Election 2017

Meet the candidate: Ed Hughes for Madison School Board

Incumbent Madison School Board member Ed Hughes would use his experience to ensure adequate funding that would keep the district competitive and to address the achievement gap in schools, if reelected in the upcoming municipal election.

Image By: Alicia Shoberg

Incumbent candidate Ed Hughes, who has served on seat seven of Madison School Board for nine years, says his experience would allow him to effectively lead efforts to secure adequate resources for schools and to address the district’s achievement gap in a fourth term, if reelected.

Public education is “under assault” at the federal and state level, according to Hughes. It’s necessary for Madison Metropolitan School District, he said, to maintain a level of funding that will ensure high-quality teachers and programs—essential components for remaining competitive.

“We want to be the model of a successful urban school district and demonstrate that our public schools can do the job in terms of providing all of our students with a quality education so people don’t go seeking alternatives,” Hughes said. “That requires having enough money to pay for the things we need to, so ensuring adequate resources is a critical issue for us.”

Last year, Hughes led efforts to pass a referendum granting MMSD tens of millions of extra dollars in funding. The referendum allowed MMSD $26 million in additional funding over the next four years. It also created a contract with the city, he said, that gave the district access to up to over $9 million in property taxes that were being held.

“It’s good to have people who have the experience to be able to not just spout slogans as to why things are bad, but who actually provide an analysis and point out specific adverse consequences to policies,” Hughes said.

Addressing the achievement gap in schools is also essential for keeping MMSD competitive, according to Hughes.

“It kind of overwhelms a lot of other issues when you look at the numbers of students of color who aren’t achieving at levels we’d like to see,” Hughes said. “Ultimately, I think we’ll be judged as a school district by the extent to which we’re able to narrow our achievement gaps.”

Hughes said narrowing the district’s achievement gap requires a holistic approach. That includes, he said, focusing on a quality four-year-old kindergarten program, making sure that everybody is able to read by third grade, cutting down suspensions and expulsions and making classrooms more engaging.

“It all comes down to having a great teacher in every classroom and having the teachers lead consistent and coherent curriculum,” Hughes said. “We can’t narrow our achievement gaps without benefiting everyone. That doesn’t mean starting special programs for particular groups of kids, but instead making the whole classroom experience better for everyone.”

The primary election is Feb. 21, and the general election is April 4.

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