Jan. 26, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Common Sense Citizens of Washington County hosted a candidate forum Thursday night for three of the four candidates running for two open seats on the West Bend School Board. In attendance were Monte Schmiege, Chris Zwygart and Mary Weigand.
Candidate Kurt Rebholz was not in attendance due to a prior commitment and candidate Carl Lundin has taken himself out of the race, although his name will still appear on the Feb. 20 primary ballot.
During the primary voters will select four candidates and the top four vote getters will advance to the April 3 Spring Election.
The candidates addressed a variety of topics including transparency, parental concerns, and preparing students for the job market.
Question: Change testing away from Galileo
Chris Zwygart – there is a proper role for standardize testing. We need to compare ourselves and our teachers given feedback. Concerns about teaching to the test – don’t agree with that. Important to use standardize testing for the purpose it is intended. Need to understand are we moving forward and are we meeting state obligations.
Mary Weigand – standardizing testing is a catch 22. You want to know how students are doing and how they compare. With common core there’s a concern about teaching to the test. Idea students are burned out with testing. Rep. Thiesfeldt introduced legislation about students opting out of any grade. And teachers have to let parents know about testing. Standardizing testing is very redundant. Our district could make an opt out policy
Monte Schmiege – WBSD has adopted a new testing platform. There’s general acceptance of that tool. Thing about testing is with WASB convention there was a session on ‘no time to lose.’ United States is 18th in the world on where students are in education. Adopt programs like Finland and the Asian countries. Everything is being targeted to getting higher test results in national level. No one knows content of test. Aim is to teach skills. Problem when knowledge is lost.
WIs has record low unemployment rate – how to prep kids for jobs
MS – changes in regard to robotics. Within 10 years 65% of the jobs now will be gone. More low-paying jobs and service-type jobs. Our district is doing quite well at having a broad series of courses and extracurricular and a strong technical program. Speaker at conference said the most popular courses at 2-year school Our district is addressing to keep up.
CZ – served on economic development in Washington County and there were many employers who couldn’t find people to work. EDC believed there was a gap. Perhaps someone was encouraging students to get a 4-year degree. We need to understand what students want to do. Have a broad array of offerings. We should listen to employers to determine needs. Educate students about possibilities. We need to stress technology. Be strong in normal skills like English and math. Opportunity for board to listen to what’s happening in the world and expose students to topics and careers
MW – Students have many opportunities in WB and MPTC is great school. There’s a 45-year low in labor force participation especially with youth. Maybe work ethic needs to improve. One thing to bring to the table – you don’t have to stay in school for four years. Just planting that seed. If kids want to do something else and encourage adulthood to start earlier and make money.
During the primary, Tuesday, Feb. 20 voters will select four candidates and the top four vote getters will advance to the April 3 Spring Election.