Anti-public schools candidates crushed in Wisconsin

Date: 17 Aug 2012 | posted in: From the Desk of David Morris, The Public Good | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

With public schools under attack everywhere, a inspiring victory came out of Wisconsin last week.  The American Federation for Children (AFC), a pro school privatization group funded by billionaires from Michigan and millionaires from several other states, entered a slate of candidates in Democratic primaries for the state Assembly and Senate.

The battle was joined when a new pro public education group was founded–Wisconsin Progress. The group’s slogan was ‘Don’t get Mad.  Get Elected.”  As John Nichols reports in the Capital Times, “Of course the AFC had more money. But Wisconsin Progress and its candidates stood for something Wisconsinites value: strong public schools and a commitment by the state and its communities to use taxpayer dollars to back public education — not schemes to move public money into the pockets of private-school operators.”

All AFC backed candidates lost.  All Wisconsin Progress backed candidates won.   It was a clean sweep for public schools, public teachers, and the public good.  With the candidates running in Democratic districts,  the Wisconsin Progress-backed winners are all but certain to become legislators.

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David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and currently ILSR's distinguished fellow. His five non-fiction books range from an analysis of Chilean development to the future of electric power to the transformation of cities and neighborhoods.  For 14 years he was a regular columnist for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. His essays on public policy have appeared in the New York TimesWall Street Journal, Washington PostSalonAlternetCommon Dreams, and the Huffington Post.