VIDEO: Barry Wurst, BOE Candidate Profile, Decision 2010 MauiNOW.com
Barry Wurst, 2010 candidate for the Board of Education-Maui Residency seat, Transcript:
Introduction: Aloha, I’m Barry Wurst. I am a teacher, and I’m running for the Board of Education, District 2. While we do have many great things happening in our school system, we also have problems that need to be addressed. I believe our main problem is the lack of clear focus. This is caused by poor communication between the Superintendent and the schools. A carrousel of changing priorities and programs, and an unclear vision of what children really need to succeed. I have a plan to address this.
Lahainaluna Boarding program: There was discussion this year of a possible funding cut to the long-time boarding program at Lahainaluna High School. Are you in support of state funding for the program or against the one-of-a-kind expense? Answer: Aside from tradition, the Lahainaluna Boarding Program is a very big value to the school, particularly the students and thier families. To continue the boarding program, alternative funding needs to be found to keep it a viable program. Finding a way to make the boarding program self-sufficient will help it survive and thrive.
Library Closures: The state Library System faced a $3.6 million deficit in 2010 and threatened the closure of the Hana Library as well as a reduction in personnel. If elected what would you do to assure Maui’s rural communities are protected and continue to benefit from services offered in other parts of the state. Answer: This issue can actually become a positive move for our rural school communities. Lets move the public libraries onto school properties, eliminate the school librarian if one exists, and put them back in the classroom. The public librarian can provide services to the community as well as the school, brining people back to the school and keeping that ohana alive. Also, if adequate facilities are not available, we can bring in a large portable building that would fulfill the need and support a small community library. If done right, this could be a win-win situation.
Furloughs: If elected to the post, what would you do to prevent a repeat of the Furlough Friday situation in Hawaii’s classrooms? Answer: Now that the legislature has mandated a minimum of 180 days for students, this should not really be an issue. Also, our next governor, hopefully, will be wiser and not cut funding during the school year. Finally, if the DOE is forced to become more efficient, and financing should be more stable, and furloughs will hopefully be a black cloud that will never haunt us again.
No Child Left Behind: Even with Furlough Fridays, 13 Maui County public and charter schools met federal benchmarks for “adequate yearly progress” on mathematics and reading scores this year, five more than met the goals last year. Do you think the federal program is working or a waste of time? Answer: No Child Left Behind was a good wake-up call. If forced states to be accountable and to reexamine their priorities and practices. Unfortunately, some of the goals are unreasonable like 100% proficiency by the year 2014. Also, the entire system is based on a punitive model. No Child Left Behind needs to be reexamined itself, to ensure that it truly meets the needs of students and what they need to succeed in life.
Closing thoughts: I have more ideas that I’d like to share with you. Please visit my website at http://friendsofbarrywurst.weebly.com/ or email me at [email protected]. If you give me the opportunity, I would like to serve your community. I am Barry Wurst; I am a teacher; and I need your help to serve on the Board of Education. Mahalo.