Free Press Opinion: We Endorse Mary Burke For Madison School Board
“Education should be the top priority in our city.” This statement was made to us during a recent interview with Madison school board candidate Mary Burke.
The Simpson Street Free Press editorial board could not agree more. We have always felt that much more emphasis must be placed on education in the city of Madison. Especially with the high drop-out rates among minority students, we need to do more to successfully educate our kids. We need to do more to bridge achievement gaps.
As a Madison school board candidate, Mary Burke hopes to become a part of strengthening the Madison Public Schools. During our meeting with Mary Burke in our newsroom, she highlighted four main areas that she wants to address as a school board member: great teachers, parent engagement, funding, and community engagement.
“Madison is home to wonderful educators,” said Burke. She wants to continue to “support, develop, engage and motivate all teachers in the district.”
Secondly, Burke would like to see an increase in parent engagement, especially among the parents of minority students. Parents should be seen as partners with teachers and students in education. All these partners should play active roles in our schools.
In addition, Burke feels that the school district should use recourses effectively when it comes to funding. Lastly, Burke emphasized the need for local community organizations to join with the school district in an effort to successfully foster academic achievement.
Community engagement was the avenue that led Burke to get involved with education in Madison. Thirteen years ago Burke began mentoring two of elementary-aged boys who had a rough home life. Seeing the impact she could have on the life of a student, Burke decided to get more involved. Later, she mentored several other students.
Burke has also worked for years with the local Boys and Girls Clubs as a board member and supporter. In recent years, Burke and the Boys and Girls Clubs collaborated with local businesses, local schools and the University of Wisconsin to create the AVID/TOPS initiative—a precollege program.
When asked about her thoughts on superintendent Dan Nerad’s recent proposals to bridge Madison’s achievement gap, Burke responded by saying, “I see it as options on the table.” While she recognizes the various issues faced by the Madison Metropolitan School District, Burke is hopeful that Madison can make positive changes by applying focused solutions.
The editorial board of the Simpson Street Free Press firmly believes Mary Burke is a community-minded, passionate, and devoted individual who would be an excellent addition to the Madison School Board. We are very impressed by how sincere and committed she is.
“Madison has to act now, because the longer we wait, the bigger our problems will get and won’t be able to change it,” she told us during our interview. We agree. And we endorse Mary Burke for Madison’s school board seat #2.