2020 Madison School Board Election Candidate Discussions

Logan Wroge (Gomez – Schmidt vs Pearson):

Pearson views full-day 4K and incorporating other cultures into classroom curriculum — “outside of one month” — as strategies to close the gap.

Gomez Schmidt sees a new reading curriculum for kindergarten through fifth grade as crucial in improving outcomes, along with “relevant and rigorous” coursework at the middle and high school levels.

(Nicki Vander Meulen and Wayne Strong):

Strong, a retired Madison police lieutenant, lost a close board race in 2013 and by a larger margin the following year. When Vander Meulen was first elected in 2017, she and incumbent Ed Hughes were the top two vote-getters in a three-way primary, but Hughes dropped out of the race before the general election.

If elected to a second term, Vander Meulen, 41, said she wants to prioritize the “inexcusable” achievement gap, boosting “shameful” reading scores and improving graduation rates for students with disabilities — 50% of students with disabilities graduated on time last spring.

Strong has two main priorities if he joins the board: Putting a “laser focus” on what is causing students to receive out-of-school suspensions and reducing the disproportionate rate of black students who receive those suspensions and ensuring schools are safe for students and teachers.

“If the school climate is such that our kids don’t feel safe, they’re not going to be productive,” the 60-year-old Strong said.

Much more on the April 7, 2020 Madison School Board election, here.