Friday, October 21, 2011

Candidate Profile: Ed McKeon (D) for Board of Education

The below information is a part of the Eye's Elections 2011 series to provide information to voting citizens and does not represent any endorsement by the Middletown Eye or any of its authors.

I have two children at Macdonough Elementary School. I grew up in a home where my firefighter father, and housewife mother, spent many hours every week giving back to their community. It’s a value I share. My father-in-law, Reds McMillan, was a positive force on the Middletown Board of Education. I only hope to be able to match his effort.

We cannot continue to starve our schools and expect results to get better. We need to be sure that every dollar spent by our school administration ends up helping our teachers to instruct and our students to learn. Our Board of Education needs to foster better communication, transparency, accountability and creativity from every individual charged with the responsibility of educating our children. Strong schools can be the most effective economic development tool a city has. Good schools attract businesses and residents. There is no reason we can’t aspire to having the best schools in the state, and that should be our goal.

I don’t consider myself a politician, and I feel strongly that Board of Education decisions should be based on doing what’s best and most appropriate, and not based on political affiliation. I pledge to listen to parents, teachers, students and administrators to help make decisions that will create a better school system. School administrators need to be much more responsive to the needs of parents, students, teachers and in-school administrators.

As a founder of the Middletown Eye, I’ve spent hundreds of hours in meetings, and I know that serving on a board or commission is not an easy job. But I’ve never been afraid of hard work or a challenge. I feel my leadership skills, and my willingness to ask difficult questions will serve me well in serving the community.

You can find out more about my candidacy and views on my Facebook page “Ed4Ed.”


Anonymous said...

Ed please go back to being a reporter aftet you dont get elected. The BOE budget just cant afford rookie mistakes from people like you. Attending 100's of meetings only qualifies you for a seat at the next meeting, THATS IT !!! Some things good intentions get the worst results. If you want to get into politics start of with something simple like P&Z alternate where you wont cause any damage because you cant vote !

Ed Dypa said...

Ed is a person that will make sure that the students come first in the school system and that the administration is accountable for all financial issues so that the taxpayer has the visibility which is lacking with the current school Board

Anonymous said...

I am praying Ed McKeon is elected to the BOE. We need people who aren't afraid to speak up and tell the truth, Major changes need to be made at the BOE and I believe Ed is the man to take on that challenge. Please vote for Ed, he is level headed and really will do a remarkable job.

Rochelle Hughes said...

Ed is a great candidate for the Bd of Ed. He is knowledgeable, not afraid to speak his mind and cares about the students in our public schools. 5 of the 11 candidates will fill seats on the BOE and I don't think any of them have ever run for office before. All 11 of them are running because they can't stand how the current BOE operates and they want to see change. Ed has my vote because I feel confident that he will try his best to get the change we need. I will also be choosing 4 more candidates who I feel will do the same.

Dan Demerchant said...

Ed visited my house asking for votes. He is personally a good guy that can take criticism. I have two kids entering school age, so I have been very concerned about this topic and have done a lot of reseach on it. Philoshophically, he intends to support the current system and backs the teachers unions. He seems more interested in supporting teachers than considering the incentive structure in the school system and what is best for the kids. He is willing to make changes as long as they are within the current system. He will support a charter school if the unions run it. He wants to "demand and expect excellence" but has no method to extract the excellence from teachers that basically can not be fired, which does not make sense to me. He is basically against real competition in education and believes that schools should not be held accountable to test scores. He talks about "starving the education system" in Middletown but I was surprised that he admitted that he does not know how much the town actually spends on each child per year. I brought up the concept of school vouchers, and he did not support the concept. He basically wants to work to improve sub-par schools instead of giving parents a decision on which school their kid should go to. We briefly talked about poorer kids, and he questions if allowing school choice to poorer parents would be a good thing; he questions whether poorer parents will actually make good choices in sending their children to a better school if they were allowed to, which I think is just silly and presumptuous. He also claims vouchers benefit only rich kids, but this does not make sense because vouchers allow poorer kids to go to other, perhaps better schools as opposed to keeping them in a poorer performing school in a poor district, as it is being improved. You child only gets one time in each grade level; are you the one who's child is caught in a bad school while they work over several years to improve that school? Competition and incentive in schools is what is really needed for real change to occur. If there were enough private schools around, you could send every child in Middletown to a private school for less than what the town pays for each child currently, and they would most likely have a better, more tailored educational experience. Vouchers or stipends would also encourage the development of smaller, more competitive schools at the cost of closing larger poorer performing government schools. Doing the same thing for years, working on the same system, and expecting a different result is insanity. Please consider the points I am making. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

In response to Demerchant:

It should be noted that the 13k or so we spend per child in Middletown is nowhere near what it costs to educate a child at a good private school in New England. A good private school (non-parochial) in New England can cost between 30 and 40k, depending on whether the student is a day student or a boarder. 13k will cover Catholic school tuition in Middletown, and then some. But the real cost of Catholic school tuition is difficult to discern, given that the Diocese contributes a hefty sum to the school budget. Likewise the real cost of private school is much higher than the 30 to 40k mentioned above, since the schools fund a significant portion of their operating costs from the earnings on their endowments. (So the real cost is closer to 40 or 50k per child.)

Dermerchant speculates that if there were enough private schools around, the vouchers could cover the costs of sending kids to them. This is questionable given the real cost of quality education. Parents should also be aware that were there to be a voucher system, private schools (and Catholic schools) would simply factor that into the calculations when determining a family's financial aid package. The financial burden on the parents who send their kids to private school would only change marginally--except for those sending their kids to Catholic school (and who knows how long the Diocese will be able to fund the schools).

The truth is that quality education is expensive. The reason we pay so little for it is that what we have created is less a system of education than it is factory warehousing, which is a whole lot cheaper.