Dear Editor: I’m voting for Arlene Silveira for Madison School Board because she has, with words and actions, shown leadership about school resource policy. From the last year’s dialogue I’ve concluded that candidates need to be judged on how they respond to the complex issues. Does he or she problem-solve or position?
I think it’s useful when a candidate focuses on improving communications and helps devise ways to get wider circles involved in resource issues. If a candidate has actually organized people to address resource issues, then she has demonstrated credibility. Arlene has helped organize people toward solutions. I don’t think it is useful when candidates talk ambiguously about trust and perceptions without offering solutions.
I think it’s practical when, in response to state funding failures, a candidate supports interim solutions to minimize the damage. Arlene took a stand on the referendums. I think it’s disingenuous when candidates avoid taking such clear stands, preferring instead to criticize the real outcomes that result from those state failures.
I think it’s responsivewhen candidates offer interim solutions to resource issues so the community can re-evaluate as circumstances change. Arlene helped make those decisions. I think it’s “spin” when a candidate attempts to portray short-term solutions as ignoring planning just to make a political point (especially when long-term planning IS occurring).
I think it’s strategic when candidates talk about districtwide solutions that engage the support of a range of interests from real estate agents to homeowners, parents of students and teachers. As a businesswoman Arlene is credible across that spectrum. I think it erodes support for schools when candidates “work” narrow interests, promising narrow solutions.
Times are tough for our schools. Neocon policies at other levels of government are designed to reduce the expectations of publicly delivered education here and elsewhere. Candidates who resist that drift by bringing people to the process and seeking real solutions counter those damaging intentions.
Arlene has demonstrated a view that school resource policy is not just about her kids, their school or this or that program but is a matter that impacts shared expectations for our schools across the district.
Nick Berigan is a Progressive Dane steering committee member.