Lankella For School Board

Tomorrow’s election is filled with likely outcomes. If you live in Madison, the one vote that really counts is for school board and the clear choice is Badri Lankella.

I would be shocked if Janet Protasiewicz and Satya Rhodes-Conway didn’t win their races for Supreme Court and Madison Mayor, respectively, and by comfortable margins. I also expect all of the referenda on the statewide and Madison ballots will win overwhelmingly, with one minor exception.

There is a question on the Madison ballot about whether the city council should go to staggered two-year terms as opposed to the current system where the whole 20-member council is up every two years. On balance, I figured the staggered terms wouldn’t hurt anything and they might provide some marginal benefit in continuity of leadership, so I voted for it. But I really don’t care.

If you live in Madison the one place where your vote will really count is for the one contested seat on the seven-member school board. (They already have staggered terms and only two seats were up this year. The other is uncontested, but I gave my vote to incumbent Nicki Vander Meulen, who I think has done a reasonable job even if I don’t always agree with her.) Regular readers of YSDA will be well-acquainted with our view here that our schools are the most important institution in our community, that they are in trouble and that the current board majority is the root of the problem.

One board member who has been a voice of reason is Christina Gomez Schmidt. But she’s not running again. The contest to replace her has been way too quiet, buried under the Supreme Court and, to a lesser extent, the mayor’s race. But it’s crucial to have at least a couple of board members who are sensible and focussed on actual education.

Badri Lankella

Badri Lankella is clearly the best choice to replace Gomez Schmidt, both for what he brings and for what his opponent stands for, which is essentially more of the same.

Lankella is an engineer with two kids in the Madison schools. He talks about the need for competition among students to prepare them for a competitive world and he recognizes that the district itself is in competition with private schools and public school districts in neighboring communities. He sees that Madison is losing market share (most of the current board would be aghast that I would refer to “market share” in this context) and he wants to reverse the trend. And when it comes to the achievement gap he wants to address it by seeing each student as a unique individual with promise and challenges as opposed to just another faceless member of a victimized group.

By contrast, his opponent, Blair Mosner Feltham, is the “equitable multi-level system of supports site coordinator” at Sun Prairie East High School. In a recent debate she said, “schools are the product of white supremacy.” And she said her fundamental disagreement with Lankella was with what I consider to be his realistic views on competition, both within the classroom and with other districts. I do appreciate her energy and passion for education, but her views would seem to be in lockstep with the current board majority. It’s healthy to have a different perspective and a respectful clash of ideas. We’d get that with Lankella.

Lankella’s an underdog since Mosner Feltham has the backing of the teacher’s union, which itself is lost in the netherworld of identity politics. All the more reason that Lankella needs your vote.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

5 thoughts on “Lankella For School Board

  1. Yes, I very much hope that Mr. Lankella will win this seat. And I very much agree with you that the current School board is the root of the problems our schools and children are experiencing; sacrifices to the altar of ESG-Wokeism.

    I also voted for and root for Gloria Reyes. SRC’s incremental communism/nanny state politics are designed to destroy life as we know it in Madison. Redefining the meaning of family, forced financing of the Woke agenda, Vision Zero, etc etc etc. Time for SRC to go find her next taxpayer-financed position with the State or Federal gov’t.

    Go Gloria!


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