Wisconsin Working Families Party
Press Release

Wisconsin Working Families Party Endorses Candidates for Milwaukee Board of School Directors

Diverse slate of candidates support public education; oppose corporate profiteering

By - Jan 18th, 2017 11:57 am

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin Working Families announced its first three endorsed candidates for the Milwaukee Board of School Directors. These candidates are committed to public schools and oppose the corporate profiteering that is draining resources from our schools while failing to deliver quality education for our children. With these endorsements, Wisconsin Working Families Party will be working hard to elect candidates who will transform the local school board and how education is delivered in Milwaukee.

The Wisconsin Working Families endorsements are:

District 4 — incumbent Annie Woodward

District 5 — incumbent Larry Miller

District 6 — candidate Dr. Tony Baez

“Millions of public taxpayer dollars are being spent in unaccountable, private voucher and charter school programs lining the pockets of for-profit operators, yet there is no evidence that this investment has paid off for our kids,” said Marina Dimitrijevic, executive director of Wisconsin Working Families. “It’s time to break this cycle and properly fund our public schools in the state’s most diverse city. We can do this by electoralizing our values and turning out the voters who believe in a strong public school system for every child. With the Trump administration hostile to public education, we must ensure that our local school boards reflect those values.”

Wisconsin Working Families has a record of success in electing pro-public education majorities to school boards. In April, 2016, Wisconsin WFP worked with the Racine Education Association to elect eight of nine candidates to the Racine United School Board after Wisconsin’s legislative Republicans forced through a restructure of Racine’s school district governance.

“This slate of Milwaukee School Board candidates will fight for more resources for our public schools and make sure every child in Milwaukee has a fair shot to succeed. We need public school champions elected to office now more than ever and this diverse group of advocates will put our students over profits,” said Kim Schroeder, president of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association and co-chair of Wisconsin Working Families Party

Costly experiments with vouchers and charter schools have not yielded promised results. A study by the Public Policy Forum found that Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination test scores for voucher students lag behind those of MPS students, particularly for voucher students who attend predominantly voucher-funded schools. And schools with high concentrations of voucher students have lower WKCE test scores than their public school counterparts.

Annie Woodward has represented District 4 since 2009. She has consistently voted against funding for charter schools, vouchers, choice schools, and other programs that divert resources away from Milwaukee’s public school students. As someone who dropped out of school, but eventually earned her college degree, Annie’s passion for public education makes her an important bulwark against the forces of moneyed interests and privatization.

“I have been a supporter of Wisconsin Working Families Party since its start because I believe in its vision of social, economic, and racial justice,” said Woodward. “Now as a Working Families candidate, I will have the support to continue my work in upholding that vision and to fight against the forces of privatization that hurt our students, teachers, and community.”

Larry Miller has represented District 5 for eight years and is currently the vice president of the Milwaukee School Public Schools Board. He has been a vocal critic of the forces of privatization and has consistently voted against programs that hurt public schools. Larry believes that privatization benefits the few at the expense of many.

“As a strong believer in the importance of public education in a healthy democracy, I have upheld my commitment to equal funding for all students during my time on the Milwaukee School Board,” said Larry Miller. “With a Working Families Party endorsement, I am communicating to voters in my district that I stand with people, not profits.”

Dr. Tony Baez is a candidate for the open seat in District 6. He is an educator and served as the dean of liberal arts and vice president of academic affairs at the Milwaukee Area Technical College. Dr. Baez, an internationally acclaimed expert in bilingual education, will stand as a strong force for Latino families counting on MPS for the best education for their children.

“Due to the threat of moneyed interests in my district, there is now a greater need than ever for a school board member who represents the interests of the community,” said Tony Baez. “With a Working Families Party endorsement bolstering my expertise in the field of bilingual education and years of experience, I will advocate for quality, meaningful education for all students.”

Wisconsin Working Families plans to mobilize volunteers and members using grassroots, people power to help these endorsed candidates win.

The Working Families Party is a grassroots political organization. With chapters in Wisconsin and a dozen other states, as well as a membership that spans the nation, the Working Families Party works to advance public policies that make a difference in the lives of working people, like raising the minimum wage, stopping bad trade deals, taking on Wall Street, tackling climate change, and combating racial injustice. Working Families brings these issues to the ballot box and the halls of government at the federal, state and local levels.

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