Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Wisconsin people need to mark their calendars for February 17 and April 7 to go vote.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson is up for re-election. She is rather activist. Her opponent is Randy Koschnick who has a constructionist perspective on judging the law. One Journal-Sentinel article is here, but there's plenty of info out there on the differences in the candidates.

The position of DPI superintendent is up for grabs. The current superintendent is not seeking re-election. Candidates are:

Tony Evers -- the current deputy superintendent. He has the backing of a variety of organizations in the educational establishment. He is in favor of repealing the QEO (which limits the annual raise teachers may receive in salary/benefits).

Rose Fernandez -- no previous political experience (both a plus and a minus). She recently ran the organization which fought for public e-schools (aka virtual schooling). She has ideas for large changes in how the schools are funded and how the Mwkee schools are run.

Van Mobley -- tv-preacher hair and ambitious (which makes me nervous). But strongly in favor of reducing the mandates on the schools, wants smaller school districts, and thinks that we should hold the line on property taxes so that the schools spend only as much as the public can afford. Also says he's in favor of teaching the basics, character education, and wants to maintain the QEO.

Lowell Holtz -- superintendent and principal, primarily in smaller school districts. Wants the QEO to be eliminated.

Todd Price -- tv-preacher hair. Supported by the Green Party and by Educators Roundtable. In favor of scrapping "No Child Left Behind." Wants to rework funding for schools so that they aren't stuck with such limited funds like they are now.

WisPolitics has a brief run-down on the candidates.

Ten-minute interviews with each candidate can be found at "Here and Now" which is a PBS show aired on Friday evenings. (I assume Holtz is scheduled for this coming Friday since his interview isn't listed yet.)

As noted in an AP story, the position of DPI superintendent is largely an administrative post with little authority to set policy. Honestly, I think I'd be more comfortable with a liberal who "just does the job" than with a conservative who has an agenda to use the position for advocating. All of the candidates have good points and bad points -- although some have significantly more good points and some have significantly more bad points. More information can be found on each candidate by googling his name and "dpi superintendent."


  1. Susan,
    Thanks for posting this. I am really out of the loop. I haven't been getting my usual talk radio fix or reading news headlines. Marking my calendar to vote!

  2. I try to keep the radio off. The only reason I realized anything was coming up was because I got an email today from WPA saying that WPA doesn't endorse candidates or take a stand on those kind of races (in other words, "so would you guys quit asking us to tell you who to vote for").

  3. Are you personally endorsing anyone? It seems to me that Rose F. is best, but wondering your opinion.

  4. Fernandez makes me very uneasy because of her position on virtual schooling. That means I'm stuck with a choice between Evers and Mobley. Evers has been there "just doing the job" so far. Even though the DPI superintendent has no authority to do anything about the issues that the candidates are discussing, they can still use the position to agitate for change if they so desire. As opposed to Grover before them, Benson and Burmaster have been pretty good because they didn't do much of that, but just performed the duties required by their job. That's the kind of superintendent I want now, but the candidates are all talking about "issues." If I have to decide on that basis, then I've got to go for the guy who is against the QEO. Since that is either Fernandez or Mobley, and I don't want Fernandez, I guess it'll probably be Mobley. Unless I change my mind in the next few days. It may be an easier decision in April than next week. So no, Erin, no endorsement from me. Just uneasiness about each and every candidate, but more for some and less for others.