Meet the candidate: Matt Andrzejewski for Madison School Board
For Madison School Board candidate Matt Andrzejewski, improving teacher morale—through allowing more autonomy in the classroom and reducing workloads—should be the central theme in tackling local education issues.Image By: Betsy Osterberger
Matt Andrzejewski, a university professor and father of a local high school student, says addressing education issues at any level starts with ensuring high teacher morale—especially in the case of Madison Metropolitan School District, where he is running for seat seven on the Board of Education.
“How we honor and respect our teachers is a big concern to me,” Andrzejewski said. “The better we treat our teachers, the better our students are going to do.”
Andrzejewski sees improving teacher morale as a necessary precursor to effectively tackle the most critical issues he sees at MMSD, such as racial disparities in achievement and discipline within the district.
Increasing teacher autonomy in the classroom would help, he said, by getting rid of a top-down management style where teachers are being told what to do.
“The superintendent came in a couple years ago and said she thought the teachers were suffering from initiative fatigue,” Andrzejewski said. “New programs and initiatives were being fired at teachers like with a machine gun. Maintaining and managing all of those initiatives has really undermined the teachers.”
Andrzejewski said MMSD should focus on improving classroom climate before adding more of those programs and initiatives. That means, he said—in addition to giving teachers more independence—the board will work on reducing class sizes.
“We’ve made decisions to promote initiatives over reducing class sizes,” Andrzejewski said. “At the middle school, we’ve made decisions about extracurricular activities, arts and sports at the expense of things that are going to keep kids in school and doing what they need to do.”
Another crucial issue within MMSD, according to Andrzejewski, is the systematized Behavior Education Plan currently in place.
Instead of referencing a generalized model of student behavior, the plan should look at each situation uniquely, he said.
“For example, a kid may bring a gun to school because he wants to show off, because he’s actually fearful for his safety or because he’s modeling what’s happened at home,” Andrzejewski said. “Those kids need to be treated differently.”
Andrzejewski said having analysts come in to help and support teachers in facing severe, challenging behaviors would help.
“We need to consider the many kids who need individualized support,” Andrzejewski said.
The primary election is Feb. 21, and the general election is Apr. 4.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter