Incumbents defend their positions by the Midland Public School Board of Education

Incumbents seeking re-election, Phillip Rausch and Jonathan Lauderbach, have defended their service with the Midland Public School Board of Education.

They were joined on stage in the auditorium of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library by seven newcomers vying for the three board seats that will be decided Nov. 8.

The candidates answered Thursday evening questions drafted by members of the League of Midland-area Women Voters and the local American Association of University Women. The forum was recorded by MCTV Studio for playback on YouTube on MCTV Network – Midland Michigan’s Community Voice, Roku devices and on-demand cable.

Public School Board of Education Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland.”/>

Incumbent Jonathan Lauderbach answers questions during a forum with candidates from the Midland Public School Board of Education Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland.

Tess De Gayner/Midland Daily News

“Just because some people or groups didn’t get what they wanted doesn’t mean we weren’t transparent,” Lauderbach said. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done – the community should be proud of where our school district is.”

Questions explored ways to address the teacher shortage, student mental health, diversity/equity/inclusion/fairness, school budget priorities, and solutions for an upcoming challenge. in the Midland Public School District.

Regarding financial priorities, Rausch said he is focusing on classrooms, including providing competitive teacher salaries, accessible support staff and implementing appropriate numbers of students in classrooms. classes.

The “trifecta,” endorsed by Moms for Liberty of Midland County, presented unconventional approaches to the council’s potential future. Midland residents Mindy Cox, Sara Ladwein and Jimmy Sheets centered their responses on the district’s lack of transparency, declining grades in reading and math, and emphasized parental rights.

Midland resident Sara Ladwein answers questions during a forum for Midland <a class=Public School Board of Education candidates Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland. “/>

Midland resident Sara Ladwein answers questions during a forum for Midland Public School Board of Education candidates Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland.

Tess De Gayner/Midland Daily News

Other responses opposed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in local schools. Ladwein acknowledged the “fabulous diversity” of Midland, however, she said, called DEI a “dangerous program” taking place in Midland’s public schools.

“It doesn’t help our children’s mental health to try to categorize them and try to give them moral categories, whether good or bad, based on how they look,” Ladwein said. “Equity is a word that has no place in a school. Equity implies equality of results.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Matthew Samocki said student mental health will be one of the biggest challenges facing the district in the coming year.

“Many are calling it the next pandemic,” he said. “There is a wave that we will all face, focusing on mental health problems and mental illness. These things are not going away, we cannot ignore them. It’s not just for our schools, but it’s also for our community.

Midland resident Jennifer Ringgold answers questions during a forum with Midland Public School Board candidates Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland.

Midland resident Jennifer Ringgold answers questions during a forum with Midland Public School Board candidates Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland.

Tess De Gayner/Midland Daily News

Another newcomer, Midland resident Jennifer Ringgold, shared progressive perspectives as she hopes to dismantle the imposition of “perfection” on students, if elected.

“There’s an increased focus on demanding perfection, rather than allowing a culture of curiosity and learning,” Ringgold said. “When we rely solely on test scores from for-profit companies to define our students’ success in our schools, we lose sight of the importance of K12 learning.”

The event co-organizers confirmed that contestant Kurt Yockey had accepted the invitation to speak at the forum, but he did not attend as the event started two minutes late without Yockey. Nine candidates have come forward to compete for a seat on the school board.

Voters will elect three of the candidates with the most votes on November 8.

For more perspectives from each of the nominees, click here.


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