Federal Obituary


December 02, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Annette Polly Williams, the longtime Wisconsin lawmaker credited with the 1989 creation of the pioneering Milwaukee school voucher program, died Nov. 9. She was 77.

Ms. Williams said she saw school choice as a way to help low-income and working-class families get a better education for their children. She represented a legislative district that included parts of Milwaukee’s central city and had one of the highest percentages of African-Americans in the state, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“In 1988, being a black Democrat saying ‘I support vouchers’—that was an unbelievably brave stand,” said Howard Fuller, a prominent school choice advocate who served as Milwaukee’s superintendent during the early days of the voucher program, in an interview with Education Week. “I do not think there would be a modern-day parent-choice movement without Polly Williams.”

–Arianna Prothero

Former Georgia Gov. Carl E. Sanders Sr., who was instrumental in desegregating Georgia’s public schools, died Nov. 16. He was 89.


In 1959, a federal judge ordered the Atlanta school board to submit a desegregation plan. Then-Gov. Ernest Vandiver called on 60 advisers to discuss the state’s options: desegregate or close. Fifty-eight urged the governor to defy the order and close schools. Only Mr. Sanders, a state senator at the time, and House Floor Leader Frank Twitty recommended desegregation.

Gov. Vandiver listened to the minority, shutting schools long enough to allow a special legislative session, during which lawmakers amended segregation laws.


A version of this article appeared in the December 03, 2014 edition of Education Week as Obituaries


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal AFT's Randi Weingarten on Kamala Harris: 'She Has a Record of Fighting for Us'
The union head's call to support Kamala Harris is one sign of Democratic support coalescing around the vice president.
5 min read
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, speaks at the organization's annual conference in Houston on July 22, 2024.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, speaks at the organization's biennial conference in Houston on July 22, 2024. She called on union members to support Vice President Kamala Harris the day after President Joe Biden ended his reelection campaign.
via AFT Livestream
Federal Biden Drops Out of Race and Endorses Kamala Harris to Lead the Democratic Ticket
The president's endorsement of Harris makes the vice president the most likely nominee for the Democrats.
3 min read
President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference July 11, 2024, on the final day of the NATO summit in Washington.
President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference July 11, 2024, on the final day of the NATO summit in Washington. He announced Sunday that he was dropping out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris as his replacement for the Democratic nomination.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Federal Opinion The Great Project 2025 Freakout
There's nothing especially scary in the Heritage Foundation's education agenda—nor is it a reliable gauge of another Trump administration.
6 min read
Man lurking behind the American flag, suspicion concept.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Data Is the Federal Agency That Tracks School Data Losing Steam?
A new study of U.S. data agencies finds serious capacity problems at the National Center for Education Statistics.
3 min read
Illustration of data bar charts and line graphs superimposed over a school crossing sign.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty images