By Alyssa Birkeland, Current Staff
Vinney Pheng is running for re-election for his seat on the school board. The election among three candidates for the two open seats will be held April 7.
Pheng was raised in California’s Bay Area and attended San Francisco State University for his bachelor’s degree in political science. After spending more than 10 years in the military, Pheng moved his family to Wisconsin for a job opportunity. He currently works for a company in Cedarburg in the fulfillment department.
He is a deacon at First Baptist Church and runs a weekly fellowship group for the residents at Samaritan Nursing Home. He is also involved in fundraising for the Ozaukee Christian School, where his children used to attend.
Pheng is completing the end of his first three-year term on the board. He says that he was on the fence about whether he should run again or not. Pheng elaborated on the long learning curve (up to 18 months) that comes with starting out on the board. He was persuaded to run for re-election because he feels like it would be a disservice to have a new member go through the same curve after only serving one term.
In an interview with The Current, Pheng was asked his opinion on the following questions:
What is your view of Common Core and what would you do about it?
Pheng understands and empathizes with the concerns that many people feel regarding Common Core. He said that there is unease about where these standards come from and questions why a city like West Bend should have to follow mandates from the federal and state government. Pheng also addressed the fact that the Common Core standards require achievement at certain skill levels but do not prescribe how those skills are assessed, which leaves room for controversy.
What is your stance on the amount of standardized testing and is there any action you would take on that?
Pheng believes that testing should be minimized and recognizes its negative effects. Although some testing is required by the state, he hopes to reduce what the board is capable of at the local level.
What do you see as a possible solution for the recent tension between high school students and administration?
Pheng said that a certain amount of friction can be beneficial. He sees the main cause of issues, like the protests earlier in the year, as a lack of communication, but more importantly, a lack of trust. With new administrators, Pheng thinks that it is especially important that students get to know their principals and feel comfortable with them.
Click on the links to read full transcripts of Vinney Pheng’s answers regarding Common Core, testing, and tension at WBHS.
Also read interviews with candidates Therese Sizer and Monte Schmiege at The Current.