You are here

Excerpts from State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly’s 2023 State of Education Address

Thursday, September 21, 2023


DPI Media Line, (608) 266-3559
MADISON — State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly today will deliver the 2023 State of Education Address at the Wisconsin State Capitol.
In her remarks, Dr. Underly will address the state of K-12 education in Wisconsin and will speak to the opportunities and challenges currently facing students, educators, and families. The 2023 State of the Education Address will begin at noon and can be livestreamed on Wisconsin Eye at Below are several excerpts from Dr. Underly’s speech, as prepared for delivery:
On the need for remaining hopeful in times of uncertainty…
“There is so much division and hate – because it’s easy to stoke fear in times of shifting and uncertainty and change … Tearing something down is always easier than building it. And yet, sometimes what is hard can also be what is hopeful. As the poet Amanda Gorman writes, ‘The question isn’t if we will weather this unknown, but how we will weather this unknown together’ – and coming together in times of change is an act of hope.”
On the importance of public schools and educators…
“Hope powers our public schools. Public schools power our communities. Showing up every day to teach and to learn are acts of hope and exercises in humility. Because teaching is an act of hope, and learning is an exercise in humility.”
On embracing Wisconsin’s diversity…
“Our children’s society is more diverse than ours is. Visit any classroom – they are the most diverse communities in our state. It’s a function of their age group and our inclusive public education system, and thanks to this diversity in their present, they will grow up to value it in their future. They already do – one student put it this way: ‘As diverse as we are, when we come together and share, we can learn so much and accomplish a lot.’”
On supporting and advocating for all children…
“All the ‘problems’ and accusations we lob at each other – they are adult problems. Not kid problems. We, as adults and as leaders, are so busy fighting about issues that our children have moved so far beyond – honestly, our kids are the ones who are forward-thinking and future-focused.”
On using teaching and learning to grow as a society…
“Teaching is an act of hope, grounded in a belief in the possibility inherent in teachable moments. Learning is an exercise in humility because it means acknowledging we don’t know everything yet, and because it exhibits a willingness to grow. Teaching and learning taken together is an act of trust in the mess – in the belief that, in the face of uncertainty, growth is possible and also good for us.”

Official Release