WEST WINDSOR-PLAINSBORO: Kaish looks out for the whole child and student body

Sue Roy, West Windsor
West Windsor residents are facing a significant choice in this year’s Board of Education election: The current BOE vice president, Michele Kaish, is running against a high school senior, Jordon DeGroote. Ms. Kaish’s platform revolves around her considerable experience within the school district, as a board member, a former PTA president, and as a parent. Mr. DeGroote’s platform is that he is a student, and therefore offers a student’s perspective. While I respect Mr. De Groote’s ambition, after carefully considering the candidates’ positions on school issues, it is clear to me that Ms. Kaish is by far the better choice for the school board.
Mr. DeGroote claims that if elected, he will revise the teacher evaluation system, so that students can have a voice in evaluating their teachers. As an initial point, Mr. DeGroote’s suggestion shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the teacher evaluation process — by law, students are precluded from being involved in teacher evaluations.
Moreover, Mr. DeGroote, has been openly critical of district teachers, believing that the district is hiring “cost-effective” teachers rather than “quality” teachers, who act as “moderators” while students teach themselves — hardly the stance of someone whom, if elected, would offer an impartial and unbiased view of the district’s academic staff.
More importantly, Ms. Kaish represents the whole child, every child. This is extremely important in light of the increasing academic stresses that are being placed on students, which often cause serious negative consequences. As her decisions while a board member have clearly shown, Ms. Kaish thinks about what impact the budget, school policies, and changes in the curriculum will have on the student body as a whole, rather than on a particular group of students or staff. Her support of the changes Superintendent David Aderhold has implemented recently to help redefine our district’s curriculum reflects her strong commitment to all district students.
Unfortunately, Mr. DeGroote appears to hold the opposite view. He has stated that he is opposed to many of the changes being implemented by the superintendent, claiming that concerns over hyper-competitive pressure are unwarranted. This position is a perfectly understandable stance for Mr. DeGroote, as a student, to take.
However, it is NOT the position that should be taken by someone seeking to serve on the board. The board represents every student, not just the highest achievers, or those able to best manage academic stresses. The board must also consider the emotional and mental well-being of the entire student body. board members must approve courses of study and school programs that benefit all students, including those who may not thrive in high-pressure competitive situations, but who may blossom in more collaborative and interactive situations.
Ms. Kaish understands the importance of supporting Dr. Aderhold’s efforts to reduce the extremely high levels of stress without reducing the district’s high academic standards. Unfortunately, Mr. DeGroote does not. Therefore, although I give him credit for running, I cannot support his candidacy.
I will vote for Michele Kaish and I ask all West Windsor voters to do the same. 
Sue Roy 
West Windsor 