Thursday, October 09, 2008

Better, Better Believe in Not Evers

(It's a long time between now and April so headline suggestions will be appreciated.)

When the bad news of November trickles in early, a young man's thoughts turn to the spring. Elizabeth Burmaster will not be seeking re-election as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. This means education reformers* in Wisconsin have a real opportunity to elect to this position a state-wide leader for reform.

The first declared candidate, Deputy Superintendent Tony Evers, is not the one. As I point out in today's Waukesha Freeman, Burmaster's hand-picked replacement has been a defender of the status quo during Burmaster's time in office. Another puppet of the education establishment and teachers unions is not what Wisconsin needs.

Towards the end of the column I drop the name of a possible candidate, Rose Fernandez, president of the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families.

She already has a statewide following, including many union teachers. Fernandez is a media-savvy veteran of fighting the education establishment.

And she’s a winner, having defeated the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Department of Public Instruction to save Wisconsin’s virtual schools. This is a rematch the teachers union, the Democrats in the Legislature and education bureaucrats do not want to have.

Another person considering a run is Dr. Van A Mobley, a professor at Concordia University, who thought my analysis Tuesday of the likely race was "spot on." He recently wrote at length about a possible candidacy for superintendent.

I am not going to make a decision on whether or not to challenge Ms. Burmaster until after the November elections. She has a hard job. Wouldn’t it be nice if she did it – or voluntarily got out of the way? Clearly, somebody must do this job. If Ms. Burmaster continues to demonstrate that she won’t or can’t do it I will ask the people of Wisconsin for their confidence and support as we take on, and accomplish, the hard but critical task of reforming Wisconsin’s education system.