Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 16, 2010

Board of Ed candidates offer strategies

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
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---- — A look at state Board of Education candidates:

NAME: Karen AdamsAGE: 53

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

TOP ISSUE IN THIS RACE:

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.

STRATEGIES FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING, 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..

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NAME: Elizabeth W. BauerAGE: 72

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

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."

STRATEGIES FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING, 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.

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NAME: Dick GachAGE: 83

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 U.S. Air Force in the far East, 1950-51; U.S. Navy, 1944-46.

PERSONAL: Widowed.

ONLINE: None.

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.

STRATEGIES FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING, ACCESSIBILITY IN MICHIGAN:

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

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NAME: Bill HallAGE: 54

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

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.

STRATEGIES FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING, 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.

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NAME: Stacy KohmescherAGE: 38

RESIDENCE: Linden

PARTY: Natural Law

(NO FURTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE.)

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NAME: Ronald MonroeAGE: 76

PARTY: U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan

RESIDENCE: Clarkston

(NO FURTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE.)

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NAME: Lupe Ramos-MontignyAGE: 66

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

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.

STRATEGIES FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING, 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.

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NAME: Latham ReddingAGE: 65

RESIDENCE: Detroit

PARTY: Green Party

(NO FURTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE.)

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NAME: Eileen WeiserAGE: 59

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.

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.

STRATEGIES FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING. 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.

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NAME: Mary T. WoodAGE: 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.

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.

STRATEGIES FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING, 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.

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NAME: Richard ZeileAGE: 55

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

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.

STRATEGIES FOR LONG-TERM EDUCATION FUNDING, 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. 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.