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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This chart from clearly shows the U. S. has been spending more on education than defense!  

Do you think we should spend more on education by spending even less on defense?   

Unfortunately,   our current level of spending can’t keep American ambassadors safe overseas and hasn’t managed to improve educational outcomes for children.  More spending on education is not the answer!  

We must expand parent engagement and choice and promote and support excellent teachers!

Monday, October 1, 2012


I declined to pursue the Right to Life endorsement.  Some believe my position will be hurtful to my bid for the election to the State Board of Education.  I thought I might take a moment to explain.

RTL endorsements are not given to the candidate most committed to the issue of life, but factored along with "electability".   I believe this puts the issue in second place over the wish for the RTL organization to be considered a powerful political force.  In my opinion, all candidates who demonstrate a commitment to Life issues should receive the endorsement.  This demonstrates the importance of this issue above politics.

If people choose not to vote for me due to this position, so be it.  If there are people who vote based only on the RTL voter guide without knowing the policies and practice of RTL, I hope they get informed.  After all, they may be directed to vote for someone who doesn’t prioritize this issue as high as they do.

I am willing to share my personal belief on this issue.  However, as a candidate for the Michigan State Board of Education, I do not consider it to be an issue pertaining to the job.  It is not an issue that the BoE has control over, nor should it attempt to operate outside the realm of its purpose.

I am Catholic and as such I believe we must protect the lives of innocent people, especially unborn babies.  No matter what circumstances this baby comes from, we must protect his or her inherent right to come into the world.  There has been a shift in concern to the rights of the mother.  While this is also important, the ability and right of a woman to bear a child is also an incredible responsibility.  She is obligated to behave in such a manner that she recognizes possibility for pregnancy, and acts based on what she is ready to accept.  Of course, there are gray areas such as rape, and I am not sure I have all the answers for that.  But the right answer cannot be to end a life that has barely begun.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Response to the Lansing Association for Human Rights in support of LGBT voters:

Thank you for the opportunity to complete the questionnaire for the LAHR PAC .  I agree that the protection of human rights is an important endeavor.

In my bid for State Board of Education, the human right I am committed to is the need for every single Michigan child to receive an excellent education that prepares them to be responsible citizens.  All our children must be able to read, write and do math.  Did you know that more than 30% of children in Michigan schools cannot read at grade level?  And more than 60% cannot do math at grade level?  The situation is serious and urgent.

The solution lies in our ability to engage and empower parents and to engage excellent teachers.   We must stay focused and determined.  Schools today have incorporated many good initiatives and worthwhile programs that, in and of themselves, can be beneficial.  However, every new program takes time away from the task at hand, teaching reading, writing, math, science and social studies, as well as art, music and physical education.

While I appreciate your concern, the questions you ask are not part of my scope and focus.  My beliefs about same sex marriage, abortion and health care will not affect how I perform my job as a State Board of Education member, as should be true for every board member. 

Sometimes the issue of bullying is paired with sexual orientation, however, I believe bullying must be discussed and discouraged regardless of the cause or motivation of the bully.  Children need to be taught kindness and compassion for every individual regardless of differences, real or perceived.  Children also need to know how to stand up to bullies with a polite but firm response.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to share my perspective on the important concern of human rights. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

League of Women Voters Campaign Questions:

Describe your background, experience and qualifications for the State Board of Education and the reasons that you are running for this office.
As an active education volunteer and math tutor since 1992, I am frustrated and worried about declining student achievement and unresponsiveness of the institutions to meet children's needs. No one group is to blame. The system as a whole is not able to respond to the individual nature of student learning. Even as a trustee on the Portage Public School Board, I was not satisfied with the level of change implemented to meet the needs of all children. I believe circumstances are critical and timing is right for a reform minded board to change the nature of the education system in Michigan for each and every child

What are your views about charter schools and cyber schools and their role in improving student achievement and reducing the education system’s cost?
Research shows engaged parents and excellent teachers are key to every single student learning. Choice offers opportunities to create a system that meets unique needs of each child. Parents must know their child is learning and making sustained progress. If not, they need alternatives. Teachers must have the freedom to teach professionally, working in a supportive environment. No single alternative will be a silver bullet, but a system of choices will meet many differing needs. Choice creates competition, which can help manage cost. Michigan education is well funded but how we spend must be reassessed.

What are the most pressing issues facing the State Board of Education and what actions would you take regarding them?
The implementation of Common Core Standards & Assessments is inappropriate use of time and money. This must stop. Efforts must be redeployed to engage and inform parents and support teachers in their efforts to teach all children. Teacher preparation and targeted professional development must be a top priority. The efforts underway to implement teacher evaluation systems must be directed to evidence based practices that improve student learning. Integration of 4-year-old programs into K-12 must be monitored to ensure the current successful models are not negatively impacted. The State Board must be accountable. 

The League of Women Voters of Michigan reserves the right to review all responses for clarity and content. We will contact you if changes need to be made before it can be posted on

Sunday, September 9, 2012

On education reform

Check out this article!

Sunday, August 5, 2012