Notes on K-12 $pending and Governance: Wisconsin Edition

David Blaska:

Jill Underly is Wisconsin’s superintendent of public instruction. The position is elected for four years on the Spring non-partisan ballot along with city alders and circuit court judges. We are one of only 12 states to elect them.

One of Jill Underly’s predecessors was Tony Evers, now governor of Wisconsin. A Democrat. If there has been a conservative superintendent of public instruction in Wisconsin, it was long ago. Nonetheless, Jill Underly claims the position is non-partisan. She was endorsed by the teachers union, which gives all its campaign donations to Democrats. (Underly was good for $18,000.)

Thursday 09-21-23, Supt. Jill Underly gave her State of Education speech in the capitol. It was Woke boilerplate. The state’s chief school marm portrayed Wisconsin public schools as impoverished, even after the Republican legislature boosted education spending by $1.2 Billion dollars. Democrats wanted twice that. It’s never enough. Supt. Underly defended the Woke agenda.

Our children’s communities – their classrooms – are also some of the most inclusive and equitable places in our state. … Affirming the lives of our black, Indigenous, and students of color matter is not political. It is a statement of fact.

— Jill Underly, State of Education
What does that even mean? How is a life “affirmed”? Ms. Underly’s prepared remarks used the word “diversity” (or some form thereof) 10 times, “equity” 4 times, “inclusion” 2. At the other end of the scale: “Discipline” 0, “responsibility” 0, and “achievement” 0.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?