Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Alternative News Sources update 4/23/07

Terry Bankert
Please recommend new sites.


What would you like added to this list?

"the uncommon SENSE" Flints best alternative newspaper

MiTube, A Michigan Public Media Project of Public Development

Best Neighborhood News here at East Village Magazine:

Flint Town Talk :

My favorite - Thank You Steve Meyers for Flint Talk:

Flint Citizen Internet Advocacy

Flint_Mich Flint's alternative source for news...

Other Bankert stuff, business promotion justifies time spent on internet advocacy.

Contact Bankert through his Family Law web site at

Bankert is 2007 Genesee County Democratic membership chair, Join us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Democraticmembership/

Bankert vlogg archive:

What have you done to help your community today?
Don't wait to follow just lead!

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Flint Journal Enorsements 4/22/07

Good Evening Flint
Posted here by Terry Bankert
- - -
Flint school board
Electing old and new faces best strategy for this body
Sunday, April 22, 2007


[Posted here only information concerning candidates endorsed by (GSI) is included. Information deleted is shown by ... nothing was added.-Terry Bankert 4/21/07]

The Flint schools have had a stressful 18 months under Superintendent Walter Milton Jr., who won't be around to see how his far-reaching reforms work out - having taken the top school post in Springfield, Ill.

It will be up to the Board of Education to judge what's good or bad about the changes he installed, not always with sufficient attention to detail and buy-in from staff.
The latter also can be said of some of the board incumbents running in the May 8 election. They, too, could have been more questioning of Milton's methods, which produced some helter-skelter student shifts and other innovations that often showed too little concern for how students and parents were affected.

It's not necessarily that their motives are wrong, but good intentions also require a commensurate ability to think strategically so wise policy is set. Board members should be willing to lead, but must recognize, too, that they are accountable for the district's management and to its customers. Unfortunately, increasing numbers of them have been exiting the system and subsequently worsening its deficit.

With the above in mind, The Flint Journal's Editorial Board believes new leadership is needed on the nine-member board, not a wholesale change, but additions that would add strengths and different perspectives. Our recommendations for the five seats available follow.

One-year term: Jennifer Dillard, 34, has strong professional and parenting experiences that give her grass-roots knowledge of the district and many of the troubled families it serves. She is a Children's Protective Services supervisor for the Genesee County Department of Human Services who has been active in the schools individually and with her church. A supporter of the schools' reform plan, she says it could have been carried out more smoothly. Billing herself as solution-focused, Dillard stresses the need to get parents involved and their children in the classroom.

Two-year term: Michael D. Cross, 39, has the big-picture-thinking skills too lacking on the board now. He also shows a temperament to analyze issues based on data, not emotion. Yet his participation in a student mentoring program reveals both compassion and a passion to see the schools improve. Owner of a veterinary business, Cross is also director of the veterinary technology program at Baker College. The credentials this Southwestern High graduate offers should not be overlooked by voters.

... four-year terms:... John L. Topping Jr.

...Topping, 62, an attorney, would offer a different vision than the two incumbents, but with no less desire for raising the schools' performance. He would be a questioning voice, but in a responsible way, to the reform plan changes.
- - -
Posted here by
Terry Bankert

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

GSI Endorsed candidate events

Good Morning Flint
4/19/07 by Terry Bankert


See Voter Guide at http://bankertsvoterguide.blogspot.com/

School Board Candidate fundraisers. Stamps and yard signs are expensive. Stop by one or all of the following fundraisers. Meet the people who will turn our school system around. Volunter, contact the campaigns directly by email or phone.

April 21, Pancake Breakfest Fundraiser for Flint School Board Candidate Fred Bashir. Pierce Community Center (Also Pierce Golf Course) 2302 Brookside Drive at starting at 9:00am. Fred is running for the 4 year term Fred W. Bashir 1916 S. Averill Ave. Flint Mi. 48503 744-0958 4 year. fwbashir@yahoo.com

For the most convenient parking, enter the MCC campus from Longway Blvd.
Mott Community College Regional Technology Center Auditorium
The event is free and open to the public.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
6: 30 -9 p.m.
Flint Area Public Affairs Debates
Flint Area League of Women Voters
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Flint Alumnae Chapter
Flint Board of Education Candidates Forum
Moderator: Bisi Onile-Ere, WJRT TV News reporter and anchor
Candidates for the 1 and 2 year terms will answer prepared questions between 6:30 and 7:35.
Candidates for 4 year terms will answer prepared questions between 7:45 and 9:00.
Refreshments and informal conversation with candidates will be available 6-6:30 and 9-9:30.

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More 4/18/07

From the Flint Journal on 4/17/07
Flint field is jammed
Three 4-year school board seats draw 13
By Melissa Burden and Bob WheatonJournal Staff Writers
[For the complete article see
Here it has been edited down... to the GSI endorsed candidates by Bankert]
FLINT - It's the largest field of contenders and the one with the most potential to affect the Board of Education for years to come.
Voters on May 8 will decide which candidates they want for a trio of four-year terms on the nine-seat board.
Many newcomers, also not surprisingly, say it's time for changes.
"Considering the number of people that are running, I think that's reflective of some things that the board may or may not be doing," said newcomer Antoinette Lockett, 46, a cosmetologist.
Outgoing Superintendent Walter Milton Jr.'s reform plan is in its first year but has dramatically changed the district by integrating middle schools into high school buildings and dropping the popular Challenge Program, magnet schools and the Help One Student to Succeed reading/mentoring program.
... John L. Topping Jr., 62, said they hope to restore HOSTS.
Topping, an attorney with a daughter at Central Academy and whose wife is a teacher in the district, also would like to see the magnet and Challenge programs restored.
Fred W. Bashir, 68, a retired GM supervisor, said most current board members seem to be "rubber-stamping" proposals.
"On a scale from one to 10, I'd grade them about a five, maybe a four," he said.
Bashir is the brother of Linda Thompson, the district's executive director of school transition. He said it would create no conflict if he served on the school board because he'd make a reasonable decision on anything that affected her department, just as he would with any matter.
- - - end
Posted Here
by Terry Bankert

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Use your smarts when voting for school board

FIRST EDITIONSunday, April 15, 2007
By Kelly Flynn


See also at

If caring about kids were the only criteria, then pretty much anyone could serve on a school board. After all, there aren't many people who don't care about kids. It's wired into our DNA to look out for the well-being of the little ones.

So when you vote for a school board member on May 8 (and you will vote, won't you?), don't make your decision based on who makes the most ardent speech about caring for kids. Take that as a given and look at what they know, and what they can do.

Because they need to bring some skills to the table. I'm fed up with school board members - and yes, administrators, too - who hide their lack of skill behind a lot of big talk about their dedication to kids. Big talk doesn't balance the budget. Big talk doesn't solve personnel issues. Big talk doesn't make sound decisions about building improvement. Big talk is just a cover for a lack of ability.

Caring about kids does not equal a well-rounded curriculum, fair and effective discipline, or good communication with parents.

So, what skills should school board members have? Well, for starters, they need to be smart. Intelligence cannot be underestimated in the quest for an effective school board member. Smart people can think on their feet and see the big picture. Good old-fashioned common sense is vital, too. You also want a creative thinker with strong problem-solving skills. Most importantly, though, a school board member must be able to work well with others. A candidate who uses the post as a bully-pulpit is a waste of your money.

Granted, school board members don't need to be experts on everything. That's what administrators and principals are for. With talented people in place a board can rely on their expertise. But they have to be knowledgeable enough to hire the right people, and put them in the right positions.

Leadership. It's the difference between a district that runs like a well-oiled machine, and one that blunders along putting out fires. And I'll bet you can name exactly which districts are which.

After 20 years in public education I know this: The minute someone tells you that they "want what's best for kids," you need to listen very carefully to the next thing out of their mouths. Because those five words are almost always used to deflect attention away from something else.

Be wary of the person who repeatedly reassures you of their motives. People who really care about kids rarely say so. They don't need to blather endlessly about their commitment to children. They're too busy living it.

Don't be snowed by a nice personality, or passionate, evangelical testimonials about caring for kids.

It's just not enough.

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Dr. Mike Cross candidate 4/17/06

The following is the part of the 4/17/07 Flint Journal Article on the two year candidates.

The link is cited you can read the entire article. Here I am providing only the information on Dr. Cross who has been endorsed by the Great Schools Initiative (GSI).

THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION Tuesday, April 17, 2007 http://www.mlive.com/news/flintjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1176832203117810.xml&coll=5

FLINT - Two of the five candidates running for a two-year Flint Board of Education seat would ax the current school reform plan, while a third contender is open to a new vision from a new superintendent.

And two of the people running in the May 8 election said they hope they can help improve the district and send their children to Flint schools. Their children now attend private or charter schools. ...

And newcomer Dr. Michael D. Cross, a veterinarian, said more data and time are needed to determine if Milton's plan is working. Milton's reform program significantly changed the district by creating new curricula, integrating middle schools into high schools, eliminating the popular Challenge Program and magnet schools, and opening a classical academy and gender-based schools. The plan is in its first year....

Cross... said they want to help restore pride in Flint schools and get their children in the school system. "I am a huge proponent of the Flint Community Schools and public schools in general, and yet I don't currently feel comfortable sending my child," Cross, 39, said in an e-mail to The Flint Journal.

"This is the reason I'm running. I won't be satisfied until I am proud to send my children." Cross's daughter, 6, goes to a private school; he also has a 3-year-old. His wife, Kimberly, is principal of Carpenter Road Elementary School.

He said his wife's job would not interfere with his service if he's elected. "My responsibility is to voters, the citizens of Flint who have elected me," said Cross, who posts a daily log at www.flinttalk.com and has a campaign Web site, www.drcrossflintschools.com.

"Anybody who thinks it will be a conflict of interest, I can assure them they will be proven wrong." ...

Dr. Michael D. Cross Age: 39 Work: Owner of Cross Veterinary Clinic in Grand Blanc Township and director of veterinary technology program at Baker College of Flint Education: Southwestern High School graduate; bachelor's degree in biology and doctor of veterinary medicine from Michigan State University; master's degree in business administration from Baker College Community involvement: Science review committee for Flint Area Science Fair; chairman of shelter operations for the Humane Society of Genesee County. Family: Married. Two children: 6-year-old at Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Burton, plan to send 3-year-old to Flint schools.


Posted Here 4/17/07
by Terry Bankert attorneybankert@yahoo.com

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Jennifer Dillard Candidate 4/16/07

From the Flint Journal 4/16/07.

The article contained information on all candidate. Go to the site for the complete story.


Here I will edit down to the GSI endorsed candidated Jennifer Dillard. Nothing was added... Posted here by Terry Bankert ---

FLINT - All three newcomers vying for a one-year seat on the Flint Board of Education expressed varying degrees of support for the reform plan backed by the current board. Parent Jennifer Dillard said she strongly supports the plan...

Superintendent Walter Milton Jr.'s sweeping reform plan included school closings, curriculum changes, grade reconfigurations at the secondary level and creation of an academy for high-achieving students and another with same-sex classrooms. ...

Dillard, 34, disagreed. She said enrollment wouldn't be down so much if the district worked harder to solve truancy problems. "I think we need to focus our efforts on the kids instead of closing those buildings," she said. "Let's bring these kids back into the schools. Let's get them back off the street." She said she would cut spending on staff training by sending fewer teachers to conferences. ...

*** Jennifer Dillard Age: 34 1. Work: Children's protective services/drug court supervisor for Department of Human Services in Genesee County. Education: Flint Northern High School graduate; bachelor's degree in social work; master's degree in public administration from University of Michigan-Flint. Community involvement: Title I parent group at Neithercut Elementary School; member of Family Worship Center Church in Flint; volunteer at Bryant Elementary School. Family: Married. Three children, two of school age: a Neithercut Elementary fourth-grader and a Southwestern Academy ninth-grader.


Posted here by Terry Bankert


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