Town Meetings in Town Square: Saint Paul Candidate Debates, Part 5 - School Board District 625

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St. Paul School Board District 625 debates, live from Town Square, sponsored by St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. Panelists for debate are Andrew Becker, attorney for Briggs and Morton; Catherine McNamee, president of the College of St. Catherine; and Ronald Clark, editorial page editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch. Wy Spano, of Wyman Spano Public Affairs, moderates.

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(00:00:00) This is the listener supported news and information service of Minnesota Public Radio. Ksjn Minneapolis. And st. Paul at 1330 on your AM radio (00:00:08) dial. from Minnesota Public Radio (00:00:19) Good afternoon, everyone. This is Li X tall welcoming you to the fifth and a series of six programs focusing on candidates for elected office in st. Paul today. We conclude our look at school board candidates in a debate sponsored by the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce local broadcast of this candidates debate is made possible with the financial assistance of the McNeely Foundation. A program. Today is coming to you live from town squares Garden level in downtown st. Paul. Welcome to town meetings in Town Square sponsored by the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. I am Larry Cole (00:00:56) a partner in the law firm of: (00:00:57) McCoy and I have been serving as the town meetings in (00:01:00) Town Square steering committee chairman. (00:01:03) Today is the fifth in a series aimed at increasing the community's awareness of the issues and st. Paul local government (00:01:09) elections, which will be held on Tuesday November 8th. Today. We are featuring for more of the school board candidates. (00:01:16) And now I'd like to introduce today's moderator (00:01:19) Bill Faulkner (00:01:20) who is vice president of American hoist and Derek and incoming (00:01:24) chairman of the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce bill. Thank you. Larry. Good afternoon. Ladies and Gentlemans, very warm greeting to our audience here at top beautiful Town Square Park and downtown st. Paul and a warm welcome to our radio audience. It's a distinct pleasure for me to serve today as your moderator in which we will have a program of panelists posing questions to our for school board candidates. I'd like to introduce if I may at this time and we're very fortunate to have such an illustrious group of panelists with us today, and they are Attorney in the st. Paul law firm of Briggs and Morgan. Mr. Andrew see Becker. The president of the College of st. Catherine sister Catherine McNamee the editorial page editor of the st. Paul Pioneer Press and dispatch. Mr. Ronald D Clark. Ladies and gentlemen, certainly the education issue in America is a very dramatic societal event both at the federal level and here in our state of Minnesota and in our community. and now I'd like to introduce to respond to some of the questions about that very important issue in our society the four candidates who are running for Seats on the Saint Paul District 625 School Board as you may know next week from Tuesday on November the 8th. There are eight candidates running for school board election on a district wide basis and the top four vote Getters in that election will be your representatives on the school board for the next four years now. May I introduce our candidates first? Mr. George F. Janish. He has worked in education for 30 years teaching at Wilson. Mechanic Arts Marie Como Central Macalester College and the College of Saint Teresa. He is a member of the st. Paul teachers Federation and he has received his Bachelor of Arts from the College of st. Thomas and a master's degree from the University of Minnesota George Janusz. Next William Magnuson. He has served as Vice chairman of the board of education and as a probation officer social worker athletic coach and as a school board member since 1972, mr. Magnussen is self-employed and is a graduate of the College of st. Thomas. He has served the community on various boards, including the Ramsey Action Program, Minnesota epilepsy league and the Dayton Bluffs Community Senator centers scuse me. Mr. William Magnuson next William K Rosenbloom. He's a member of the governing board of the National Committee for Citizens for education and is employed by Northwestern National Life as a chief investment analyst. Mr. William Rosenblum next Mr. Al or twig. He is Chairman of two major advisory Committees of the school board. He has served on numerous citizens committees for the city county and School District. Mr. Hartwig writes a column entitled eye on education for the Highland Villager newspaper Mr. Al or twig before starting our program. I would like to bring to mind again as we did yesterday when we had the other four candidates for school board election with us responding to our panelists questions a few of the ground rules. So to speak for our question and answer period The panelists will be advancing the questions to the candidates. Each candidate will be allowed a two-minute time interval to answer the question. Each candidate towards the end of our program gentlemen, you'll have one and a half minutes for closing statements. We have a staff member from the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce with a stopwatch and two signs that she'll hold up for you one indicating 15 seconds remaining and then the second card if necessary says stop very simply. We're not allowing any rebuttal to questions or to the closing statements from one candidate to another is reply. I'd like to encourage the audience here in Town Square Park to join us in this town meeting and the arrangements that we have for posing questions to our candidates. Would you please write down your questions on a piece of paper? That's at the seat where you are and be collected and if you provide those to us, mr. Larry Cole will scream those questions and then we'll Advance them to our candidates as the time permits. So please enter into the spirit of our town meeting and let us have your questions and now we're ready to begin our program. The first questions three of them will be in the manner candidates of survey questions in which each panelist will pose a question and then we will seek an answer from each one of you to that same question. And first to pose this question is mr. Andy Becker, Andy. (00:06:54) Is indicated in a recent local TV (00:06:56) show the public perceives that one main disadvantage of public as compared to private schools is discipline the 60 Minutes TV show used Ramsey Junior High School in st. Pauls an example of a classroom that was out of control partly due to the administration not supporting teacher discipline efforts. My questions are what process would you suggest to identify the real cause is for discipline problems in st. Paul schools and secondly as a member of the Board of Education what specific new programs would you suggest to improve parent and administrative support for discipline efforts? We have the question regarding School discipline and I'll reverse rotation for the next questions. But may we start first with your response? Mr. William magnussen to school discipline. (00:07:43) Well, the district has adopted a handbook in terms of discipline that is consistent in terms of legal problems with it. One of the problems that we have with administering discipline in the district is that it's got to be done on an equitable basis. Secondly. It appears that some of our staff are afraid to administer discipline in certain kinds of areas because of some legal problems that they could be faced with in terms of that discipline. I think we have to have in-service training in terms of discipline so that it's done fair and secondly some of our schools have started a program called assertive discipline, which is a discipline method that we have found successful because it places the consequences of behavior directly on the student. (00:08:32) Thank you very much next maybe we go to those question of school discipline to George. Janish. (00:08:39) Well, I've been teaching in st. Paul for 30 years during that time. There has been one student I dismissed from class. And the reason that I have had no trouble with discipline is because I expect the students to behave and I tell them how I expect them to behave and that's one of the things that clearly needs to be defined as Bill said that discipline code is there in 1959, I as a teacher went and through the proper negotiation Channels with the support of the teacher Federation initiated a change in the discipline code to put more beef into it. One of the things that it was mentioned about parochial in private schools. I think one of the things that the parochial schools might be different from public schools as focusing on character development and I think the public schools need to do more of that. We are concerned about basic skills in the other things, but one of the things I would like to do is to take a look at the various cultures of every school and find out what values we are imposing consciously and unconsciously and what values we are limiting and I think the kinds of messages we are giving students in terms of their behavior and at the kinds of messages that are going to produce the proper kind of society that I want to live in if you take a look at my literature, one of the things I am concerned about are certain values such as self respect respect respect for authority and a little bit of self restraint in terms of programs. The Fourteenth Amendment must be protected in schools are required to provide appropriate programs. Those are being provided for and they need to be extended an appropriate program means the program suited for an individual's Behavior. I think it's also imperative coming from Is the 1970s and we focused on the me generation and do it your own thing and let it all hang out. I think we need to recognize the fact that the individual and the group have an equal right to exist. And I think we got to give more attention to the individual group rights. Also, I think we need two more will work more cooperatively with social agencies with human rights people advisory boards and get the social agencies to help us with problems for which teachers have not been trained and for which teachers are not competent. Thank (00:10:44) you. Thank you. Mr. Janish School discipline. Mr. William Rosenblum. (00:10:49) Thank George has done a pretty good job of summarizing. The situation hasn't left much more to be said except maybe two things one. We do need to let parents know that we have higher expectations for students. They have to understand what is expected of those students and the students have to be have to understand. What is it? Back to them. I think that's the first step. The second step is enforcement of that student discipline handbook. I was an individual who worked on putting that book together originally years ago. It's got the answers in it is we've got to make everyone understand that it's going to be followed. (00:11:30) Thank you. William Rosenblum. Now I'll or Twigs answer. (00:11:34) Obviously. We need to have an orderly environment in order for learning to take place. I like the others support in use of the discipline handbook in addition to that. I think that there are some other things that can be done. The current board has implemented a standardized mediocre curriculum. I think if you're going to have an orderly learning environment, you're going to have to have within that school a challenge for each child. Thirdly, I think that you need to make parents feel that they are welcome within the school so that they can become a part of the whole process of making discipline effective. (00:12:19) Thank you Al or twig. To make the answering candidates feel that we're being fair will now reverse the order down the table on the next survey question and I'd like to invite sister Catherine McNamee, please to pose this question sister (00:12:35) to elevate the teaching profession local school district should experiment with Merit pay to reward outstanding teachers a national panel recommended last week a superior teacher should be able to receive a superior. Salary said this task force on teacher Merit pay if Merit pay then is defined as additional remuneration for work exceptionally well done or extra work rendered over and above what is designated by the contract. Would you favor introducing it in the st. Paul school system. (00:13:11) This is a very interesting question on Merit pay. Mr. Hartwig. Would you respond to that please (00:13:16) before you can establish a merit pay system you have to have in place and eat. Teacher evaluation system despite the fact that we're hearing much about evaluation these days the current board has not yet established Any teacher evaluation beyond the probationary period I ask is that a responsible Direction coming from the current board? In order to put in place that evaluation mechanism we need to make sure that it's fair. It needs to have objective criteria and objective evaluators. I would like to see us look at the Salt Lake City Utah example of teacher evaluation. That's a peer evaluation system. Finally. I think that I would not support the Merit proposal. I think that we could more effectively use a Master teacher approached. This would give teachers the opportunity to take on some additional duties and provide some leadership within the individual schools this I think would be a more effective proposal providing teacher leadership within each (00:14:28) building. Thank you. Mr. Hartwig. All regarding Merit pay. Mr. William. (00:14:34) Rosenblum is I would favor the concept of Merit pay if we could find some way to evaluate and make teachers accountable and responsible. I think the master teacher concept might be a little fairer kind of way of getting the same results. I think also that one thing that should be kept in mind. I think it was the Carnegie report that talked about it is that it's not only pay that that interest teachers they're interested in working in a situation where students want to learn and they've got some freedom to do some of the kinds of things that they feel they ought to do to teach students. So I think it's some combination. I don't think there's any one (00:15:14) answer Thank you. Mr. George janish. (00:15:18) I am open to Merit pay considerations. But I really don't think it's going to solve very much except for a few teachers and we need to come up with something that's going to affect the total school program. It is not a solution to Quality education teaching is an art and teachers teach because they love to teach and what's imperative I think is to give teachers enough money that will allow them to continue to teach and also to encourage good teachers to come into the classroom, but more significant than that and in establishing or getting qualified teachers, we had to provide those conditions that will restore dignity back to the classroom and teaching profession. One of the things that we could use is a differentiated Staffing who commissioned the Ruth Randall has suggested that tool for and provide a career step ladder. So teachers could be an associate teacher for five years working with other teachers after 5 years more become a accepted teacher and then a master teacher who would work developing other staff. So that staff table and we'll be going on continually, but teachers need to feel More than anything else at what they do and what they do not do makes a difference and right now teachers don't feel that way then either act adequate recognition and I'm delighted with what the Business Partnership is doing and rewarding teachers. They need a management system that comes and encourages full use of their creative Powers. They need to be involved in school planning so that they can own their programs and when teachers own their programs, they are enthusiastic and when they are enthusiastic there's a direct correlation between the enthusiasm of a teacher and the performance of students. I'm open to Merit pay, but it is not a solution for the entire (00:16:49) system. Thank you. Mr. Janosch, on the matter of Merit pay. Mr. William Magnuson. (00:16:56) I don't believe in Merit pay for teachers. I do think that the salary structure of teachers has to change in terms of it being competitive in the markets in which employees are competing for jobs. There's been recent surveys where teachers are starting out at about approximately 14 5 in terms of salaries yet another Industries. They're starting at higher pay the question with respect to pay is how do we structure a salary structure that is Equitable makes sense and is able to compete with other professions. Secondly in terms of Merit pay we have to develop an evaluation system as a Lord because talked about that makes sense. And that's that's specific and measures certain kinds of outcomes for students in that the board has began to Pilot some programs in terms of evaluation of teachers and we have to conclude that during the next four years. But I think it's really important for all of us to recognize that Teachers Pay is really rather low and with all the demands made on that profession the salary structure itself doesn't reflect what the importance of a teacher is in society. So it seems to me that good teachers teachers that that teach kids well ought to be rewarded but it ought to be well rewarded on the basis of what other professions are doing. I'm not suggesting they're after not being evaluation system because I believe that very truly (00:18:36) Thank you. Mr. Magnuson will now go to our third survey question and I believe we should probably ask mr. Rosenblum to start off the answering of this, please and Ron Clark. Would you pose the question (00:18:49) you've been giving us what months who basically essay responses to these questions. I guess I'd like to ask you to confine your answers to true or false or agree or disagree with this one. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement detailed School budgets for each building should be set by a committee of parents administrators and teachers associated with that building rather than at the district level. And if you need to explain your answer, please try to keep it short. (00:19:24) Thank you. Ron William Rosenblum on the subject that was (00:19:28) just asked I agree (00:19:32) next mr. Al or twig. How do you feel about it? (00:19:36) I agree in principle with a concept. I think that it must be implemented carefully principles are not currently used to involving people in a decision making process. I think that that has to be something which is dealt with in (00:19:53) terms of training for (00:19:55) principles. I think that we also should have a policy setting process in place at the district wide level which serves as a model for that and I don't think we have a good policy setting process in place at the district level. (00:20:09) Thank you. Mr. William Magnuson. (00:20:13) I agree within the framework of the limit legal implications that one local eat local school can develop those in the framework that the state allows us to do? Mr. Janish? (00:20:24) Yes, I agree and I agree with gold Magnuson. I think it's absolutely imperative that all schools operate under the auspices of the school board both because of the requirements of the law, but also to make certain that there are no irreconcilable conflict among groups of the neighborhoods to make certain that narrow parochial in interest and not become internist and to make certain that few families take over the entire school system. (00:20:48) Thank you. Mr. Janish now, we're going to change the pace of the questioning just a little bit and put off the survey questions for a moment and go to a specific question from our panelists to a specific candidate, and I'd like to begin the response if you will please for mr. Or twig. Anyway, invite sister McNamee to pose her question, please (00:21:14) while Minnesota has not followed the national Trend toward minimum competency testing in the schools. The issue has been debated and studied by Minnesota Educators since the mid-1970s. Do you favor competency testing for students in grade 6 and 12, (00:21:32) mr. Hartwig? (00:21:35) I believe that we should establish first what sorts of outcomes we would like to see from students and then establish a means for looking at that some of that could be through paper and pencil tests and some could be through other (00:21:52) means the (00:21:53) current board particularly in the last year has established a standardized mediocre curriculum. They have attempted to use course titles mandating course titles as a means to move towards Excellence. I think first that we ought to look at outcomes. What do we expect and then attempt to develop a curriculum (00:22:15) which will move (00:22:15) towards development of those goals that we wish to achieve (00:22:21) Thank you. I'll or twig. I'd like to ask. Mr. George. Yanni's to feel this next question from Andy Becker. Property taxes have increased dramatically in st. Paul so that some homes are taxed at a higher rate than a Minneapolis. Now the schools budget has also increased substantially in the last several years despite declining enrollments. My questions are do you think the rate of increase in st. Paul property taxes is unfair and is a possible hindrance to st. Paul's ability to attract new residents. And secondly, can you identify two significant areas where budget cuts could be made without hurting basic education? Good questor. (00:22:58) Janish. Yeah, it's unfair if the program that Texas fun, excuse me is not cost-effective. I think more important than anything else. It's not how much money we are spending and I'm not for open-end spinning. What's more significant? Are we doing the job that the taxpayers are paying us for and I think that its citizens of saying Paul want to continue and perpetuate the quality of Education of life in Minnesota and are willing to pay the money if we can guarantee provide them with quality education in terms of cuts. I would have to examine it more thoroughly but I read an article or a study of the Chicago schools and they compared the comparative was a comparative analysis between the parochial school administrators on a per capita basis compared to the public schools and I was amazed at the extreme number of Administrators per pupil that was needed in the procure schools as it was in the public schools. So I would certainly consider taking a look at the administrative situation to see if we could cut down on that. I think the school board. Wood is getting to look at that another area of cutting. First of all, I don't want to cut any of the quality education, but I'd be more interested in supplementing tax funds with business cooperation. The school board is independent, but it should not be autonomous. It belongs to all of us. We all invest in the school board. We all use its products and I think business already has shown with the Business Partnership the Northwest area foundation the National Council for education and economics and they're a hundred and one different kinds of Foundations and someone who we could utilize to make a greater use of not only other people's money, but to get them involved in the same Paul schools. For example, Boston has a contract they will be business people will provide 200 jobs for graduates, but the school guarantees not only to graduate five percent more students which to me is insignificant more significantly, they will graduate them with competence and the business Community will be involved in that evaluation. And I think that's just great. (00:24:56) Thank you. Mr. Janish, I'd like to invite the next question to be answered by. Mr. William Magnuson and Ron Clark. Would you pose the question, please (00:25:06) Bill the Citizens League last year recommended new ways of running public schools. That would give teachers more authority to decide what and how to teach and parents new rights to choose which schools their children attend. If you were on the school board again, would you work for or against greater parental choice and teacher flexibility and please explain your answered. (00:25:31) We have a question now for mr. William (00:25:33) Magnuson, I would work for greater parental Choice simply because I believe that we have to match students learning styles with student teaching teaching styles in the more Alternatives that you can develop with standards matching those Styles. I think the better office student will be in terms of the learning process the more success you're going to be to have In terms of teachers are present contract talks about seniority about how a teacher can be placed in a program are not placed in a program. I believe that we have to modify that and begin to negotiate where we can have teachers who want to teach in certain programs that feel welcome there that that that that can motivate students in those kinds of programs and have a common interest in those programs as an example the open school the Benjamin Mays Learning Center right now, we have teachers that frankly don't want to be there and we have to be able to negotiate that in our contracts with the Union to allow teachers to have greater flexibility. The one thing I want to say is that the board does have a system where teachers can prefer what buildings to go to they're not always honored obviously because a contractual arrangements or because of the needs of the district itself, so you have to balance that. (00:26:52) Thank you. Mr. Magnuson true to our covenant with our audience here at Town Square Park. We'd like to pose to our candidates now a question received from our audience here and I'd like to pose it to you in the manner of the first questions that being a survey question and would you confine your remarks to a 30-second interval so that we don't as mr. Clark suggest sa too much on the matter, but this is the question. I'd like to begin with mr. A lord. We can you suggest how we can produce competent Math and Science teachers to train our children how to become more competent in this area. Mr. Or twig. (00:27:34) It is difficult to retain Math and Science teachers because the salaries are such that any math and science teacher could readily get a job in the private sector at a much higher pay one Avenue that I would like to suggest as an option for retaining qualified teachers is that we establish a mechanism for shared staff time. So that a teacher could be half time working in business halftime within the school district. I think that this would create some of the interaction between business and the school district which would be beneficial to students. (00:28:11) Thank you. Mr. Hartwig the question about how to produce confident Math and Science teachers. Mr. William (00:28:17) Rosenblum. I believe I go back to the Carnegie study again, which talks about the fact that people who are interested in teaching are also creative for the most part kinds of people who know where they want to go and how they want to get there and I think we have to say to those People you're the teacher. We're going to Turn You Loose. I don't think math and science is necessarily any different than some of the other disciplines. It's a question of being able to offer teachers the kind of rewards that they're interested in getting from their profession. (00:28:49) Thank you. Mr. Rosen blue. Mr. George Yanni's shown the matter of suggesting ways to produce competent math (00:28:56) science teachers know with apologies to Sister McNamee. I think this is also encouraging what's happening in a country. The the pleading for Quality education. I think we have to do is to improve the competency of teacher training institutions 50% of the colleges in this country have no entrance requirements. The number of teachers who are going into the field have been reduced drastically, so we're not getting the best. So we need to upgrade the teacher training competencies. We also have to provide sorry incentives to encourage those people to go to college and or into teaching at the stay in it and also business can help by coming in tutoring teachers providing. For summer for teachers in mathematics and science and exchanging tutorial services (00:29:40) for fear of putting sister McNamee on the spot and she's not running for office. I don't think I'll invite her to have equal time with you George, finally. Mr. William Magnuson on component Math and Science (00:29:52) teachers. I think people have spoken well about how we address that I would add one thing. I believe that the district has to provide its own in-service training in terms of developing competent Math and Science teachers, I think an evaluation system that a district can get into it to look at the strengths of teachers using each other to help each other become more competent is something that we ought to take a look at and and George made an interesting remark that that that to me is interesting and that does deal with the colleges of Education or they are the universities we get into a vicious circle of wondering why our kids aren't competent yet on the other hand when you examine who's teaching the kids and look at some of their confidence and where they're coming from. We I think education regardless if it's at my level or at the college level we all were all in this together to develop more competent people for all kinds of things and we ought to get together and contract what kind of competencies I want from st. Inside st. Thomas or the University of Minnesota. These are the skills that my teachers need in this Urban district and I have thank you. Mr. Magnuson. I (00:31:03) think we'll call the curtain on that. And I dunno to the candidates you really did beautifully without question 30 seconds really isn't much time to address that very weighty subject. So I do appreciate your cooperation. It's just about half Midway Mark in our program today. And I'd for the sake and to greet some of our radio audience who may have joined us since we begin. I'd like to identify the event today is sponsored by the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. We're conducting top beautiful Town Square Park in downtown st. Paul Minnesota a question and answer panel and candidate discussion on the subject of Education of four of our school board candidates who will be seeking your votes and the upcoming city election on November the 8th. We're very appreciative of our candidates who are with us and of our panelists who are posing the questions. I'd like to expressly show our gratitude to Minnesota Public Radio for carrying these Town meetings in Town Square Park live on your am radio station Now to continue with the questions, I think that mr. Rosenbloom if my tallying of rotation is correct might be eligible for the next question and I'd like to invite it sister McNamee, please. (00:32:35) I'd like to pick up a little on the last question and extend it somewhat both Business Leaders and college teachers complain that many high school graduates today have difficulty reading writing and handling mathematical concepts with ease. If this is true, what would you do about it? Well, I think (00:32:54) mr. Rosenbloom. (00:32:57) I think one thing we have to do is identify those problem areas a lot sooner than graduation before I think even before a child gets to Junior High School. We ought to be looking at test scores. We got to be talking to teachers we ought to be finding those students that have the problems we ought to be helping them. So that by the time they get to the high school level they in fact can read right spell and add and subtract think that that's the kind of thing that ought to go on all through school. We ought to decide we ought to have some objectives for each grade or each level and instead of teaching standardized kind of curriculum. We ought to teach to those objectives the teacher ought to be very clear in the student ought to be very clear about what's expected of them and that I see is one of the better ways of hopefully graduating children who can do those basic kinds of (00:33:53) things. Thank you. Mr. William Rosenblum like to have this question directed to mr. George Johnny's from Ron Clark. (00:34:03) George we hear a lot of talk these days about accountability in education. Do you think an election every four years for school board members provides enough accountability of board members to the public? And if not, do you have any suggestions for making the board more (00:34:21) accountable? Matter of accountability. Mr. George janish. I don't know (00:34:28) I'll let you know in four years from now. I don't know how long it's going to take to get through the programs that have to be gotten through two years could allow more accountability, but I don't know if that's possible in terms of developing Anna kind of program. It is required for Quality education in terms of accountability. I think it's certainly the responsibility of the citizens to hold the school board accountable to make certain that the job of educating our students is accomplished. We we need to be serious about education. We need to we need students in school, but that is not good enough. We need students to graduate and that's not a good enough and holding the school board accountable on the basis of the number of schools are graduate, which is what the city to the Minnesota state is delighted in. We're graduating 85 percent of these students who enter school that doesn't mean anything. It's simple to graduate students right now. The school board is talking about making certain it's kids. Credits, that's it. Simple just give them credits. What we need is to have students educated and I think the citizens have got to hold a school board accountable not for graduating students not forgetting them could have but making certain that they learned the kinds of things that sister asked about before there are two kinds of things in the human situation things that change and things that are constant I think along with build Magnuson that we need to provide for individual differences. But more than that, we need to provide that kind of training in terms of basic skills in terms of a common body of knowledge in terms of the skills of how to learn and tear of current in terms of character development that are constant and common for all people and I think the school board should be held accountable to make certain that the superintendent carries out that kind of a process. (00:36:06) Thank you. Mr. Janish. Another question would invite from Andy Becker for mr. Owl or twig Andy. Well this sort of follows on the accountability Direction but is a little more specific in the sense that as I'm sure you know, a business board of directors is appointed to bring perspective to the operation of a company and to assist its Chief Operating personnel and giving policy direction to the company. My question is assuming that you are going to be accountable and have a program that the public can watch. What (00:36:38) would be the two most critical policy issues that you (00:36:40) would raise as a member of the school board of directors during the first six months of your (00:36:44) tenure and how would you ensure that (00:36:46) your policies are carried out matter of policy question Mr. Al or twig. (00:36:53) First off. I think that we need to establish a careful thoughtful policy setting process board members need to stop shooting from the hip and need to start listening to parents and teachers before they make decisions. Let me give you an example one incumbent board member Roz Carol has received wide publicity for proposing that a foreign language mandate be established for every student. Every year certainly foreign language is important. Not before we establish new mandates shouldn't we first look at the total curriculum and asked what changes parents and teachers feel are needed. That would be the first thing that I would attempt to do. I would attempt to establish a careful thoughtful decision making process. Secondly, I would want to work on curriculum. I have talked about the way in which we have established a mediocre mandated curriculum. I think that we need to look at something which is broader than just mandating course titles something which meets the individual needs of the (00:38:08) students. (00:38:09) Those would be the two areas which I would work on how would I implement it? I would start holding the superintendent accountable we have seen in the past year that the superintendent will get his raise irrespective of whether or not he has achieved the goals that the board has set for him. I think that accountability starts at the top we talked about evaluation of teachers. The board has not yet been willing to hold the And and accountable. (00:38:40) Thank you. Mr. Hartwig. We have a question from the audience that I would like to pose to our candidates now and would ask you in the manner of a survey question. Let's limit our responses to 30 seconds. And so you won't be able to expand on your answer. Yes or no very much. Do you favor binding arbitration for the settlement of teacher disputes rather than to have strikes? Mr. (00:39:09) Magnuson. No, I don't. I think that the collective bargaining process should include the ability to have have strikes on on on each individual. I mean on the party of the contract labor union. However, I think it's how you sensitively negotiate the system that we have now is adversarial in nature and I don't believe that it needs to be I think we can be sensitive towards each other's needs and wants it's interesting in this negotiation process. There are certain things that the board wants. However because of how (00:39:51) I have to drop the curtain on you. Again. Mr. Magnuson 30 seconds goes by pretty quickly the matter of mr. Janusz. Do you favor binding arbitration for dispute settlements that teachers have rather than strikes? Mr. (00:40:03) Janusz. I think the school system as an industry should have the same process of negotiations at other Industries have st. Paul hasn't struck since 1946, but it is a part of the collective bargaining process, and I am fortunate to continue, but I don't want strikes. I like builds point. We have to stop the advert adversarial situation. Not only during the time of contract negotiation, but during the entire school year. There's an adversarial process or situation. It must change. (00:40:30) Thank you. Mr. Janish. Mr. William (00:40:32) Rosenbloom. I would favor binding arbitration because I think the difference between other Industries in schools. Is that the greatest recipient of of the of the result of that strike our children, and I don't think that we can afford that kind of luxury when it comes to education. (00:40:52) Thank you, sir. Mr. Owl or (00:40:54) twig. I would agree with Bill Magnuson that I think that we need a less adversarial relationship in the negotiations process. Certainly, I don't want strikes but I still think that teachers should have the right to strike. I think that if we're going to work cooperatively rather than establish the relationship of hostility, which currently exists I think that we can avoid strikes. (00:41:24) Thank you very much. I'd like to return now to our panelists for two minute response has directed to a specific candidate. Mr. Rosenblum. Would you take this question please for mr. Ron Clark? (00:41:38) Bill School administrators and parents are now looking at additional ways to desegregate st. Paul public schools and are concentrating on voluntary methods. Do you believe an adequate case exists for further desegregation steps or do you believe the state is being unreasonable in its demands upon st. Paul (00:41:58) on the question of desegregation. Mr. Rosenblum. (00:42:02) I think anytime that you said quotas you're probably being unreasonable because when you get you set a quota of 30% or 25 or 40 percent for minority students and you get the 39 of the 40 in the state says You must have 40 is that unreasonable? So I think anytime you do set arbitrary State arbitrary quotas, you've got a problem. I do think that st. Paul has a unique opportunity not only to desegregate at this time, but take a look at the whole process of education and try to find maybe some better ways of delivering those Educational Services to students. So, I think that the desegregation question being raised right now in the citizens committee that's looking at it as an opportunity to bring some real changes besides desegregation before the school board. (00:42:51) Thank you. Mr. Rosenbloom. Mr. Magnussen. Would you take this question, please from Andy Becker? Bill we have all read the book written by local teacher Joe Nathan and titled free to teach are many of us have in his book. Mr. Mr. Nathan talks about some of the ideas that have been raised on the panel today, which would involve local businesses either raising funds or providing Personnel to enhance teacher and student education. My question is twofold first. Why do you think the st. Paul Business Community has not been more involved in the schools and secondly what specific programs would you propose that are not already being worked on to get the business Community involved in providing technical advice such as in the areas of computers and see that the programs are in fact carried out. Mr. Magnuson Well, (00:43:40) it's difficult for me to assess why the business Community hasn't been involved. I think one of the reasons is frankly. We haven't asked I think there's a distrust on Educators part to ask for other people's involvement. We talked about parents that's also applies to the business Community. How do we get them involved by being open by asking by being open and asking for specific kinds of advice that we need by trusting the business community and not looking at them as just strictly a self interest group. I think that the way that we ought to be involved is I was suggesting earlier prior to this meeting is asking the Chamber of Commerce education committee. If we can't have a representative from the Board of Education to talk about the kinds of concerns that we have. I know in the Hartford Connecticut area the business community over a five-year period is guaranteed the Hartford board of education 526 million dollars. I think that's a substantial investment, but they had to begin to talk they and they had the same kind of problems about trust. (00:44:40) Thank you. Mr. Magnuson would like to have mr. George janish feel this question from Sister McNamee, please (00:44:47) George st. Paul is unique in the high percentage of children attending private schools nearly 30% in 1982-83. Can you suggest areas for possible Cooperative efforts between the public and the private schools which might lead to better educational opportunities and more economical use of resources. (00:45:07) Mr. Janish. (00:45:09) Thank you there already are cooperating in some areas in busing in the use of textbooks. In other areas. I really don't know how they could cooperate more or if they should it seems to me that as long as the basic education dealing with those things that we share in common our provider for both schools. I think it's perfectly fine for schools to set up their own systems to deal with the particular kind of Lifestyles that we want to Foster as long as they are under the auspices of the state guidelines and the requirements of the commonalities in society. (00:45:50) Thank you. Mr. Janish. I have another question from our audience here at Town Square Park that I'd like to pose in survey form again with 30 second answers gentlemen. If you would please the question from our audience is under the school board policy of School site management. The Council of one school wants to mandate that all students should take a religious course, would you support this as a board member? Mr. Or (00:46:19) twig? No, I would not support that proposal. I think that there is already Choice within the system and many of the students who wish to have religious education are receiving that through private schools. So I would not support that sort of a mandate. I think that they're do need to be some District wide standards established for School site management (00:46:43) process. Mr. Rosenblum, the matter of mandating a religious course in a school public school. (00:46:52) I believe that on its face that the question suggests a violation of the concept of church and state if we're talking about a survey course where you talk about different kinds of religions or what different people believe obviously I have no problem with that. But if we're talking about establishing a strictly religious course, I would have ejected and I think School site management assumes that we operate under State guidelines and laws and in so it shouldn't even be a question. (00:47:21) Mr. Janish. Would you address that question, please? (00:47:25) Yes, excuse me. No. No, but there are two considerations to religion if you're talking about religion as a cultural movement and as something which has impact on the other culture is sort of a study of what is the meaning of religion that is already being done in schools. But if we're talking about Amanda eating it no, and I'm also opposed to mandatory. Any kind of specific kind of religion that's in doctrinaire. (00:47:50) Mr. Magnuson on the subject of mandating a religious course in a public school (00:47:55) know the state doesn't allow mandates and that area with one exception and that is comparative religions. In other words. You can have a course on study of comparative religions. And that is something that that I would be open to but not in terms of mandating a particular religion course, (00:48:10) very good. I think to balance out our direct questions to specific candidates. I'd invite mr. Al or twig to take this question for mr. Ron Clark. (00:48:21) When school enrollments were (00:48:22) growing it (00:48:24) was understandable that school budgets had to increase each year to keep up but with enrollments declining shouldn't taxpayers get a break that is shouldn't the cost of running schools at least level off. If not decline instead. We've seen budgets continue to balloon. Is there an adequate explanation for then? Mr. Hartwig? Yes, the enrollments have (00:48:52) leveled off (00:48:55) we do have however, I think some ongoing expenses in terms of buildings and that sort of thing which may cause the cost to stay up. I think that within our whole system. We need to develop a process. However, which makes better use of existing resources, too often within our current system. We start playing games and don't make the best use of resources. Let me give you an example. The current Administration has decentralized the use of (00:49:31) materials (00:49:31) expenses. The teachers are complaining that the principles are now hoarding this money. The principal's tell me that there are no district-wide guidelines. Sometimes their computer repairs are thrown in and so they don't know how to make best use of that money. So there is a management issue. I think that's involved too so that we can make better use of the available resources. (00:49:58) Thank you. Mr. Hartwig. Candidates we've kind of peppered you with some pretty good questions today. We're getting down towards the Twilight of our program and I'd like to rotate now through our panel of candidates with your closing statements. And if you recall we're allowing you 1 and 1/2 minutes for this and may we start now with the closing statement. Mr. William Magnuson. (00:50:22) I believe that education is a fundamental right of every student in st. Paul and it's the in education of the single most influential institution. I believe that the community needs to pay attention to the election of Board of Education and that have the Board of Education be a second type of government. I believe that Boards of Education have to be responsive to the community. They have to set standards for students and we have to provide equal educational opportunities for all our students recognizing the unique and individual abilities of all students. And that is why I'm seeking re-election to the Board of Education. (00:51:04) Thank you. Mr. Magnuson. Mr. George Janice your closing statement, please (00:51:09) I agree that it is the right of all students to be educated but it is also the responsibility of all citizens to be involved in that process and I have been saying all along we need to get serious about education. We invest over 45% of our tax dollars. There is no curriculum in st. Paul. They're only course titles and nowhere is it clearly defined as broad as possible as bad as we can and still be meaningful what we want students to learn there is no process to assess or to evaluate or to hold accountable teachers hold evaluations on students all the time Math teachers. Do it every Friday businesses hold people accountable all the time and evaluate them and it doesn't make any sense to me that we don't clearly lay out what we are going to do and then decide whether we have done it or not. I think we have to redefine the goals and purposes of schools. I think we have to re-examine what the community Needs students to learn and I think we have to have much higher expectations of staff and students evaluations of staff at all Eller not only teachers but principles are pretty much determine how a school building is going to go but principles also need more Authority and right now they are administrator done to death. We need a school system that will allow each person to become the best person that he or she can become but in a society, that is the best that it can (00:52:34) become. Thank you. Mr. George. Janish. Mr. William Rosenblum. Would you let us have your closing statement, please? (00:52:42) First of all, I'd like to thank the chamber for the opportunity to be here today and all of the people of panelists who have also donated their noon hours to this to this show I guess but in a for a serious moment, I do want to say that I think it's really incumbent upon every citizen in this community to look at all of the school board candidates and to decide which of those candidates are really saying the things that that they go along with and they believe in there are differences. I think if you look at right now, I think I can safely say that L art we Rosalind Karen Carol and myself are competing for that fourth slot. There are differences between the three of us Rosalind Carol as chairperson of the curriculum subcommittee of the board has championed concept called. Woody and standardized curriculum and course content which says that everybody should get the same kind of learning experience in every grade the board calls this Equity. I think it's more educational kind of baloney. It's everything ground up together and serve down to the lowest the lowest common almost lowest common denominator. I think it's time to stop. I think we need to challenge students. I think we need parents involved. I spent the last 10 years as a parent involved served on many school and District wide committees. I believe I would bring to the board a different perspective that is as a parent and would seek to get everyone involved in that process. (00:54:17) Thank you. Mr. William Rosenblum, and finally the closing statement of mr. Owl (00:54:21) or twig. As a parent I am deeply concerned about the quality of public education available in st. Paul today as a parent. I have been involved what I have seen concerns me very deeply this past year. The board has insisted on implementing a mediocre standardized curriculum. It's time that we recognize that different students have different abilities and needs. What I believe we need to do is to have high expectations for student achievement and develop curriculum options, which will offer the greatest challenge for each child Johnson principal Fred Brett describes it this way the concept of equal education for all has been interpreted by some to mean identical education for all the inevitable result is that we teach all to the level of the least apt That's a principal speaking. Secondly, we need to develop a careful thoughtful policy setting process. Again Johnson High Principal says we're making policy in the closet as a parent. I have this same feeling. On Wednesday, I filed a lawsuit in Ramsey County district court in order to get the school district to use its own curriculum advisory committee as prescribed by law parents should not be forced to go to such extremes merely to be given the opportunity to provide advice to the board. The current board has given us a mediocre standardized curriculum and an unresponsive narrow policy setting process. (00:56:11) Thank you. Mr. Hartwig. We must drop the curtain. I would like to take the next couple of seconds to thank our candidates. Mr. William Magnuson. Mr. George. Janish. Mr. William Rosenblum, and mr. Owl or twig for being present here today and Fielding these questions and to our distinguished panelists sister Catherine McNamee. Mr. Ron Clark, and mr. Randy Becker. Thank you very much for participating to all of our listening audience on the radio and here in Town Square Park the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, and I encourage you vote on Tuesday, November the 8th and exercise your patriotic and Democratic responsibilities now, I'd like to turn the podium back over to mr. Larry Cole. This concludes the (00:56:55) fifth in our series of town meetings in Town Square. These meetings are scheduled each weekday noon hour here in downtown st. Paul through next Monday October 24th on Monday. We will have as our guests the candidates for the mayor of st. Paul rust (00:57:10) bovie and George Latimer. (00:57:12) We would like to express our gratitude again for the fine cooperation of the management and staff of Town (00:57:17) Square Park and to acknowledge the assistance of the Radisson Plaza Hotel, (00:57:21) please consider attending the third Forum sponsored by the citizens for excellence in education, which will be held on October (00:57:27) 27th at the Central High School. (00:57:29) 275 North Lexington from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The featured speaker will be Charlotte me. Tell Christ speaking on current issues (00:57:38) facing the Saint Paul schools. (00:57:40) Thank you for coming. This is Larry Cole speaking from Town Square. You've been listening to a live broadcast from Town Square in downtown st. Paul between candidates for school board and District 625 today's debate was sponsored by the st. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, and the broadcast was made possible with the financial assistance of the McNeely Foundation. Be sure to join us Monday when the candidates for mayor Russell bovie and incumbent George Latimer debate the issues during the noon hour at Town Square, and on this station remote engineer for the program was Conrad Lindbergh Studio controls handled by rajkamal. Midday production by Bob Potter and Tad Gorn flow. Today's broadcast of midday is made possible in part by the Medtronic Foundation Medtronic designs and produces implantable medical devices. I'm Lee EXT all thanks for joining us today from Town Square.


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