Who will be Madison’s next mayor?

Soglin aims to hold on to position, Rhodes-Conway pushing for a change

We asked the candidates running to be Madison’s mayor the same five questions to understand their vision for the future of Madison. The answers we received show differences in scope, detail, and logic for where the candidates think Madison is, and where the city is going.

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Meet the Candidates for Madison Board of Education

During the primary campaign we asked candidates running for the Madison Board of Education the same five questions to understand their vision for education in Madison. For the general election, we took a different route and asked the candidates a set of questions to understand where and how they would focus their energy if elected. The election for Madison Board of Education takes place Tuesday, April 2. Candidates responded to our questions through email or over the phone. We only publish direct quotes from candidates responding to the following questions:

What is the biggest challenge facing Madison schools?

Kaleem Caire

Kaleem Caire is running for School Board Seat 3

What is the biggest challenge facing Madison schools? “Madison’s 53-year achievement/opportunity gap is its greatest challenge right now, but retaining teachers and principals, engaging families more deeply in our schools and the education of their children, and holding all of our students to high expectations are tied for second place.”

Why are you qualified to help fix this problem? “As the founder and leader of a public charter school in Madison, and the only person who would serve on the Madison School Board that has more than 25 years working in education from preschool through college, I have direct experience and success addressing these issues. We are closing the gaps at One City Schools, have more than 80 percent engagement from our parents and families, and are building a strong culture of excellence among our children and staff at our school.”

When it comes to fixing this problem, what’s more important to your vision: finding consensus (making everybody happy), reaching compromise (everybody gives up something), or sticking to principals? “None of the above.

Cris Carusi

Cris Carusi is running for School Board Seat 3
What is the biggest challenge facing Madison schools? "We need inclusivity and grassroots to narrow achievement gaps. We need to better at bottom up grassroots solution. We need more teacher voice on school based leadership team and we need to give them more flexibility to respond to unique cultures to the kids they teach. We need adequate staffing and more time to collaborate to share ideas on creative solutions to narrow gaps and students need voice to come up with solutions and described the challenges they face."

David Blaska

David Blaska is running for School Board Seat 4

What is the biggest challenge facing Madison schools? "Restoring discipline in the classroom.  Start by maintaining order at the school board meetings." 

Why are you qualified to help fix this problem? "I’m the only one with the courage to talk about demanding accountability, not playing identity politics." When it comes to fixing this problem, what’s more important to your vision: finding consensus (making everybody happy), reaching compromise (everybody gives up something), or sticking to principles?

Ali Muldrow

Ali Muldrow is running for School Board Seat 4

What is the biggest challenge facing Madison schools? “The largest challenge facing the school district is how to address racial disparities in terms of student outcomes.”

Why are you qualified to help fix this problem? “In talking about the achievement gap, one of the things I’ve been telling folks is that we create the achievement gap in elementary school and we address it in high school. One of the things I’d like to see us change is our approach to early childhood learning, [which] means investing in 4k (four-year-old kindergarten) so that young people are getting exposed to routine and play and the relationship-building tools that they need to be successful in an educational community at an early age.”

“It’s also closing the gap in terms of the arts: who gets to take piano lessons, who gets to dance, is often very specific to a young person’s income or the education of their family. And shifting that to make sure that all young people have the opportunity to dance, participate in theater, and be creative at school everyday is something that I think would greatly transform our racial disparities within the district...young people who dance at school and play at school and have greater artistic and creative freedom at school like being at school more, and behave better at school.”

When it comes to fixing this problem, what’s more important to your vision: finding consensus (making everybody happy), reaching compromise (everybody gives up something), or sticking to principles?

TJ Mertz

TJ Mertz is running for School Board Seat 5

MC Staff: What is the biggest challenge facing Madison schools? TJ: “The Academic progress and well being of the students. This is what the schools are charged with: educating and helping our students grow into being contributing, healthy, curious well people. Where we have gone wrong with trying to address this challenge is we become too top down and inside out.”

Why are you qualified to help fix this problem? “I know our district.

Ananda Mirilli

Ananda Mirilli is running for School Board Seat 5

What is the biggest challenge facing Madison schools? “Definitely racial gaps, and differentiation in how students of color experience our schools and the ways in which both students’ families and staff are experiencing health and experiencing. school safety.”

Why are you qualified to help fix this problem? “I have worked most of my adult life to address racial disparities in education. I have academic background in education leadership from UW-Madison and undergrad [degree] in human services and psychology.

Meet the Primary Candidates for Madison Board of Education

We asked candidates running for the Madison Board of Education the same six questions to understand their vision for education in Madison. The answers we received show differences in scope, detail, and logic for what education is, was, and could be. Candidates responded to our questions over the phone or through email. We avoid using framing devices and providing context in our profiles to emphasizes the voices of the candidates.  

The election for Madison Board school board takes place Tuesday, Feb. 19. 

These are the six questions we asked the candidates to understand their vision for education: 

How do you see your candidacy as addressing issues around school culture, which we define as the core set of beliefs and values that guide a school’s routines, procedures and teaching practices?

Ali Muldrow

Ali Muldrow is running for School Board Seat 4.