Todd Price profiled in Kenosha News

Posted by Ronald Hardy at Green Party Watch

Local candidate for state education post pushes new ideas, better pay for teachers

Price is a professor at National-Louis University where he teaches a variety of education and contemporary policy classes for future teachers and those going back to school for graduate classes.

“For me, it’s public service,” he said. “I’m very happy with my job, but we’re entering a new era for public education where the old answers are not going to do it anymore. Moving forward, we have to look at teacher quality, and the issue there is we need to ramp up the pay for teachers, professionalize the teacher corps and look at how students are doing each year.”

Price said the current public school financing hamstrings urban districts such as Kenosha and Racine, and he’d like to see a constitutional amendment to equalize the school funding formula.

“The idea is to not take away from wealthier districts like Whitefish Bay, but allow every district of wealthy and modest means the same access to funds,” he said. “We have to look at everything on the table. Some states are looking at getting money from gambling. I’m not opposed to gambling, but I am opposed to gambling on kids’ futures. We have to come up with answers so middle class homeowners aren’t priced out of their home, paying for referendums.”

Price, 45, criticized current state superintendent Libby Burmaster’s stance on virtual schools. At first she did not question them, but then spoke out against the Wisconsin Virtual Academy when the state teachers union sued the school and her.

“That was an instance of a lack of leadership,” Price said. “What we call online education is going to be a blended education in the future. More than likely, schools will need to do more with the Internet, but to supplement the education and not replace it. We need to think of the public first and how to embrace a unique idea in the framework of public education.”

Price also said he is opposed to vouchers, but supports charter schools if they are managed by local boards, like Kenosha’s charter schools.

“When taxes go to a for-profit agency, then it loses credibility,” Price said.

If he is elected, Price said he supports fully funding No Child Left Behind or dismantling the program and giving control back to local districts. He wrote about his feelings in the book, “The Myth and Reality of No Child Left Behind: Public Education and High Stakes Assessment.”

“I think it might have been started by some people who had good intentions, and some who didn’t,” he said. “But I’m really anxious about the federal government having too much involvement, and under No Child Left Behind, it’s very disproportionate. I’m against that. I’m in favor of local control and local decision making.”

Price said he has a history of forming unions while working as a graduate student and calls himself one of the most pro-labor candidates.

“I would hope (the Wisconsin Education Association) gives everyone a chance to make their case for endorsement,” Price said. “I can stand up with anyone on labor issues, plus I have the flexibility of not being constrained by any particular union.

“This is an open field. Running is a duty of being a citizen if you want to get your ideas out there. I would argue that in a democracy we have to be open to debate from everyone.”

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