MADISON —Pecatonica Superintendent Jill Underly’s opposition to school choice is no secret, but she further confirmed it recently when she didn’t bother answering School Choice Action Wisconsin’s 2021 Survey of Candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The teachers union-backed candidate faces Deb Kerr, former superintendent of the Brown Deer School District, in next month’s election. Kerr is a vocal supporter of school choice, saying she would appoint an advocate for school choice to her cabinet.
But the survey delved into a wide range of education topics, including reopening the state’s schools. The candidates were asked their positions on bringing students back to in-person learning. Of course, no answer from Underly. Kerr said parents should have the option to have their kids attend virtual education, but schools should be open five days a week to in-person learning.
“Wisconsin is receiving billions (on top of hundreds of millions) so that schools have the resources to open. Excuses for lack of resources shows the lack of leadership by the status quo DPI,” Kerr said.
Underly has accused her opponent of lying about the research showing the safety of re-opening schools.
“Forcing schools to reopen for in-person learning is simply irresponsible and wrong,” she said Saturday during a virtual press conference.
But the research clearly shows it is long past due to return to in-person learning. Several stories have underscored the adverse social, mental and emotional effects of keeping students locked out of the classroom.
Nine in 10 school districts responding to a USA Today Wisconsin network survey said their failure rates have gone up. That has much to do with the failures of large-scale virtual learning.
The School Choice Wisconsin survey also asked the candidates about Wisconsin‘s school funding system, open enrollment, and education accountability.
Read the full survey here.
SCWA works to empower families by promoting quality education options for families regardless of their zip code or income through education and advocacy, according to the organization.