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Board Of Education Candidates Summarize Their Positions

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(Editor's Note: Candidates in Monday's Ann Arbor Board of Education election were invited lo submit statements summarizing their positions. A statement was not received f rom Roy E. Couch.) Finance: Due to increases in tax assessments alone, the funds available to our school system are doubling every six years. However, due to apparently ineffective control of these funds, we are being asked to pay an increased tax on top of this. Education: We are now spending about $1,000 per student, yet one of every six students who start lOth grade will not gradúate from high school. This rate hasn't changed appreciably for the last five years. It appears that the reason is primarily lack of reading skill. Therefore, greater efforts must be made in the first three grades to diagnose and correct reading problems. Discipline: It must be made clear that the teacher has the complete backing of the school board in disciplinary matters. They should also be consulted in developing effective methods for controlling disruptive students. In addition, the school board should willingly accept its responsibility for the safety of our children during school hours, and should see that any felony committed on school property is reported to the proper legal authority. Christopher J. Burke Win or lose this has been one of the most enlightening experiences I have ever encountered. All citizens should live through it at least once. It has been an education in itself. First of all I would like to thank The Ann Arbor News and its staff for the fine coverage of this campaign. I know many of the other candidates will agree with me on this particular issue. Since my views have been stated on numerous occasions, at this time I will give only a brief summary of what has been said earlier. Basically, I am not against education. I am a teacher. However, I am against extravagance. Af ter a thorough study of the many issues facing us June 8th, I have decided to vote for two proposals and against all others. This decisión may have cost me the support of the Ann Arbor Education Association but it is the kind of decisión that I will continue to make. I am voting for the operating millage hoping teachers can better keep pace with the rising cost of living. I am also voting for the library extensión. I am voting against all other prupusals in this election. Another way to state this is that on June 8th, I am voting for $900,000 and I am voting against $40,380,000. It's your money. Are you getting your dollars worth? Paul D. Carrington For the public schools, this is a time to fish and not a time to dry nets. It is a time to grasp the opoprtunity created by widespread dissatisfaction and by the readiness of ideas and talents which can make our schools more responsive to the needs oi more students. We have long proclaimed public education as the instrument of individual self-fulfillment. We can now make a big step toward the attainment of that ideal by making our program more personal, more useful, and more respectful of individual differences. This step can be made if the Board of Education can assure an environment suited to creative change. Fear and anger are the chief enemies. They disable as from distinguishing what tieeds changing from what aeeds conserving and produce blind attacks and blind resistance. In order to release us from the grip of these enemies, the board must be not only knowledgeable, confident, responsible, and fair; it must also :are, and find a way to show :hat it cares, about the problems of each troubled parent, ieaeher, and child. Just as we must protect the child who fears aeing bullied, we must provide i response for the bully who "ears Deing unnoticed. Robert Conn The two major issues facing :he school system are discipline and the financial cost of educatng our children today. Those persons who oppose the idministration of a strict dis1üiplinary code have lost the :oncept for which such codes ire established. The purpose of J disciplinary code is not to ?et rid of the problem, but to control the problem. Without liscipline (control) there cannot De an effective educational sys:em. The school system has indi:ated that if the millage and d o n d i n g proposals are not passed the system will not be ible to meet the oncoming ïeeds of the student. The state■nents and brochures indícate ïow hazardous this will be, but ;he inconsistency in the reports ïas created sufficient doubt in nind to require me at this time :o take a "no" vote stand on ;he millage and bonding issues. 3ome examples of these inconiistencies are: 1) The cut back of 80-100 eachers required to handle an idditional 864 pupils. Whether rou use the old or new math this vould mean they had planned a lassroom size 8-10? 2) Expected revenue per pupil vas reported to be $988, yet tate equalization figures show ivailability of $1,118 per pupil r $2.7 million or 40 per cent of :he monev reaiiestpd in he _3_ld iperational millage proposal. Charles H. Good I am aware of the broadly jxpressed frustration regarding ;he behavior of our youth. The question must be, 'What should the schools do to improve?' Before we can answer, we must agree on the goals of education, for example: Is the goal to teach reading, writing, arithmetic and recreation? Or, should we add reasoning and responsibility? Imparting a body of knowledge could be done in a rather rigid classroom situation. Being able to put that knowledge to use in any unique way does not lend itself to a rigid situation. Teaching reason requires exposure to conflict. Should this be done in the home or the school?' If some homes do not do the job, does the school have more responsibility? Should exposure to conflict include or ignore the reality of TV and the newsstand? Is our goal to inspire a desire to learn, or merely to teach those who express the desire? Is our goal to provide the same basic education to all, or is it to provide an individualized program for each student consistent with his wants and capabilities? I am convinced that now, when student and parent interest is high, our goals ought to be reviewed. A. Gerald Gottleib I thank The Ann Arbor News for allowing me this opportunity to express my views to the readers. There is so much needed in order to improve our present school system. A constant ongoing review of our curriculum, programs, and in service teaching is needed. We should be adding programs that are more relevant to today's world and dropping those that no longer fit today's patterns. There is a very serious problem in our schools concerning safety and discipline. We should be enforcing our discipline program. This program, too, needs constant review and updating. A child and parent should feel relatively assured of a student's safety both to and from -school. I would like to see some formal means established whereby the school board could listen to diverse views of all the students. This could be in the form of a representative body of students which could meet' regularly with the board to discuss current concerns. The administration will have to learn fiscal responsibility and attempt to live within its budget. The táxpayer cannot continuously be requested for more money. Dallas R. Hodgins If elected, I consider these goals my mandate: 1) Increase student particination in decisions aüecting them. 2) Encourage, and aid parents' involvement in the board's policy making. 3) Increase citizens' advisory participation inmonitoring building and other programs. 4) Get the "briefingsessions of the board out in the open. 5) Make sure both high school papers, the Chalkboard (teachers' paper), The Ann Arbor News and other interested communication media have access to board business and plans. 6) Open the public portion of the board meeting so that board members can respond to questions from the audience. 7) Communicate with, and listen to school faculties. 8) Talk with student leaders and concerned students. 9) Encourage and help all parents' groups, regardless of political orientation. 10) Do all in my power to end this conservative-liberal polarization that is paralyzing the present board. It is simplistic to support all bonding and millage issues. I am gravely concerned about the fiscal responsibility of this school district. Borrowing $36 million at 8 per cent and adding this to what we owe; we shall be indebted over $100 million paying $3.7 million a year in interest at a time of depression, inflation, high interest and general unrest. This isn't sensible - nor are all the supporting arguments. Norman Keefer As an educator and 10-year resident of Ann Arbor, I have been interested in school affairs and have attended board meetings regularly over the last year. From this background, I sonduded'" that I could make a good contribution as a board member. I would work to achieve: - Better methods of taxation than overburdened property taxes, which are particularly appressive to people on fixed incomes. I do support the pres2iit millage issues because of real neèds in our schools, but I liope our school board would lead in urging state and federal levéis to do their share. - Alteration of discipline policies to deal with disruptive stuients more constructively. We must examine roots of disruption- not syraptoms. Innovations in curriculum and structure of the school day should sneourage youth to have positive attitudes toward school. - Greater community involvement in schools- not just at district level, but within individual schools. Innovations at Mack School seem encouraging. - Leadership in ecological education- not only in classrooms, but by board example. - Expansión of special educadon services. F o r example, :lassrooms for emotionally-disiurbed youngsters are needed it junior high level. - Competitive salaries for teachers- the only way to retain our excellent teaching staff. Mrs. Harriet Powërs Schooling is necessary. On this point parents, teachers and administrators agree. However, this past week of campaigning has convinced me that all are confused and uncertain as to vvhat is meant by "learning." To some it means factual material, to others it means how to solve problems, still others think in terms of how one gets along socially or economically, or the opportunity to develop skills that can be used creativeiy. Learning should be all of these. But until the parents and students are convinced that these are the goals toward which our teachers and administrators are dedicated, dissatisfaction is high and cooperation is slowly disappearing. Our school board members must influence our Administrativa Council to redefine its purpose and goals. It should be restructured so that it can better help the teachers find new and effective ways to teach. It must have more direct contact with the people. These are turbulent times and society is changing. Our schools must also change. The board must see that the council acts as the spearhead that directs and starts these changes. Otherwise dissatisfaction will increase and so will the abrasive, disruptive behavior we all deplore. We cannot go back to the old ways and we need more help from our teachers to develop effective new ways. If parents, teachers, and students, and administrators do not effectively work together all vvill be chaos. Mrs. Patricia Shipman From my experience as a classroom teacher and a mother with children in each level of the school system, I can bring to the board a more personal feeling of children and a viewpoint not now represented. I have been to Lansing to get educational information at the state level. I have met with administrators and teachers within our school system to get their opinions' and ideas of the problems facing our school system. They are many and cover a broad spectrum. The most pressing problem is, one of attitude and spirit of our young. This will not be solved with more money. Parents and] teachers must become involvedl and take their correct role of I guiding, by offering help, 1 standing, and firmness. Our young must realize that they must become responsible for their personal actions. America and democracy are special and worth preserving. Self-discipline, respect for one's selfj and respect for others is an important aspect of the educational process and must be reaffirmed and encouraged by the equal enforcement of fair rules. Education must develop qualities which will enable our young to contribute as adults and live successfully in a rapidly changing techniological society.


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