State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers says his clear win in Tuesday’s election shows the people of Wisconsin want their public schools to be strong and focus on the needs of kids, rather than arguing about the politics behind those decisions.
Evers easily overcame a challenge from Republican state Representative Don Pridemore, winning by an almost 22 point margin. He says the win is a sign that the people of Wisconsin still value their public schools, after the race became heavily focused in recent weeks on Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to expand a private school voucher program to additional cities in the state. Pridemore favored the plan, while Evers opposes the idea.
AUDIO: Sup. Tony Evers (:37)
The campaign frequently saw the two candidates on opposite sides of issues ranging from school security to how the state should close the achievement gap for minority and economically disadvantaged students. While Evers said he did agree with Pridemore that those issues are concerns, “we just disagreed on how to get there.”
Evers will enter his second term already facing a battle in the Legislature over an expansion of private voucher schools and a state budget plan that freezes spending by school districts. He says his task will be to convince lawmakers and the public that “if you continue to keep public school funding at a level that is less than or equal to the year before, that’s going to cause our reform efforts to fail.”
Pridemore said he was disappointed in the outcome of the race, but vowed that the battle to reform education in Wisconsin will continue.