So we admit we’re not really ready for another election after that last cliffhanger, and we also aren’t really up on statewide education policy, being brewers and all, but we’re learning that this next election for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction on April 6 is actually pretty important, and because it involves Wisconsin politics, there’s some dirty stuff going on.
First, let’s get some context.
Most of us over the age of forty have heard all our lives that Wisconsin’s public education system ranked among the top in the United States, which was a point of pride for our little state.
That all changed in 2011 after Republican Governor Scott Walker was elected. In his first budget, Walker enacted the largest per student K-12 education cut in the nation. He also aggressively pursued school privatization, which pushed more money towards unaccountable taxpayer funded voucher schools while cutting money from Wisconsin’s public schools.
Finally, Walker broke the back of the teacher’s union in Wisconsin by passing Act 10, which decimated their ability to collectively bargain. As expected, teachers’ already low pay decreased and their health insurance premiums increased, causing many of them to retire early or leave Wisconsin altogether. Furthermore, the awful rhetoric against teachers from the Republican Party during the Act 10 battle turned many would-be Wisconsin teachers away from the profession.
Only when Scott Walker knew he’d face then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers in the 2018 Wisconsin’s governor’s race did he raise Wisconsin’s public education budget. And Since Evers became Governor, Wisconsin’s public schools have seen a budget increase of over $500 million.
The story of Wisconsin’s public education system over the last decade is a story of being under constant attack from the Republican Party and being saved by the Democratic Party.
Fast Forward to the current race for this important statewide office whose title is hard to remember.
Although it’s supposed to be non-partisan, like our state supreme court elections, this race is split right down party lines, and the Republican side wants to hurt public schools.
Deborah Kerr is the candidate the Anti-Education Republicans are endorsing.
Scott Walker has publicly endorsed her and the billionaire voucher school proponent who funded Betsy Devos is helping finance her campaign. This party, which has morphed into a hateful anti-science cabal pushing misinformation to scare and confuse the electorate, would LOVE to control public education and dumb down Wisconsinites so we no longer can discern facts from conspiracy theories.
Jill Underly is the candidate that everyone who cares about Wisconsin’s public schools are endorsing.
She’s got the endorsement of the teacher’s union and over 80 bipartisan current and former public officials, and has a history of supporting public schools, early childhood education, and educational equity.
So today the Minocqua Brewing Company is publicly endorsing Jill Underly for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Some will ask, “Why would a brewery endorse a political candidate?”
And we answer, “Because we can, and it’s the right thing to do.”
Our Super PAC created this handy little chart for you to share among all of your Wisconsin friends and family who might not know what is at stake in this race and what the actual Superintendent of Public Instruction does.
To sum up, this race is important and the absentee ballots have already been sent to voters. If you care about Wisconsin’s public schools, you need to get out and vote AGAIN, and you need to vote for Jill Underly.
And you need to do it on or before April 6.