We asked school board candidates who have endorsed the Educate Ann Arbor platform to write a short post introducing themselves; describing what they are most interested in working on when they are on the board; and a bit about what most resonates with each of them about the Educate Ann Arbor platform.
Harmony Mitchell writes:
My family relocated here from the Washington, DC Metropolitan area in 2012, in search of a place to nurture and raise our family. While the majority of my experiences with the Ann Arbor public schools have been positive I began to notice a trend that I had seen before. Looking for answers I visited my children's school often and questioned why things seemed to be declining. Through discussions with other parents it became clear that the community was not being heard. I am graduate of Hampton University, an advocate for finding forever homes for children in foster care, and supporter of parent teacher collaboration. I reside in Ann Arbor with my husband Lester and our four children Aaron, Ariel, Trenton, and Eva.
Some of the things I look forward to working on as a board member are:
- Closing the achievement gap.
- Improving equity among the teaching staff.
- Reducing the amount of testing.
- Improving relations between the board and the community.
None of these goals are easy tasks but I will not give up.
When it comes to running a school system there is no most pressing issue. The answer is complex and as tedious as building a house. The easy answer would be to suggest, a balanced budget. This is a fair answer, but it does not speak to the kind of education, equity, and experience the student and staff will obtain. Like a house there are many fine details involved from minor, paint color, to major, plumbing and the roof involved. So while we can certainly lay a strong foundation with a balanced budget, if we don't build a functioning structure it will not matter. It is my hope that each board member brings their perspective to the table with the goal of better serving the students, staff, and community in mind.
I endorsed the Educate Ann Arbor platform because it spoke to me as a parent. Understanding that parents are partners in the education of their children is important. Furthermore recognizing that parents should be able to opt out of standardized without consequences is just as important! We need to make sure that the community as a whole is involved with the public education process.