April fourth’s election results were a resounding success for WEAC Region 6 and our state as a whole. This is great news that we have to celebrate loudly, proudly and often.
Pro-public education and pro-staff Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers defeated his privatization-backing opponent by a margin of 70 percent to 30 percent. All but one of the school referendum questions in our region passed. Region-wide and statewide, the overwhelming majority of school referendum questions have prevailed in the last several election cycles.
Overall, more than 80 percent of the school board candidates Region 6 recommended won on Tuesday night. In Stoughton, three school board candidates who were supported by the Stoughton Education Association and Region 6 defeated three incumbents we did not support.
As public school educators in Wisconsin in 2017, we confront more than our share of bad news, at the ballot box and elsewhere. Many of us were literally in tears when we heard the results of last November’s elections, and most of what has happened in politics and government since then has been mystifying, embarrassing, and, frankly, horrifying. Health care remains under attack, Republican leadership “investigating” Trump’s contacts with Russia is pathetic, and this week the Senate is poised to change nearly 200 years of practice in dismantling the filibuster rules for approving appointments to our nation’s highest court. As union members, we continue to fight attacks against our work and profession. The governor promises more school aid in this year’s budget, but is it really more when he has already more than that away from schools over the years?
That is why it is important to acknowledge and celebrate our successes. Talk to your colleagues about Tuesday night’s results and why they happened. These victories are not simply strokes of good luck. We made them happen with our hard work. We recruited and screened candidates. We talked to our fellow union members and voted on the recommendations. We canvassed, phone-banked and wrote postcards. These victories are examples of what can happen when we get in the arena and join the fight.
In the face of troubling developments in Washington and Madison, we demonstrated Tuesday that we can and do win when we work together to achieve important goals. Our children are depending on us to continue to fight for a more just Wisconsin and America. Unfortunately, we have not always lived up to our potential, as evidenced in last November’s election. Our only choice now is to amend that and stand up for what we believe is important and right. That happened this week. So congratulations on these latest victories and let’s continue to learn from our failures and successes to build momentum.
It is okay if you disagree with me about any of this. If you do, please tell me so. Better yet, maybe you have a success story from your local that you wish I had included in this column. If you do, please email me or call the Region 6 office at 1-800-397-2287. I am always happy to explain myself, and I would love to hear more good news!
President of WEAC Region 6