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Election Preview: State Superintendent of Schools

Incumbent Tony Evers is taking on state Rep. Don Pridemore in the April 2 election for Wisconsin's top education post.

State Superintendent of School Tony Evers will face state Rep. Don Pridemore (R-Hartford) in his bid for re-election in the April 2 election. 

Both candidates in the nonpartisan race say they're focused on improving the quality of education in Wisconsin, but they differ on the best way to accomplish that goal.

Tony Evers

Evers, a Plymouth native, has been the state superintendent of schools since 2009.

He has been in the education field for more than 30 years, working as a teacher, principal, superintendent, regional administrator and deputy state superintendent before being elected to his current post. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1973, a master's degree in 1976 and a doctorate in education administration 1986. 

Additionally, Evers has been a curriculum auditor in Texas, California, Indiana, Kansas and Ohio. He is a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers. Evers also served as the president of the Deputy State Superintendent Leadership Commission.

Don Pridemore

Pridemore was first elected to the state Legislature in 2004. He ran on a platform of smaller government and education reform, according to wisconsinvote.org.

He has served as chairman of the Assembly Education Reform Committee, and he is a member of the Education and Colleges and Universities committees. 

Pridemore, who has never attended public schools, graduated with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University.

Additionally, Pridemore is a Vietnam Era veteran, and has worked as an electronics research technician, an electronics design engineer, and a senior electronics project engineer.

Recently, Pridemore received media backlash when a staffer said he instructed to create a list of reporters the candidate would not grant interviews to during the course of the campaign, reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

The Issues

Pridemore, is a supporter of Act 10, the law that eliminated collective bargaining rights for most public employees, including teachers. The Republcian says he believes unions are taking over public education and have controlled the state superintendent’s office, according to an interview done by The Daily Page.

He also voted for the largest state funding cut to public education under Walker’s 2011 budget. Pridemore insists Act 10's "modest cuts" to teacher take-home pay "gave school districts the tools to more than make up the difference" for the budget cuts, The Daily Page reports.

Evers disagrees with Pridemore's platforms and believes the education cuts were a mistake, according to The Daily Page. 

He believes Walker's 2013 budget won't help make up for the previous cuts and will lead to bigger class sizes, fewer educators and reduced course offerings, according to a statement he made in regards to the budget.

Evers isn't completely on board with voucher schools because he says the schools tend to perform at about a a similar level as Milwaukee Public Schools or worse, reported the Daily Page. 

Pridemore, who moved his family to Hartford to get away from MPS, believes voucher schools are successful because they offer competition. 

Both candidates agree that there needs to be change in Wisconsin's education system. Pridemore believes there should be less union control, while Evers believes public schools should receive more funding. 

Neil A Rubble March 26, 2013 at 03:15 AM
But Captain Midnight....you're living on stolen land! Get out racist. You're remarks focus on ignorance and stupidity.
JKSmalls March 26, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Putting Evers in that position, is like asking Bill Clinton to have lunch with 20 interns in blue dresses.....NOTHING good will come of it. Cover your eyes and listen to their body of work and your choice is clear. Why spread the pathetic MPS legacy across the state? I live in one of the better school districts in the state and after a mere 3 months in a public school, we knew it would be the worst thing we could do to our son. Letting children suffer in mediocrity and teaching emotion vs fact is the greatest injustice of our school systems. Teaching any student through guilt or shame that they are superior or inferior is wrong no matter what color stupid bracelet you slap on your wrist. Since when is it so important to keep looking BACKWARDS and ignore the future?
Greg March 27, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Just because you are too stupid to know that you are a racist doesn't mean that you're not a racist.
Community Lady March 27, 2013 at 06:59 PM
"I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars. I am the red man driven from the land, I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek-- And finding only the same old stupid plan Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak. I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil. I am the worker sold to the machine. I am the Negro, servant to you all. I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--! I am the man who never got ahead, The poorest worker bartered through the years. The millions who have nothing for our pay? For all the dreams we've dreamed Who made America, Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain, Must bring back our mighty dream again. Sure, call me any ugly name you choose-- The steel of freedom does not stain. From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America! Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death, The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies, We, the people, must redeem The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers. The mountains and the endless plain-- All, all the stretch of these great green states-- And make America again! excerpts from a poem by Langston Hughes Half "White", Half "Black" Person who died in 1967
JusticeTroll March 29, 2013 at 07:12 PM
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