State Superintendent Tony Evers is up for re-election this spring. He faces formal challengers by John Humphries and Lowell Holtz in the February 21st primary. A fourth candidate, Rick Melcher, is running a write-in campaign. The two candidates receiving the most votes in the primary election will advance to the general election on April 4.
Superintendent Tony Evers is endorsed by the Wisconsin Education Association Council, American Federation of Teachers, and the School Administrators Alliance. Evers is also supported by the Senate Education Committee Chair, Luther Olsen (R-Ripon). Humphries is endorsed by Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), who chairs of the Assembly Committee on Education, and Representative Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee). Holtz is supported by a long list of state legislators as well as the Republican Parties of Barron, Jackson, Sauk, and Washington Counties.
Tony Evers, incumbent:
· Position on Libraries: “Under my leadership, we launching new technology activities in libraries, like the coding project giving librarians the background and resources to nurture development of these skills with youth in their communities.”
· School choice: opposes expansion of the voucher program, wants focus on resources for public schools.
· Common Core: Evers has supported the adoption and implementation of Common Core
· Running on: fixing the school funding formula; increasing graduation rates/reducing achievement gaps; and making sure students graduate ready for college and careers.
Lowell Holtz, Superintendent, Whitnall School District:
· Position on Libraries: “Libraries are a seamless extension of our K-12 school system – before pre-school is commenced, throughout the calendar year, and after diplomas are earned.”
· School choice: supports the school choice program, saying: “I have no problems with the concept of a voucher in every backpack.”
· Common Core: supports the immediate elimination of the Common Core curriculum
· Betsy DeVos: Holtz congratulated DeVos on her confirmation, focusing on DeVos’ support for school choice.
· Other positions: promises to close the achievement gap, reduce administrative burdens on teachers, and return control of education back to local communities and parents.
John Humphries, Director of State & Federal Programs, Dodgeville School District
· Position on Libraries: “Too often, we fail to adequately support collaboration between library/media specialists and classroom teachers to maximize the use of diverse instructional materials… Finally, by requiring certification as a teacher in order to be licensed as a library/media specialist, we limit the supply of skilled professionals in schools.”
· School choice: Supports school choice, believes it improves overall performance in all schools through competition.
· Common Core: Previously in favor of Common Core, now supports abolishment of Common Core and the creation of new Wisconsin-specific standards.
· Betsy DeVos: Humphries congratulated DeVos on her confirmation, emphasizing the opportunities for DeVos to reduce regulatory burdens on schools, students, and teachers.
· Other positions: supports the creation of a state board of education; new school report card criteria; and turning control of “low-performing schools” over to outside operators selected by parents
Rick Melcher (write-in), Teacher, Racine Park High School
· School choice: Believes school choice should be eliminated, and does not produce effective outcomes comparable to the amount being spent on these programs.
· Betsy Devos: Melcher expressed concern with DeVos’ history of campaign donations and the correlation with nomination to position.
Wisconsin Library Association questions:
Wisconsin Eye Interviews: