Look no further than Montigny and Fecteau for state Bd. of Ed.
What are you looking for in a state School Board candidate? Someone with actual classroom experience? Someone who supports solid research and best practices as criteria for education reform? Someone willing to fight for adequate education funding?
Then only two of the four candidates running for the two vacant seats on the Board fit the bill--Lupe Ramos-Montigny and Michelle Fecteau.
Lupe Ramos-Montigny is a retired Grand Rapids teacher with 36 years of experience as an educator, principal, bilingual education director, and adult education instructor--not to mention her years as an MEA leader and member on the state and local levels.
She's seen what education funding cuts, the expansion of cyber and charter schools, and supposed education reform has done to public education. It convinced her to make a second run for a seat on the state Board of Education.
"I can bring proven ideas to the State Board that would help all students achieve. I've been in front of a classroom full of students. I would ask the other members, ‘When was the last time you were in a classroom?'
Michelle Fecteau also brings an education perspective to her campaign for state Board of Education. She currently is the Executive Director of the Wayne State Chapter of the American Association of University Professors and is married to a Detroit teacher.
"I've seen how classroom sizes have exploded and important supports like social workers and counselors have been depleted due to state cuts in education. I've seen the decline in students seeking education degrees and I've witnessed first-hand the cuts to higher education and the resulting tuition hikes that make a college education less and less accessible," said Fecteau.
The two candidates share many of the same goals for education in Michigan: increase school funding; provide more accountability and oversight of charter and cyber schools; dispel the notion that teachers are the primary cause of poor standardized test scores and that all administrators and school boards have the necessary expertise and objectivity to effectively and fairly evaluate a teacher's performance.
Both candidates also believe the Board should be more involved in making sure that education legislation and policy are sound and their desire to work with school employees, parents and leaders would facilitate that.
And, perhaps most importantly, the Lupe and Michelle value collective bargaining as a way to attract and keep the best and the brightest in the profession.
Challenging MEA's two recommended candidates are Todd Courser, an accountant and practicing attorney, and Melanie Kurdys, a former Portage School Board member. Both Republicans support an extreme conservative, anti-union agenda.
Lupe summed up the importance of Election 2012. "This election is about us, our profession and our students. We have to make time to get involved and vote."
We need Lupe and Michelle on the state Board of Education to make sure public education survives. Vote for them on Nov. 6.