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Labor History in Schools Bill Passes State Legislature

For nearly 20 years, unionists in Wisconsin have been trying to make the teaching of labor history in the schools a reality.

Finally, a state law which would make that happen passed. On Tuesday, October 27, the State Senate passed AB172, which calls for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to include the history of organized labor and the collective bargaining process in the state's model academic standards for our schools. The bill passed on a vote of 20-12, including 17 Democrats and three Republicans voting "aye," and 12 Republicans voting "no."

The next step is for Governor Doyle to sign the bill, which he has promised to do.

Since the early 1990's, the Wisconsin Labor History Society, the State AFL-CIO , Teamsters, WEAC and AFT have been urging that the State mandate the teaching of labor history in the schools. While this measure provides no such mandates, it does require the State Superintendent to make the subject part of the state standards, and as such, to provide assistance in teaching the subject.

Senators voting in favor of AB 172: Sens. Carpenter (D), Cowles (R), Decker (D), Ellis (R), Erpenbach (D), Hansen (D), Holperin (D), Hopper (R), Jauch (D), Kreitlow (D), Lassa (D), Lehman (D), Miller (D), Plale (D), Risser (D), Robson (D), Sullivan (D), Taylor (D) and Wirch (D).

Senators voting against AB 172: Sens. Darling (R), Fitzgerald (R), Grothman (R), Harsdorf (R), Kanavas (R), Kapanke (R), Kedzie (R), Lasee (R), Lazich (R), Leibham (R), Olsen (R) and Schultz (R).

Absent: Sen. Vinehout (D)