Question 7 – All Candidates Please explain your views on additional charter schools given the success of Nuestro Mundo here in Madison and several offerings in Appleton just to name a few?
My views on charter schools really come down to the basic idea that if the data shows that they are working, (I believe it does) and parents want to send their kids to them, then we should encourage the greater use of them in our district. We must have a district that parents want to send their children to. If we offer innovative programs with proven success, I see no reason not to offer this as an option for the students and parents in this district.
Question 8 – All Candidates How can the school district provide for second languages to be taught to all students starting in Kindergarten and continuing through all grades?
I believe that knowing a second language is going to be a vital skill for our children in the future. I have also found that it is easiest for children to learn a second language if they start young. Our current system of concentrating on languages at the high school level is not the correct approach in my opinion. I believe that through concentrating our resources on more effective programs K12, responsible budgeting decisions, and partnerships with our many local resources this is something we can not only afford, but will make people want to send their children to Madison’s schools.
Question 9 – All Candidates The Board will be hiring a new superintendent. Please discuss what you believe is the top 3 criteria for a superintendent. You are free to ignore my request to address communication between Board and Administration/Superintendent, Boards communication with public, Superintendent and Public.
While there are many criteria I would use in my selection of a new superintendent, my top 3 are really centered around making MMSD a place people choose to send their children. First, the new superintendent must have a vision for the future and a clear plan to achieve it. This vision should be centered on providing a top quality education for all of our students. The needs of the students and their parents should be the person’s driving value. Second, the new superintendent should be flexible in how we achieve these goals. Innovation and creativity based on research should be encouraged. Third, the new superintendent needs to see the big picture of how the schools fit into the community as a whole. For too long the schools have tried to be an island, and we need to make the whole community connected to the schools. We have great resources in this community that are not being used because they are not part of the traditional educational culture. This needs to be changed so we can make our schools a place where people want to send their children.
Question 10 – All Candidates
What role should School Board, Parents and Educator play in changing state law which adversely affect our schools?
This is really a three part question, and I will answer it that way. First, while I feel that the state laws which adversely affect our schools need to be changed, I do not feel it is the role of the School Board to be constantly working for that change. As a school board we need to put our efforts into creating a high quality district. The Board should work within the system to maximize revenues and spend the money responsibly. There comes a point where we need to quit complaining and do our job. Second, parents can play a huge role in changing the state law through activism and voting. Vote for and support candidates who have your vision for changing the state law. Vote the bums out I always say. Finally, educators can also band together to lobby the state government and work to get good candidates elected. For good or bad, the people in state government listen to the groups that have the most money, and teacher’s unions have a very strong voice that they can use.
Question 11 Rick and Maya What accountability mechanisms do you envision?
There are several things we can do to ensure accountability in our district. First, it is the role of the School Board to insist that every program in our district is evaluated for effectiveness. If a program or curriculum is not producing results, we need to find one that does. Second, we need to hold our administrators accountable for the results they are having in their schools. A bonus program or raises could be dependent on the results we are having. Administrators will manage a lot more effectively if there is a reward for good results. Finally, we need to base our evaluations of teachers on the results they are having. I would work with the union to develop an incentive program to reward our good teachers. I would require our administration to give more support and supervision to teachers who are not having good results so they too can produce the results we will demand from our schools. Accountability is essential if we are to have a school district where parents want to send their children.
Question 12 – All Candidates What is your position on the health insurance issue for teachers, that is the WPS option versus HMO’s?
I feel that we must negotiate this point strongly with MTI. I will not take part in closed door secret agreements to take this important point off the negotiation table. We should be offering more options for teachers so that they can actually make a choice that is right for them. I would propose a plan more similar to the state’s in that a certain level of coverage is paid at 100%, and if you choose the Cadillac plan, you pay the difference. The School Board has not been a good steward of the taxpayer’s money on this issue. We are seriously hampering our ability to attract
new teachers and hurting our children in cutting the number of teachers by not negotiating this point.