So apparently Republican State Rep. Joe Sanfelippo doesn’t want the people of Wisconsin to be able to choose the superintendent of the state’s public school system.
After an appeals court overruled Republican attempts to weaken the powers of the state’s elected schools superintendent, a GOP lawmaker wants to let the governor choose the superintendent rather than voters.
It’s one of several changes that Republicans have made to weaken the powers of state and local officials aligned with Democrats, moves that GOP lawmakers say are needed to make government work more smoothly. Democrats scoff at that, saying the legislation is nothing more than a naked power grab transferring authority from voters to Republican officials.
The current schools superintendent, Tony Evers, has ties to Democrats and in 2011 Gov. Scott Walker and lawmakers attempted to give the governor the power to halt administrative rules issued by Evers. But in February 2015 a state appeals court upheld a lower court decision striking down that move as unconstitutional given that the state’s charter says that “the supervision of public instruction shall be vested in a state superintendent” elected to four-year terms in officially non-nonpartisan elections.
That case is now before the state Supreme Court, but Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) isn’t waiting on the high court to decide it. Instead Sanfelippo is proposing a constitutional amendment to stop electing superintendents, saying that Evers and the Department of Public Instruction haven’t done enough to improve schools that are struggling in some parts of the state.
I’m not entirely sure why anyone would think it would be a good idea to hand over control of our state’s public school system to a governor who doesn’t exactly have a track record of educational achievement or know-how, but apparently Joe Sanfelippo sees logic where others see nothing but failure.