Elections do not just happen in the fall. Here in Wisconsin, we hold annual spring elections for a number of offices. While all elections and the democratic political process are important to us in unions, one race this spring is of particular importance to us.
In the fall of 2008, we helped to elect a pro-labor, pro-education, pro-UW state legislature. This body, or more appropriately the two bodies of the State Assembly and State Senate, impact us tremendously in their decisions on things like funding and higher education policy. But in Wisconsin, we also have an office for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
This person is the highest elected official for education policy in our state, overseeing the public education system from K12 through the higher education system, running the Department of Public Instruction. As importantly, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is the only elected member of the UW Board of Regents, the body that governs the university system and our UW.
Clearly, this election will have a major impact on the policies put in place affecting our day-to-day lives, our work, and our careers – not to mention the entire system in which we operate. But equally important to the implications of who holds the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, this spring election will be something of a statewide referendum on public education in Wisconsin – and beyond.
Our state has a traditional commitment to quality public education. But over the years, this commitment has softened and waned. Funding for the university system from our state is down. The K12 system has eroded in many ways. Privatization and corporatization of education has grown, to the disservice of robust learning and education for democracy. The results of this spring election will have a big impact on us as workers, as students, and as members of the education community. The person in the office will matter and so will the judgment rendered on our commitment to public education.
The TAA will be working this spring to continue its organization and mobilization of members to play a significant role in this critical election. We can impact this election and both elect a candidate who shares our agenda of pro-labor, pro-education, progressive policy and make that agenda resonate loudly and clearly.
We will need your involvement to make the biggest impact possible. To get active on our campaign to advance the pro-labor, pro-education agenda through the democratic political process, please contact the chair of our Political Education Committee, Peter Rickman. And of course, don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, February 17th in the primary and on Tuesday, April 7th in the general election.[Due to campaign finance rules, we are unable to communicate our endorsement of a candidate in this or any election on our website directly. Members of the TAA will receive other individual communication on our endorsement and with any immediate questions on our endorsed candidate, please contact Peter Rickman.]