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State Superintendent Candidate Calls For State Board Of Education

John Humphries Calls On Lawmakers For Constitutional Amendment To Enact Plan

John Humphries
Rich Kremer/WPR

State superintendent of public schools candidate John Humphries wants to create a statewide board of education to serve as a check on the state’s top education administrator.

During a campaign stop at a law firm in Eau Claire, Humphries, of Mount Horeb, said he’ll work with lawmakers on a Constitutional amendment to create the board that would be called the Education Accountability Board. It would consist of nine members, one appointed by the governor and the others appointed by Republican and Democrat lawmakers, Humphries said.

The body would sign off on rules set by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, design a state educational performance report card and audit DPI’s accountability measures.

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“The state superintendent should be accountable to school districts for helping them improve, but there should be appropriate checks and balances on the power of the superintendent,” said Humphries.

Humphries said the state superintendent’s office, which is elected every four years, is too powerful and isn’t accountable to the state Legislature.

He said current State Superintendent Tony Evers has clashed with Republican lawmakers on education policy. He cited a failed attempt by Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, to make the state superintendent an appointed position and an attempt by Gov. Scott Walker to override DPI’s rule-making authority as reasons to create an appointed board of overseers.

“All of those are … indicators of the problem with accountability for the office of state superintendent,” Humphries said.

Evers was critical of Humphries plan.

“We do not need more bureaucracy or more centralized control,” Evers said. “Our founders debated this at length when writing our Constitution, and they wisely created an independent state superintendent for a reason.”