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Our Kids Deserve Better

Peter Ruppert, Candidate
East Grand Rapids School Board

What we know about EGR School Board candidate Peter Ruppert with respect to the issues on this blog comes from a few different sources.

Mr. Ruppert’s comments at EGR School Board Candidates’ Forum yielded a few insights into his positions on the issues with which this blog is concerned, specifically, how he might respond to State data regarding special education, what he thinks about the Focus Schools designations, and his stated willingness to challenge the administration.

Also, we have posted a couple of readers’ comments regarding Mr. Ruppert.

Below is what we learned from the East Grand Rapids School Board Candidates’ Forum:

Board Candidates’ Forum

Peter Ruppert

  • Incumbent
  • President & Founder, American Education Group
  • Very articulate.
  • Seems his deep experience in school management give him a broad (not just local) perspective.
  • Sees biggest challenge as continuing to improve even under changing financial constraints.
  • Stated he spends significant time benchmarking East. Clearly passionate about International Baccalaureate (IB) accreditation. Sees that as a way to benchmark East against the best schools, as means of raising standards and identifying necessary improvements.
  • Said many might be prone to dismiss the recently received Focus School designations. Said we shouldn’t do that and that we need to look deeper.
  • Many times during the Forum, he mentioned the need to challenge the administration when appropriate. He seemed to see that as an important role.

Update November 3, 2012:

Mr. Ruppert recently added a page to his campaign site to address “hot topics,” including Student Achievement, Special Ed, Engage 1:1.

Readers Respond to the Candidates’ Forum Post

I appreciate your analysis of the candidate forum, but you need to look at it from a broader perspective. You speak highly of Peter Ruppert as if he is an outsider with great new ideas. The truth is that he has been on the school board for the past five years, and in that capacity he has walked in lock-step with the administration. He championed one-to-one, even in the early grades where it makes no sense. His full-throated support at the candidate forum for the IB program is another classic example of supporting an initiative that is expensive, misguided, and will drain resources from the very programs you advocate. If you think you will have an ally in Peter Ruppert, you are sorely mistaken. In his tenure on the Board, he has openly advocated cutting funding for special education. He sounds smooth, but look what he does for a living. He sets up and operates charter and private schools – a clear conflict of interest for a public school board member. —EastParent

In response to your comments about Peter Ruppert, I would like to respectfully disagree. He has not “walked in lock-step with the administration”, and in fact, if you asked other board members and administrators, they would tell you that Pete is a board member who frequently questions and challenges district decisions. He is not afraid to voice his opinion for the benefit of the district. Furthermore, Pete did not “champion” 1:1 in the early grades; rather he emphasized the importance of school & classroom execution and proper vetting so this program would not be just another technology line item with no value added. His stance is cautious about the district-wide rollout, preferring to validate its effectiveness and give time for the administrators and teachers at each level to be ready to implement the program. Finally, Pete does not operate charter schools. He runs private schools, that happen to be extremely successful for special education students, and they are not a threat to the traditional K-12 model. Pete has 4 children in EGR public schools, so I am not sure how he could be perceived to have a conflict of interest. Pete brings a wealth of knowledge on all areas of education to our board and we are lucky he can serve his community by sharing his time and talents. — EGRHSparent

Links to What We Know about other EGR School Board Candidates

Mark Hessler, Candidate for East Grand Rapids School Board
Michelle Rabideau, Candidate for East Grand Rapids School Board
Elizabeth Welch-Lykins, Candidate for East Grand Rapids School Board