We know that teachers in Wisconsin can be quite political when needed (remember how many marched, rallied, and spoke to protest Act 10?) We also know that educating our children is one of the most important services our government provides. So why is it then, that very few teachers are in the Wisconsin state legislature?
It seems to me that if the state government really wanted to improve public education, the best people to give input are public school teachers. To be sure, many current legislators support public education (my own representative, Rep. Sondy Pope, is one of them), and WEAC does great work advocating for teachers, but the legislature is missing the crucial voices of teachers themselves. Of the current ninety-nine representatives in the WI State Assembly, only one has ever taught in public schools, and in the Senate that number is zero (based on the information in their biographies).
So, where are the teachers in WI state government? We are the ones who see the effects of cuts to education funding every day, and we are some of the most dedicated public servants- working long hours, caring for their students as if they were our own, and even spending our own money on classroom materials. Who better to speak up for public education in Wisconsin than teachers? Is it that teachers don’t run for office? Or perhaps they have but were defeated? If we really want to fix public education, we need to stop talking about it waiting in line for the copier or in the lunchroom; instead, we need teachers to run for office and win.
Thanks for reading.