WI superintendent election nears, candidates make final pitches

Wisconsinites head to the polls Tuesday, April 6 to pick a new state superintendent.

Days before the election, the two women looking to be the next head of schools made their final pitches to voters.

Pecatonica School District Superintendent Jill Underly and former Brown Deer School District Superintendent Deborah Kerr took part in a virtual discussion with the Milwaukee Press Club on Thursday, April 1.

"We have to teach all kids that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," Underly said.

"I want to get back to the basics -- teaching phonics again, getting math and measurement and knowing your numbers well," said Kerr.

Classroom during COVID-19 pandemic

A non-partisan race, the virtual discussion was dominated by coronavirus' impact in the classroom.

"Teachers don’t need to be vaccinated but I am proud of the fact that Wisconsin is rolling out their vaccination plan very well," Kerr said.

"We also need to invest in making sure all of our schools can provide the mental health supports and professionals our kids need -- especially after the trauma this pandemic has caused," said Underly.

The candidates differ on rules for transgender kids in sports.

"I want to play against other biological women and girls -- I don’t think it’s fair to have competition that has otherwise," Kerr said.

"I think that’s rather transphobic, honestly, what Dr. Kerr just said. Kids need to feel safe in their schools," said Underly.

Underly does not want to see public money used for school vouchers, while Kerr supports them and charter schools.

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