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January 22, 2006

MAUE School Board Candidate Forum

Madison United for Academic Excellence [www site] held a Madison School Board candidate forum Tuesday evening, January 17, 2006. Maya Cole, Michael Kelly, Lucy Mathiak and Arlene Silveira participated (election website). Candidate statements and questions appear below:
  1. Opening Statement video
  2. What strategies/ideas do you have that can elevate academic success for ALL MMSD students while avoiding the pitting of parent groups against each other? [Video]
  3. What is one of the most important things you want to accomplish as a board member? [Video]
  4. Many people in our group are concerned that the District's single-minded strategy for closing the achievement gap is to eliminate "high end" learning opportunities and give all students -- regardless of ability, motivation or interest level -- the same curriculum, delivered in completely heterogeneous classrooms. They see this approach being enacted, for example, in the West HS "small learning communities" restructuring and they fear that it will permeate and determine the results of the middle school redesign effort. Do you think that this is a sound strategy for closing the achievement gap? [Video]
  5. As a Board what oversight is currently in place to assess whether the district is sufficiently meeting the academic needs for gifted students? Do you believe the current oversight is sufficient? In particular for both the student population as a whole and on an individual student basis: How is/should progress be measured in the gifted context? [Video]
  6. The school district is once again faced with the dilemma of cutting between 6-10 million dollars from the budget. Where do you think these cuts should come from in the budget? Please tell me where the money is going to come from without suggesting that state or federal funds are not important for all programs. [Video]
  7. How would you address the often heard complaint that special education programs drain too much money from the budget? (Jeff): I later provided some additional information for this question: there are approximately 5000 special education students in the district and special education programs and services account for more than $15 out of every $100 that the district spends. [Video]
  8. Almost three years ago, during the public comments section of a budget-focused BOE meeting, a parent was asking the BOE to put "TAG" ("talented and gifted") services on the "do not cut" list. In response, a BOE member said to him, "Friend, this has nothing to do with minority students. Why should I support it?" Q: How do you react to that assertion/position/logic? Do you think the "TAG" dollars have anything to do with the District's minority students? [Video]
  9. Can you name five good things about the Madison [public] schools? [Video]
  10. Jeff's closing remarks: [Video]
Posted by Jim Zellmer at January 22, 2006 6:43 PM
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