Board of Education Candidate Forum of March 27, 2007

Board of Education Candidate Forum of March 27, 2007 was held in the cafeteria of Leopold School.

QT Video
The video of the meeting is 160MB, and 1 hour and 50 minutes long. Click on the image at left to watch the video.
The video contains chapter headings which allow quick navigation to sections of the meeting. The video will play immediately, while the file continues to download.
Moderator: Laura Croft of the Middleton League of Women Voters
Panelists: (from left to right)
       Rick Thomas and Beth Moss,        vying for Seat 3
       Maya Cole and Marj Passman,      vying for Seat 5
       Johnny Winston and Tom Brew,      vying for Seat 4
The topics and questions covered are

  • Opening statements
  • Given that funding for TAG is again being cut, how would you raise money to support such programs?
  • How would you help coordinate the various PTO’s and other community groups to improve school effectiveness?
  • How would you reduce the educational gap between poorer performing kids and more the successful without holding back the more successful kids?
  • The MMSD Administration is proposing to cut SAGE, how would you vote on this proposal and why?
  • Should community service be required of students before graduation?
  • More and more families are leaving the school district because their children are not being academically challenged. How would you deal with this issue?
  • What is your plan to handle the growth in the Leopold-Thoreau area?
  • Shorewood and Fitchburg parent coalitions are being formed to discuss creating their own school districts. Why are these parents so upset?
  • Since the average employee costs the district $50 per hour, shouldn’t the budget gap remedy include employee wage and benefit sacrifices?
  • If you do not want to close schools, where else would you cut, and would that include school athletics?
  • Closing statements.

One thought on “Board of Education Candidate Forum of March 27, 2007”

  1. Early in the tape of this forum — in the candidates’ responses to the first question — there is an excellent example of Marj Passman’s style. She lays into Maya Cole for her lack of understanding about what the Teaching and Learning staff do. In what I expereince as her characteristic “I am the expert here because I was a teacher” tone of voice, she explains that the Teaching and Learning staff are in the schools and in the classrooms working with our children every day. Every day!
    Friends, the Teaching and Learning staff rarely, if ever, work directly with students. (The one exception is the TAG staff — which is why they should be housed in Student Services, like they used to be.) Direct student contact is not in their job description. Here is what a Teaching & Learning staff person told me: “The resource teachers in math, science, literacy, and social studies have almost no contact with students and a decreasing amount with teachers, as their role changes to online facilitating.”
    What disturbs me in this example is Marj’s stance of “I am the expert, only I know what I am talking about, which is why everyone should vote for me” — even in a situation where her information is dead wrong. IMHO, we do not need this sort of “expertise” on our school board.
    BTW, for those of you who are wondering, no, I do not have it out for Ms. Passman (though I will certainly be voting for Maya Cole — and our other independent candidate, Rick Thomas). As I have said elsewhere, I really do appreciate her years of service in the classroom. I have no doubt that she made a difference in the lives of many students. Fact is, Ms. Passman reminds me of a teacher we used to have at Hamilton, a teacher my older son really, really liked (though there, too, we all agreed a bit of “personality softening” might be a good thing). The thing is, I wouldn’t want that excellent teacher on the school board either, and for the same reason I do not want Ms. Passman on the board.

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