Getting Linda Cross-wise with the Super of Education

Memo to Linda Cross: A good conservative Republican, name of Scott Walker, has been governor of the State of Wisconsin since January 2011. Here we are, seven years in, and the statewide school chief is a liberal Democrat.

The state superintendent of public instruction is ALWAYS a liberal Democrat no matter who is governor. A liberal Democrat won no matter what the Republican challenger, whether it was Dr. Lowell Holtz in last week Tuesday’s election, whether it was State Rep. Don Pridemore four years earlier, whether it was Rose Fernandez in 2009, whether it was State Rep. Greg Underheim in 2005, or whether it was (cough) Linda Cross in 2001.

That the definition of madness, Linda — doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Which is why your Humble Scribe, posted to the Republican state convention as a delegate last year, introduced a measure to bring education into the big tent of the governor’s appointed cabinet. The only major governmental enterprise relegated to an off-year, little noted election.

We have no patience with the prattling of so-called good government goo-goos that education should be “above” politics. That’s prog-speak for “let the experts make the decisions.” We know who those experts are: the teachers unions. Nor are we fooled by the non-partisan label attached to these off-year elections. They are as partisan as a a Tammy Baldwin fund-raising letter.

Education, in fact, is the most partisan of all endeavors. More partisan than the environment, highway safety, insurance, veterans affairs, taxation, child welfare, banking, health, or job creation. All of which are answerable to the governor, though his appointed cabinet secretaries. The governor, of course, is answerable to the people. It is how these endeavors are arranged at the federal level (the president appoints the attorney general as well as the secretary of education; it Wisconsin, the A.G. is elected).

It is about accountability. Shouldn’t education be at the same table as transportation, natural resources, taxation?

But you, Linda Cross, were worried what might happen if a Democrat were elected governor. Might said Democrat appoint a liberal secretary of education? You asked that question during debate at the 2016 Republican state convention over my proposed constitutional amendment. Worry no more, failed candidate Cross. A Democrat is certain to appoint a liberal secretary of education.

But when the people vote into office a conservative Republican, we can be assured that said governor will appoint a conservative to oversee education. A conservative who will encourage school reform, who will welcome school choice, who will put a spike into common core — unlike the spate of liberals running the education shop.

Somehow, your reputation as a candidate for superintendent of public instruction — fail though you did — carried the day. Convention delegates narrowly defeated my proposal for a constitutional amendment to allow the appointment of a cabinet-level department of education.

That kind of thinking gave us another four years of liberal, teachers union toady Tony Evers. Even with Scott Walker in the governor’s mansion. Nice going, Linda Cross.


About David Blaska

Madison WI
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16 Responses to Getting Linda Cross-wise with the Super of Education

  1. Dan B. says:

    So what you’re saying is, you’re just as effective on the convention floor as you are in advocating for a city council candidate.


  2. Betty says:

    Aww gee; I bet you really hurt Dave’s feelings.
    Personal attacks are what people spout when devoid of anything constructive or meaningful to say.
    A typical and tiresome Librat maneuver these days.
    I am certain you can do better. You just have to try.


  3. old baldy says:

    I don’t know if you noticed, but the head of DPI is a non-partisan elected official. A Baldwin fund-raising letter is partisan, no denying that. Hence your “liberal Democrat” claim is yet another of your alternative facts. Heck, that claim qualifies as an opinion without substance.

    Look back at the candidates the non-partisan “conservatives” have offered up over the years: Pridemore (incompetent at any level), Cross (wackadoodle), Holtz (crooked). What other outcome did you expect? Underheim was the best of the lot but really wasn’t crazy enough to ignite the folks like you. And he really never seemed to have his heart in the race.

    “Education, in fact, is the most partisan of all endeavors….” That whole paragraph is nonsense. Public education is run by elected NON-PARTISAN school boards. You should be well aware of that as you are constantly whining about the Madison SB. School boards aren’t made up of liberals or conservative, R’s or D’s, but rather local citizens interested in providing the best educational opportunities for kids in their SD. And why make the head of DPI even more of a political position by placing it in the governors cabinet (45% approval rating and sinking) rather than hold that position accountable to the statewide electorate ? For a great example of how to screw up an independent agency look what Thompson/McCallum/Doyle/Walker did to the DNR. Highly political, underfunded and understaffed and poorly operated.

    So quit whining about Cross outsmarting you and run for the local SB in two years Offer up solutions, policy, etc that will make for a better educational system. Or shut up.


    • Patricko says:

      “School boards aren’t made up of liberals or conservative, R’s or D’s, but rather local citizens interested in providing the best educational opportunities for kids in their SD.”

      Too funny! As if saying that a race is nonpartisan, makes it so.

      If you want to make the superintendent’s race and the school board races competitive, just move them to November. But that will never happen as long as the teachers have any say. They’d lose every race.


  4. David Blaska says:

    First of all, no one tells the Squire to shut up in his own Manor. Next time you do that, Baldman, and you’re out for good. Secondly, read for comprehension and retention. The Policy Werkes is stocked with policy recommendations up to and including school choice (i.e. competition), charter schools devoted to bringing young black men up to code, and Discipline (the foundation of all learning). Third, don’t B.S. me with “the school board is non-partisan.” You think liberal-progressive-socialists haven’t been running the Madison schools for several generations? Even you know better than that. You think the teachers union doesn’t funnel money to Democrats? You think Tammy Baldwin hasn’t been making hay on the Betsy DeVos appointment? (I get her fund-raising appeals even if you don’t.) You think the Democratic Party of Dane County hasn’t been endorsing their candidates in so-called non-partisan races? “Congratulations to all of our candidates on the great races they ran this season. On April 4 we re-elected Tony Evers … and overall won in 35 of the 38 races where we made an endorsement.” Here’s the link:

    Next time you enter the Stately Manor, Baldy, wipe your feet and get your facts straight. “Education is non-partisan”!!!! What a laugh.


    • old baldy says:

      I apologize about the “shut up” comment. I forgot that freedom of speech is a one way street in your neighborhood.
      Just for your (and patrickos) edification, the head of DPI is a constitutional non-partisan office and has been since 1902. That non-partisan status is also codified in Ch 115 of the Statutes. So, by definition, your claim is incorrect. For your additional reading pleasure, take time to read Thompson v. Craney (1996) and learn all about TGT’s failed attempt to politicize the position make it appointed.

      I don’t know about you poor folks in Madison, but up here the ballot last week didn’t indicate an R or a D after Evers or Holtz, nor was there an R or D after any of the 4 good folks running for the 2 open slots on our local SB. We don’t resort to labeling our school board members like you feel the need. We just call them friends, neighbors, plumbers, farmers, PEs, landscapers, VP at the Co-op, rural folks and city folks. It’s a shame that Madison can’t come up with folks like that to run, hence my suggestion that you do.

      Equating school choice with competition is a really silly thing to say. There aren’t any choice schools competing for special needs kids that the public schools are required to take, nor is there any competition among choice schools to have the same reporting requirements as public schools.

      I’ll wipe my feet on the way out, thank you .


      • David Blaska says:

        Which is why I am advocating a constitutional amendment, Baldy., not TGT’s statutory change. It’s not the Squire of the Stately Manor who “label our school board members like you feel the need.” It’s the Democratic Party of Dane County. Yes, we’d love to see some farmers run for School Board in Madison. If there were any. State Rep. Keith Ripp is a farmer and he’s a big supporter of school choice. But he lives in rural Dane County. I’d settle for some plumbers and landscapers. Would never pass muster of the teachers union or the Democratic party (but I repeat myself).

        I concede the point that the Super of Public Instruction may have been non-partisan in 1902 but it was partisan before that and it is partisan now. Just no truth in advertising. If you really think Tony Evers wasn’t the Democrats’ candidate you are a special kind of naive.

        As for special needs students, quit repeating Rachel Maddow’s talking points. State law prevents private schools in the parental choice program from discriminating against students with special needs. Students can only be denied admission to the program based on income and residency rules.


      • old baldy says:

        Your statement “The state superintendent of public instruction is ALWAYS a liberal Democrat”, is in direct contradiction to your later claim that, “It’s not the Squire of the Stately Manor who “label our school board members like you feel the need.” It’s the Democratic Party of Dane County”. A little cog diss going on there? Or just denial.

        Regardless, you want to politicize the DPI even more on a statewide basis because of your petty feud with SB members in Madison. Those on the right (what a strange term for control freaks) have been claiming for years that decisions made in Madison really don’t apply to outstate WI. Now you are promoting a constitutional change to allegedly cure a problem that only affects your little part of the world. All the more reason for you to get out of your comfort zone, travel north of Hwy 19 sometime, or better yet, north of 8.

        You may think that Evers was the D’s candidate, but up here, where Trump got ~60% last fall, (and you never get elected to a partisan position with a D after your name) Evers got 61%. And Evers got 70% statewide in a state carried by Trump and Walker. You are in denial again.

        I don’t know what Rachel Maddow says as I never watch her, but I do know that the only voucher school in our county is not required to accept any child they don’t want to, but our public school does. You really do need to get out of Stately Manor and travel the rest of the state. It will do you some good..


  5. coolkevs says:

    I see that somebody is going around like Snow White kissing the bluebirds.
    Sure, they don’t have a D or R next to their name, but the politics sure oozes out of them. I guess the state Supreme Court race was the most non-partisan of them all, as they couldn’t find anybody to run against Ziegler.


  6. madisonexpat says:

    You know they’re lying when you hear;
    “Shucks, I’m just a country boy”
    “It’s not about…”
    “Its non partisan.”

    Hey Baldy, If school boards are non partisan, so was Act 10. How much did that cost your party?


  7. Patricko says:


    NINO – Nonpartisan In Name Only. Just because they don’t have an R or a D after their name on the ballot, doesn’t mean we all don’t know who they are.

    The respective showings of Trump and Evers is perfectly explained by the fact that Evers only runs in spring elections, while Trump ran in November. If you don’t understand difference between those two distinctly different electorates, then you have no business commenting on a political blog at all.


    • old baldy says:


      That isn’t an explanation, it’s an excuse, and a pretty lame one. The state constitution says that the head of DPI is elected in the spring and it is same for anybody running for that position. The electorates are exactly the same, all the eligible voters in WI. Or are going to pull a trump and say the April 4th election was rigged?? Maybe it is you that should stay away from political blogs…


      • Patricko says:

        Electorate was the wrong term for me to use. You are correct that the same people are eligible to vote. However, the makeup of the actual voters that show up are not the same, and I’m sure you know that. It’s not a criticism of the teachers unions that they know how to use their leverage, but it does make the comparisons such as yours between Evers and Trump’s numbers silly and meaningless.


  8. old baldy says:


    Teachers unions can only be a player in the spring elections? Conservative republicans turned away from the polls only in the spring? If you have proof of those situations please share. If not, then blame Evers win on apathetic conservatives, or more correctly, on the fact that the conservatives haven’t been able to field an electable candidate in years…. And you keep talking about teachers unions, yet Act 10 gutted the unions and they really have no sway in much of anything . In the 5 districts in our county only one has an organization even remotely resembling a union.


    • Patricko says:

      Apathetic conservatives are surely to blame for electing Evers. Who do you blame for Trump, apathetic liberals? But you see, I wasn’t assigning blame, I was merely pointing out the invalidity of your electoral comparison. Every teacher in the state votes in April, likely in greater numbers than they even do in November. That’s to their advantage, Good for them. And if there was a spring election for Governor, their advantage would evaporate just as quickly. No conservative is electable in the spring, and it has nothing to do with the particular candidate.


      • old baldy says:

        Yup, apathetic D’s got trump elected. No argument from me on that.

        The rest of your comment is without a factual basis. Poor attempt.


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