A look at state Board of Education candidates

Print
Email
|

Associated Press

Posted on October 3, 2010 at 5:01 AM

Updated Sunday, Oct 3 at 5:01 AM

NAME: Karen Adams

AGE: 53 (Born May 15, 1957)

RESIDENCE: Lake Odessa

PARTY: U.S. Taxpayers Party

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in religious education, Reformed Bible College (now Kuyper College), 1982.

POLITICAL CAREER: Ran unsuccessfully for University of Michigan Board of Regents in 2004, 2006.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Full-time wife and mother.

PERSONAL: Married to Phillip; seven children.

ONLINE: None

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE:

The children of Michigan deserve the best possible education available. Close, supervised parental involvement being essential to success, I believe that the State Board of Education should focus on providing the best quality education available for each district, and to do so by giving back the authority of decisions and responsibilities to parents' choices and decisions as it used to be. The State Board of Education, while well-intentioned, has become a socialization machine and needs to get back to the task of providing quality education, and education alone. More money is spent and less is accomplished the greater the "arm of education" has become. Literacy and graduation rates fall continuously, but we keep getting bigger.

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN:

I chose to run for the State Board of Education because the children of this state need someone with a determined will to see that common sense prevails and not special interest groups. This is my passion. I have sent my seven children to public schools, private school and home school. I am familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of each. I have the experience with teaching in classrooms and in my home to know what works. It's time to get things working again. The entire classroom structure is geared for a certain type of learner, and everyone else must adapt or fail.

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN:

The people of Michigan are burdened enough with taxes. We do not need to go scrounging for more money. We can do more with education on a reduced budget. I am for opening up the availability of charter schools and any other type of school in any area that can meet normal qualifications for educating its students. Give parents a choice. Stop forcing them to submit their children to a pre-established, predetermined, proven failure. I realize that there are many fine schools out there, with dedicated teachers. But if the system is bad, true success is the exception.

___

NAME: Elizabeth W. Bauer

AGE: 72 (Born Dec. 28, 1937)

RESIDENCE: Birmingham

PARTY: Democratic

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, Mount Holyoke College, 1959; master of arts degree, education of exceptional children, Ohio State University, 1975; post-master's degree work in education administration, Wayne State University, 1975-1976; doctoral student in education administration, Michigan State University, 1976-1978.

POLITICAL CAREER: State Board of Education, 2003-present.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Speech pathologist, Pontiac schools' teacher and consultant, program director for Michigan Department of Mental Health, executive director of Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service Inc.

PERSONAL: Married to George Bauer; four children.

ONLINE: http://www.bauer4stateboard.com

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE:

Improving the educational opportunities for all students, such as elevating educational leadership, creating inclusive learning environments, ensuring continued high standards for students and teachers, enriching the curriculum including arts, Universal Design for Learning, differentiated instruction, co-teaching, career technology opportunities, and increased use of technology in teaching and learning, increasing time for instruction — not necessarily "seat time."

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN:

To continue the work begun in 2002. I ran then to bring the voices of students, families and educators to the policy table. Policy is best when informed by the people it affects. My efforts with others resulted in the board's current framework and foundation for policy development of Universal Education: Vision and Principles. Since October 2005, all board policy is founded on these principles. Students, families and teachers need a champion at the policy table to ensure the educational needs of students are met and they develop skills needed in the 21st century: critical thinking, problem solving and team work.

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN:

I support reform of the delivery system to eliminate redundant administrative functions; consolidation of services and some districts; review of Proposal A formula and revision if needed; extension of sales tax to services; and a graduated income tax. I would hold discussions around the state to create mutual understanding of the problem and gain more creative ideas for its solution. The people must be engaged in problem-solving if sustainable solutions are to be developed and implemented.

___

NAME: Dick Gach

AGE: 83 (born October 27, 1926)

RESIDENCE: Southfield

PARTY: Libertarian

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in physics, University of Michigan, 1949.

POLITICAL CAREER: Active in Libertarian Party; ran unsuccessfully for 8th District congressional seat, 2006.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: House builder, 1953-present; civilian technology representative assigned to the U.S. Air Force in the far East, 1950-51; U.S. Navy, 1944-46.

PERSONAL: Widowed.

ONLINE: None.

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE:

Support of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual community in regard to public education. Although I am not a part of this community, I feel that those who are need stronger support for equal rights in our society.

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN:

I would like to make a contribution to the running of our country in the extremely important area of education.

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN:

I will carefully consider any such proposals that come before the board. I have no new suggestions at this time.

___

NAME: Bill Hall

AGE: 54 (Born July 13, 1956)

RESIDENCE: Kent County's Courtland Township

PARTY: Libertarian

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in liberal arts, Wabash College, 1978; law degree, Northwestern University School of Law, 1981.

POLITICAL CAREER: Ran unsuccessfully for State Board of Education in 2008, attorney general in 2006, Michigan State University Board of Trustees in 2004, University of Michigan Board of Regents in 1996, 1998 and 2002, Kent County Board of Commissioners in 2000.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Attorney and partner, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, 1981-present; served as general counsel to the Libertarian National Committee for about 20 years.

PERSONAL: Married to Vicki; two children.

ONLINE: http://www.lpwm.org/BillHall

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE:

We need to cut spending, live within our means and focus our energies on academic initiatives that don't increase costs, not extend the school year and require parents to send their toddlers to public preschool and all-day kindergarten. Test scores show that today's level of educational achievement in public schools is at practically the same level as 30 years ago, though we are now spending dramatically more inflation-adjusted dollars on public education. Spending more money on public education is clearly not the answer.

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN:

On May 11, the current state Board of Education endorsed a plan to dramatically raise sales and income taxes to fund $3 billion in additional education spending. I oppose this plan. We should be cutting, not raising, spending. We should be reducing, not increasing, the tax burden on Michigan families and businesses. We need an independent voice on the state Board of Education who will speak out against more spending and more taxes.

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN:

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has identified billions of dollars of savings to be had by privatizing noncore functions of our public schools — transportation, food services and facilities management. Through collaboration (not consolidation) among school districts in the purchase of goods and services, millions more dollars can be saved. Let's use some common sense for a change, and exercise some fiscal restraint.

___

NAME: Stacy Kohmescher

AGE: 38 (Born November 1971)

RESDIENCE: Linden

PARTY: Natural Law

EDUCATION: N/A

POLITICAL CAREER:N/A

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: N/A

PERSONAL: N/A

ONLINE: N/A

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE: N/A

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN: N/A

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN: N/A

___

NAME: Ronald Monroe

AGE: 76 (Born December 1933)

PARTY: U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan

RESIDENCE: Clarkston

EDUCATION: N/A

POLITICAL CAREER:N/A

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: N/A

PERSONAL: N/A

ONLINE: N/A

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE: N/A

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN: N/A

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN: N/A

___

NAME: Lupe Ramos-Montigny

AGE: 66 (Born Dec. 12, 1943)

RESIDENCE: Grand Rapids

PARTY: Democratic

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, Pan American University; master's degree, Grand Valley State University.

POLITICAL CAREER: Second vice chair, Michigan Democratic Party; former Kent County Democratic Party chairwoman.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Retired public school teacher, active in Michigan Education Association.

PERSONAL: Two children.

ONLINE: http://www.friends2electlupe4sbe.com

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE:

Reform and restructuring have to occur, but a strong base of services must continue in order to provide a strong academic structure for all students. I am particularly interested in the partners involved in the "circle of success" as it pertains to strong quality teaching and learning — the student, the family, the educators and the community. Let's compare the partners to the links in a chain; if there is a missing link, the chain is broken. This is true in the education of our students. My work will diligently emphasize everything from finance reform to stopping bullying on the playground.

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN:

As a teenager, I was introduced to our beautiful state as a migrant farm worker. We traveled from Texas to hoe beets in Caseville and pick cherries in Old Mission Peninsula. I was born in Weslaco, Texas. After 36 years of working in the Michigan public schools, I retired, and my commitment continues. It is my desire to continue serving the students of Michigan in a different capacity. I have the passion and energy to help reform and restructure our public schools.

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN:

Our state is being challenged by long-term financial difficulties. Costs need to be cut and resources must be directed to support quality education, in quality buildings, with quality personnel. Funding must be distributed in a predictable manner in order for school districts to make effective decisions. An equitable base amount of financial support must be available to all schools. Our problems have to be reformed and restructured in a creative manner understanding that the problems cannot be solved solely with additional cuts or more money. The state Board of Education must be vigilant providing the "leadership and general supervision" as required.

___

NAME: Latham Redding

AGE: 65 (Born July 1945)

RESIDENCE: Detroit

PARTY: Green Party

EDUCATION: N/A

POLITICAL CAREER:N/A

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: N/A

PERSONAL: N/A

ONLINE: N/A

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE: N/A

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN: N/A

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN: N/A

___

NAME: Eileen Weiser

AGE: 59 (Born October 1, 1950)

RESIDENCE: Ann Arbor

PARTY: Republican

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, piano performance, Michigan State University, 1972; master's degree, piano performance, University of Michigan. 1975.

POLITICAL CAREER: State Board of Education, 1998-2006.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: National Assessment Governing Board member, 2003-present; member, State Board of Education Professional Standards Commission for Teachers, 2008-2010; McKinley Foundation executive director,1988-2001; former classical pianist (soloist, accompanist and teacher), real estate broker.

PERSONAL: Married to Ron; three children.

ONLINE: None.

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE:

Helping Michigan pull together its political, educational and civic leadership to forge a different educational environment for its children. For our state's long-term stability, we need to create a highly educated work force that can attract new job opportunities to our state even during this era of diminishing state revenue and funding. We must re-imagine how our schools work, find ways to lower costs and focus resources to keep cuts as far from the classroom as possible, and agree on long-term priorities for stabilizing educational funding in the future.

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN:

As the mother of a public school fourth-grader with learning disabilities, I understand the practical issues our schools face. I'm a frequent volunteer in my son's school, and a passionate supporter of good schools and good teachers. I have a wide-ranging knowledge of assessment and of successful educational practices in our state and throughout the country. I want to bring my experience to the board to help develop innovative, thoughtful and workable policies for K-12 schools in this difficult financial environment.

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN:

Every Michigan student deserves a successful education with good teachers. For high needs areas and subjects like math and sciences, quality distance learning and alternate routes to teacher certification like Teach for America are strong resources. I support consolidating or privatizing noninstructional services for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Runaway pension costs must be shifted from defined benefits to a defined contribution system. Integrating special education with general education would provide better learning and eliminate costly silos. Long-term, Michigan leaders must decide together how much pre-K through post-secondary education we can afford, then secure funding while helping schools restructure for the future.

___

NAME: Mary T. Wood

AGE: 56

RESIDENCE: Warren

PARTY: Green Party

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in family and consumer resources, Wayne State University, 1976; master's degree in nutrition, Eastern Michigan University, 1983.

POLITICAL CAREER: Citizen advocate for charter school accountability since 1999.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Researcher of charter school law and oversight of schools operations.

PERSONAL: Married to Gerald; five children.

ONLINE: None.

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE:

Accountability of the disbursement of state aid for charter schools. About 10 percent of the state aid, plus millions of federal dollars, support charter schools. The board must give yearly recommendations to the Legislature about these schools that were originally designed to be laboratories for new and better education environments. The state's 552 local school districts have had to eliminate staff, close schools and decrease programming to balance their budgets. The new 250-plus charter school districts spend funds on additional buildings, administrators, and in most cases offer bare bones education. Are we truly getting a better value for our money?

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN: Since 1999, I have been monitoring and researching the creation and operations of charter schools from an angle nobody else has looked at. My 100, five-minute monthly public testimonies limited me from any serious discussions about my concerns. When charters have been on the board's agenda I have not been able to give input. The depth of the board's discussion is often directed by the very people that I have raised concern about. Current board members do not know any different due to their limited knowledge about the subject. I would be an asset for accountability of the expenditure of tax money.

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN:

This past spring the board had serious discussions and developed recommendations to better support the state's education system. I totally stand behind this bipartisan report. It is absolutely necessary that education be funded consistently and adequately for local districts to plan and implement a successful quality education program. But a serious look has to be given to those districts already in deficit. Detroit's public school district was expected to reduce its expenditures to cover debt at the same time it continued to lose more student revenue. It is the children who continue to suffer the effects.

___

NAME: Richard Zeile

AGE: 55 (Born March 12, 1955)

RESIDENCE: Detroit

PARTY: Republican

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in history and humanities, Valparaiso University, 1977; master's degree in education, University of Michigan,1980; master of theological studies in church history, Harvard Divinity School, 1984; master of divinity, Concordia Theological Seminary, 1986; education specialist's degree in educational administration, Wayne State University, 1999; doctorate in Christian education, Detroit Ecumenical Theological Seminary, 2007.

POLITICAL CAREER: Ran unsuccessfully for State Board of Education, 2008.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Pastor and headmaster, St. Johns Lutheran Church and School, Taylor, 2001-present; chaplain resident at Detroit Sinai Grace Hospital, 2001; pastor and principal at Redford Lutheran Church and Zurstadt Lutheran School, Detroit, 1993-2001.

PERSONAL: Married to Barbara; four children.

ONLINE: http://DrZeile.net

YOUR TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE:

If we believe that children are different, we must conclude that they will benefit from a variety of educational delivery systems, whether these be home schooling, private schools, charter schools or traditional public schools. Facilitating choice that rewards effective school programs and holds no one prisoner to ineffective school programs is the issue of the moment. Furthermore, our state needs expertise in arts, languages, math and vocational skills, and the opportunity to pursue these must begin in middle school. Michigan needs the variety of curricular offerings that a diversity of educational can provide.

WHY YOU CHOSE TO RUN:

My experiences and abilities fit me for this position. I enjoy the challenge of policy, shaping human behavior by influencing decisions. Michigan's State Board of Education needs to think outside the box, and I am just the person to bring in new perspectives. The State Board of Education has had little influence or respect the last 10 years under its Democratic majority because their thinking has been dominated by tired assumptions — many policies are better than a single, comprehensive and coherent policy; one size (big and expensive) fits all and deep distrust of alternatives to traditional public schooling; and tunnel vision regarding schools, community and funding. I want to bring a dose of reality to the board by advocating a policy of educational choice.

STRATEGIES YOU SUPPORT FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN:

It is a sad reality that what we can afford to spend on education depends on how the economy does. We need to stabilize funding so that schools know the year before what they have to work with. Asking for yet more money for added programs, as the board did last spring, is an example of their inability to think outside the "tax and spend" box. An innovative idea that should be considered is the Universal Tuition Tax Credit (proposed by the Mackinac Center, and essentially practiced in Arizona) whereby individuals and corporations can donate toward tuition in private or public schools and receive a full (or partial) tax credit. This enables extra support for schools with effective programs, whether private or public.

Print
Email
|
Political News Video
More Video