health of our communities and the future of our state. He also has correctly diagnosed and offered solutions to the problems of our state school finance system, our testing regimen, NCLB and more. Most importantly, Todd Price has brought an urgency to this race that others lack. We don’t need another state superintendent who accepts the continued erosion of our schools under a broken state finance system, underfunded programs for our highest need students and the misplaced priorities of NCLB and WKCE. We need a State Superintendent who will challenge our governor, our legislators and our local school officials to do better. Todd Price will be that State Superintendent. Vote for Todd Price.
There are nine referenda in six districts on the ballot today. The districts are Appleton, Clinton, Highland, Salem, Siren and Waupun. I don’t have time this morning to fully explore these measures (if possible, I will add some links later), but essential things like preserving smaller class size (Appleton and Siren), investing in sustainable energy (Clinton), keeping neighborhood schools open (Waupun), paying for books, technology and other learning materials and avoiding further programing cuts will be decided. I hope they all pass.
I am going to offer some quotes from a Todd Price press release and interview on these measures and the system that has led 151 referenda votes since January 1, 2008, most simply to preserve or limit cuts to current programs, maintain or upgrade facilities, or build needed schools.
Price characterizes the need for these votes as “a regrettable symptom of a school finance system that has been harming our students, our communities, and our state for far too long.”…
“Referenda are band aids, temporary fixes. Our districts keep asking for more band aids just to stop the bleeding. It is time to address the real problem; it is time to fix Wisconsin’s broken school finance system.”…
“These campaigns to provide an adequate education for all children divide communities and distract from the essential task of working together for the education of all children,” Price explains. “One neighborhood is pitted against another, people on fixed incomes who can’t afford tax increases but know education is important are frustrated, educators and boards of education spend too much time trying to pass referenda instead of working to improve education; parents and concerned community members end up volunteering on campaigns instead of in the classrooms.”…
Racine Unified is a good example. The district struggles on an annual basis to balance its budget without making significant cuts to programs or going to referendum for extra money. It’s led to a contentious relationship between the district and the public, left schools in disrepair and resulted in relatively poor student performance.
Last, voters in Madison District 2 need to keep one of our city’s most Progressive and hardest working Alders in office — vote for Brenda Konkel. In District 8, newcomer Katrina Flores is the best choice and as a grad student in the School of Education a sure friend to the schools.
Thomas J. Mertz