Endorsement: Tony Evers is the clear choice for Superintendent of Public Instruction

Tony Evers seeks a third term as Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction on April 4, and we extol readers not only to vote for him, but also to urge others to do the same. This is a race where the stakes are much higher than you might imagine.

Evers has been given high marks for his performance in office. Though this shouldn’t have to be said, it’s important to say it: Evers supports the public school system — and that fact alone would merit his re-election. We could go on and on with plaudits for Evers’ two terms, but we can’t let pass his opponent’s far-right ideology, questionable ethics, and lack of support for public schools.

Lowell Holtz is an ardent supporter of Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and he’s strongly supported by Gov. Scott Walker and his henchmen.

He also appears ethically challenged.

During the primary, Holtz and fellow right-wing candidate John Humphries battled publicly over a backroom deal they were working on with an undisclosed “business leader.” The deal’s goal was to get one of them to drop out of the race in exchange for a bribe worth $500,000.

The deal went off the table when it went public, and Holtz won.

Further, as superintendent of the Whitnall school district in the southwestern suburbs of Milwaukee, Holtz conducted campaign work while on the job — and while using resources paid for by the public. After gaining access to Holtz’s emails under the open records law that Walker has been trying to gut, the liberal group One Wisconsin Now found that Holtz had been soliciting wealthy Republican donors during his time on the school district’s clock.

The school board is considering taking legal action against Holtz.

The Wisconsin State Journal discovered — also via the open records law — that Holtz gave bleachers from the Whitnall school district to a private religious school attended by his children. He did so without school board approval or knowledge.

We don’t know which is worse — giving away public resources without permission or refusing to send his kids to the school system of which he was in charge.

Battle over public education

As in the rest of the nation, Wisconsin’s public schools are under assault from corporate America and the religious right, who’d sacrifice the nation’s youth to put the “free market” in control of American education. Wealthy voucher-school supporters apparently think there’s money to be made off education, and they want some of the action.

In addition, the corporate right sees an opportunity to indoctrinate American youth into their way of thinking: Greed is good and the needy are losers. The Koch brothers and other ridiculously rich people have been doing this for years at the college level by funding academic chairs and departments, then staffing them with their acolytes.

Then there are the religious voucher-school enthusiasts, who hope to get taxpayer money to teach their version of the science, which includes humans riding on dinosaurs’ backs a la The Flintstones.

So, don’t dismiss this race as unimportant. Your vote for Tony Evers on April 4 could be one of the most significant you’ll ever cast.

For more information, visit tonyforwisconsin.com.