Sunday, April 22, 2007

Flint Journal Enorsements 4/22/07

Good Evening Flint
Posted here by Terry Bankert
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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.
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Posted here by
Terry Bankert

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