Monday, October 13, 2014

Middletown Candidates Debate Education, Who was silent?

Candidate Len Suzio 
for the 13th
Last week candidates who have districts in Middlesex county gathered to debate education. All incumbents and new challengers were invited to the debate moderated by local Izzy Greenberg director of the Middlesex Coalition for Children  Nothing was off the table. The Press did a fair job of summarizing what happened at the debate, but the most interesting outcome is what the article leaves out; who was silent. Format of the debate was a 5 minute intro where the candidates could introduce themselves followed by questions asked by Greenberg in which all candidates could raise their hand and answer; some all were called on, some 3-4 where chosen to answer. Candidates Linda Syznkowicz, for the 33rd District, and candidate Len Suzio, candidate for the 13th, came out strong against Common Core. Syznkowicz, a current member of Middletown's Board of Education, made it clear part of her reasoning was that local teachers where never consulted as to the make up of the curriculum.

The Press quotes Syznkowicz as follows: Szynkowicz said Common Core ignored teachers’ input. “You lose the teachers’ personality with everything,” said Szynkowicz, a member of the Middletown Board of Education. “We are spending more time teaching to testing, not teaching to learn.” Like Syznkowicz, republican candidate Suzio echoed this assessment, and encouraged parent involvement at early ages rather than the reliance on government programs. Rep. Matt Lesser of the 100th District, who has in years past supported the early release of violent juvenile offenders, who had earned credits, spoke in favor on not incarcerating juveniles, but education them instead.

Who was silent? In all this, 20+ year veteran (11 terms) of the state legislator incumbent Rep. Joe Serra never raised his hand to answer a single question after giving his 5 minute intro. His reason for being an "expert" on education is that his wife is a retired teacher. At last months DOT presentation in Middletown dealing with the remodeling of the treacherous Route 17 on ramp to Route 9, Serra, long time chair of the Legislature's Highway committee & CASHO left early dodging the crowd & reporters both eager with questions.

October 22 Green Street Arts Center on Green St Middletown will hold its meet & greet with the candidates, open to the public.

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