The difference between Maya and Marj

Isthmus gave the candidates a chance to make one last pitch for votes before next Tuesday’s election.
The statements of Maya and Marj say a lot about them as people and potential board members.
Marj repeated her line on all of her experience and said:

I have developed a finely honed instinct for what works and what doesn’t.

By contrast Maya said:

The community will be a welcomed partner with our public schools.

In other words, Marj said, “I KNOW what’s right and wrong.” That’s the board majority’s persistent response to outside input. “We know what’s right and wrong. Thank you very much. You can go away now.”
While Maya says, “I welcome a partnership,” which reflects an openness to the community.
I’m voting for Maya.

4 thoughts on “The difference between Maya and Marj”

  1. Thanks for posting this, Ed. As a longtime student of human behavior, I find this difference between the candidates for Seat #5 to be huge. And yet, it’s not talked about much, for some reason, perhaps because so many people have not had the experience of actually being in the presence of these two women and seeing how very diffently they interact with others.
    I recently posted the following on another discussion listserve, in response to an explicit request for a statement of opinion on Ms. Passman:
    As for my own view on Ms. Passman, well, I have been struggling since you posted with whether to respond to that part of your email or not. I have decided to say something because my central issue/concern is just that important to me. As well, it has occurred to me that most voters will not have been in the presence of the candidates when they cast their ballot.
    In addition to her obligation to MTI and her being against any kind of self-selected flexible ability grouping before 11th grade, there is the issue of her interpersonal style and how she is able (or not) to work collaboratively and effectively with others. How does she treat people who do not agree with her? Can she allow that others also have meaningful expertise? As one of many people who stopped going to school board meetings last year because of the board’s chronic dysfunctionality — the result of some members’ arrogance and outright bullying — I truly worry that we risk a return to those days if Marj is elected. I feel she is too emotionally reactive and too verbally impulsive, in ways that can be really destructive. I have witnessed this worrisome behavior on multiple occasions. In some ways, this issue — this troublesome style and potential for real harm to healthy process and function — is the biggest issue in this race for me. Because if the board cannot work together smoothly and respectfully and productively, then no other issue or decision can be addressed well. It is one thing to be the only adult in a class of 13-year-olds, having to manage those 13-year-olds. It is quite another to be one of seven equally competent adults working together in a group, in a position of community leadership.
    I respect and value Marj’s contribution to our community as a longtime teacher; however, I do not think she has the right personality for our school board, especially at this critical juncture in our district’s history.

  2. I find Marj Passman’s clarity refreshing. We know where she stands on major issues – on the side of educational advancement for all students. She has no other agenda.
    On her personality style, I agree that she could be considered dangerous. She tells people that she _loves_ them, she hugs kids and their parents without any reservation, and she often brings in her great sense of humor to lighten the discussion.
    But, I think, all things considered, we should probably stick to the more mundane issues of the candidates positions and the “right” composition of the board. For me, having an experienced and award-winning former teacher on the board is like gold. She supports clear communication and action based on research-based best practices. This is particularly important as we look to hiring the next administrator of the district.
    I respect what Laurie and Ed support Maya Cole. I like her too. She is talented and a solid candidate. She has great supporters and a solid campaign.
    I’m troubled, however, by the absense of any depth behind your argument of how Maya will develop stronger community ties because of her personality style. Why don’t you simply advocate for Maya instead of taking cuts at Marj?
    Don’t discount how Marj Passman will reach out to the community – she is friendly, egaging, respectful, humorous, and clear about her passions to serve the educational needs of children and youth.
    Finally, I think there is no comparison about what the candidates bring to the table and how hard they will work towards the advancement of students in the district. Marj has already gotten my vote (absentee).
    – Jerry

  3. Personal style stands as an issue because the board sank to ineffectivenss due to the personal styles of former board members — long-winded, rambling speeches; reliance only on the opinions of the administration; disrepect for other board members; and more.
    Marj often says, “I know this” or “I know that” instead of saying what Maya says, “I welcome input and innovation.”
    If Marj gets elected, I see a return to the board’s previous dysfunctional style.

  4. I am supporting Marj Passman, because of the depth of her knowledge and experience. The budget problems for MMSD (as well as many other school districts in Wisconsin) are going to continue. The board must also hire a new superintendent. These are huge, difficult issues that will affect how the schools function for some time into the future. I think the knowledge and perspective of an award-winning teacher who has worked at multiple schools in this district for 25 years is an invaluable asset. Severe personality issues can prevent people from working together, but I do not believe this is a real problem for any of the candidates running for the board. So, for me it is a simple matter of assessing each candidate’s experience and stand on issues and how they fit with my own priorities and ideas.

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