Ward 6 School Board Candidates Debate

Ward 6 school board candidates, Mark Naydan and Joe Weedon, answered questions about their plans for Ward 6 public schools at a forum at Eastern Senior High School on Tuesday.

Mark Naydan: The Educator

Mark Naydan has been a history and government teacher at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Maryland for 10 years. He has been a resident of Ward 6 for more than 20 years. He taught in five countries and is involved in Northwestern’s PTA and the National Education Association.

Naydan said he hopes to bring more technology into the classrooms and improve the reputation of DC schools.

Joe Weedon: The Parent

Joe Weedon is the Executive Director of Companies for Causes, a nonprofit that engages socially-minded CEOs in the community. He is the father of two students at Maury Elementary School in Ward 6.  He was involved in the development and implementation of the Ward 6 Middle School Plan and served on the Eliot-Hine Middle School collaboration team, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s Title I Committee of Practitioners, and on the board of two nonprofits focused on expanding after-school programming.

Weedon said he believes in setting high standards and hopes for more cooperation among different schools to achieve those standards.

The Conversation

Two Eastern students, Christian Coleman and Dajuan Greene, came straight from football practice to participate in Tuesday’s forum. They voiced concerns about the new PARCC assessment, a test that evaluates students based on Common Core standards.

Naydan said that while he believes that standards should be rigorous, he is worried about whether students will be able to meet PARCC standards. “What I think will happen is, the PARCC standards will adjust ultimately,” he said. He also supports alternative testing for students who do not perform well under traditional testing methods.

Weedon is a strong advocate of the PARCC assessment and does not support changing it. “We shouldn’t lower those standards, if anything, here in the district, we should exceed them,” he said. There will be lots of work to do to ensure that student are performing at grade level, but “we’re not going to take a shortcut…we’re going to work so that [students] can succeed,” he added.

Both candidates were passionate about serving the Ward 6 community. “I wish we could both do it,” Naydan said.