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State Board of Education {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Vote for two candidates to serve a eight-year terms on the State Board of Education.

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Karen Adams
    (UST)

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    Ish Ahmed
    (Dem)

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    John Austin
    (Dem)

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    Scotty Boman
    (LIB)

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    Derek M. Grisgsby
    (Grn)

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    Bill Hall
    (LIB)

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    Mary Anne Hering
    (WCP)

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    Douglas Levesque
    (UST)

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    Tom McMillin
    (Rep)

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    Nikki Snyder
    (Rep)

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    Sherry A. Wells
    (Grn)

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Biographical Information

Why do you want to be a member of the State Board of Education?

What is the overall role of the State Board of Education in Michigan?

What do you consider the three most critical duties of a member of the State Board of Education?

What would you do to ensure that every child in the state has access to a quality education?

Academically, Michigan’s students are falling behind much of the country. What must the state do to ensure Michigan’s students keep up?

How would you describe the state of standardized testing in Michigan? What do you think works and what would you change?

How would you rate the state of funding for Michigan’s public schools?

How would you improve the way the state funds its public schools? What is the best way for the state to intervene in financially or academically failing school districts?

Do you support reform of the laws that would allow greater state oversight of charter schools? Why or why not?

Should charter operators be publicly accountable for the public dollars they’re allocated?

Would you support the establishment of a Detroit Educational Commission that would have authority to site, open and close traditional public and charter schools?

Where do you stand on the State Board of Education’s proposed school guidelines for transgender students?

Do you support and will you appear at campaign events with your party’s presidential nominee?

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor? If so, explain.

Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? If so, explain.

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City of residence Novi
Age 69
Family Married to Margaret King-Ahmed (Teacher), Children: Saladin,Andrew,Nichole,Ryan, Ena Grandchildren: Malcomb, Naima, Zack, Alex, Mikka, Bellemi
Education Bachelor's Degree in Education University of Michigan Dearborn, Education Certificate
Vehicles owned 2015 Buick
Professional Experience currently:www.fr Senior Advisory to the Chancellor University of Michigan Dearborn, Prior positions: Associate Provost for Community Impact and Integrated Learning, Director Michigan Department of Human Services, Executive Director of ACCESS one of nations largest human service agencies (26 cities), Autoworker UAW Ford Rouge Assembly and Engine Plants, Dodge Truck US Army Vietnam Era served in Korea, Community Organizer Wayne County Community College (VISTA)
Political Experience Appointed by Jennifer Granholm to State Cabinet, Vic Chair Democratic Party for 15 Years, Delegate to national convention for the last 25 years
Race/ethnicity Arab American
Incumbent? false
I have been active on education issues my whole life. I believe the two most important issues in Michigan today are education and inclusion I also believe that education is the most important way forward for working people. Strengthening Public education and providing accessible and affordable higher education are the most important work we can be engage in. It is also a primary way to assure an inclusive and engaged society
To way in on and lobby for education policy that assures equal quality education for all
Putting the public back into public education By that I mean assuring parents, communities and their local elected official areat the the key decision makers in the education of their children

Universalizing the availability early education and parenting program for all families

Working to assure truly equal education. We do not have equal education today. Parents should not have to go hunting for a school that can assure a decent education for their children or worse yet be locked into a zip code that that provides an inferior education We must advocate for equal resources for all school. We need a formula that takes our the diverse needs and communities into account
Work for equal resources for every school Assure a formula that included special financing for children with learning and physical disabilities, that takes into account transportation and other costs. These and other hidden costs rob poor formula districts of the opportunity to provide a great education for our children. We also need to provide a culture that support parents, teachers, and principles and rewards successful efforts. At the same time we must provide additional supports for failing schools and for teacher who need additional training and support
Universalize early education and parenting program Invest more deeply in K-12 as well as assure affordable and accessible higher education Engage parents, and teachers in decision making Build a culture that supports not denigrates our educators Grow experiential learning opportunities for students Stop teaching to tests and concentrate on a creative learning environment

Our testing system is archaic and mechanical and is also culturally biased We need a much more creative approach We should have multiple evaluative approaches that do not force our teachers to teach to the test at the cost of real learning

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We must muster the political will to provide the nessary funds to assure quality education for all school districts. Funding for schools in general needs to be increased dramatically. You get what you pay for. Our investment in education is far behind many states We also need to revamp the funding formula for all schools so that no matter how poor or well to do a district is there is parity That requires that we take a look at the real costs of different districts and adjust the formula to assure equatable funding. It is clear that the emergency manager approach as well as the EAA have not worked We need to work more closely with school districts themselves to attack to failing schools
Yes Charters must be held to the same standards as public school It is also important that their be an authority that assures that the placement of charters does not undermine our public school system Transparency is important for all schools public or private
Any entity that takes public money should be accountable and transparent
Absolutely
I support their descision We must work with local districts and communities to assure this be done in a mindful and a non antagonistic way
Yes I have appeared with her several times already
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City of residence Ann Arbor
Age 54
Family Married 29 years to Terese Austin, with three grown children.
Education Swarthmore College 1980-1983, BA in Economics and Political Science; Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government 1987-1990, Masters in Public Administration.
Vehicles owned Mercury Milan Ford Escape
Professional Experience Director, Michigan Economic Center; Executive Director, New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan; Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution; Senior Project Manager, Public Policy Associates; former president of the Flint Roundtable.
Political Experience First elected to State Board of Education in 2000; re-elected 2008. Genesee County Road Commissioner. Fenton City Planning Commissioner.
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Campaign Website http://AustinForMichigan.com
Incumbent? true
I am seeking reelection to the State Board of Education so that I can build on our work to give more Michiganders a high-quality education and make our state inclusive and welcoming for all. A strong economy demands highly educated talent, and revitalizing Michigan means committing to rebuilding our public education system, and make higher education attainable for everyone. I have led work to set higher learning standards and create new policies and programs to make higher education more accessible. I want to continue to lead the Board because there is much work to be done to improve funding, close education and higher education attainment gaps, and reform our choice and charter system.
The State Board of Education represents the people of Michigan’s interests and is their public advocate for an education and higher education system that works for all and delivers the skills and knowledge all citizens need to succeed in today’s economy. The SBE defines needed educational policies and practices, sets education standards, and guides the practice of educators in schools across Michigan in support of improving learning outcomes. It also makes recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on the policies and funding models that support higher outcomes.
1) To represent the public’s interests in education and advocate on the public’s behalf for what it is needed to deliver a great education for all our citizens.

2) To lead in promoting the educational policies, practices, and financing that delivers on the promise of a great education for all our people-- and effectively advance these policies and practices in the public sphere.

3).To effectively support and guide the delivery of education to schools across Michigan by shaping state policies, guidance, government programs and resources, and ensuring their effective delivery in support of educators through the State Superintendent, Department of Education, and stakeholders in the field.
I would reform our school funding model and resource allocation strategy to focus on high yield investments like early childhood education and teacher training, support higher standards and ensure the resources are there to help educators meet those standards, and fund students based on their particular needs. Achievement and performance gaps have opened in Michigan along lines of geography, race, socioeconomic status, gender and sexual identity, and among differentially situated learners (for example, special education and ESL students). By devoting more funding to students in poverty and those with particular learning needs we can give every child in Michigan a quality education.
Top performing states invest strategically in public education, but Michigan has reduced its education budget by more than 25% over the last decade. High performing states also spend on educator skill building so teachers are able to deliver on high standards, and invest proportionately more in students with greater learning needs.

Michigan's proliferation of charters and virtual schools without quality control in an era of massively declining enrollments has also wreaked havoc on student learning. Michigan must ensure all schools meet certain standards of quality so that students have access to good schools and taxpayer dollars aren’t being wasted on schools that don’t perform.
Michigan needs to test our students periodically in key subjects so we can know if our high standards are being taught effectively and ensure our students are being put on a path to be well-prepared for postsecondary learning and entering the workforce. We are moving now to streamline our state-sponsored assessments to only the testing time and tools needed to effectively gauge the learning of our standards. We need to keep assessments that are aligned to our high standards, while speeding up the return of information to schools for diagnostics, and limiting the overall test-taking time to what is essential.
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Michigan’s reduction in investment in our students and schools has hurt learning outcomes for most students. We should be spending more, and spending more intelligently. Our accountability model and approach to school turnaround must invest state resources to support educator training and capacity building to improve learning outcomes in underperforming schools. Instead, the approach now being pursued wrongly outside of the SBE is focused on school takeover, closure and offering students up to for profit-educators. A drastic change is needed.
Absolutely: we should not support the uncontrolled proliferation of new charter and virtual schools without quality control. In Michigan, the blind expansion of school choice has hurt almost all schools and students. Over the past decade Michigan’s student population has declined precipitously while hundreds more schools have opened. Most schools lose students and are forced to cut important programs, and learning is diminished.

Meanwhile, when the state legislature lifted caps on charters and cyber schools, they refused to set quality standards. Our education system has been undermined under the banner of creating a marketplace for education. More effective oversight can reverse that.
Yes. States with the best-performing education systems don’t waste tax dollars on starting new charter schools if those schools can't educate children to higher levels. For us to know that Michiganders' money is being spent well, charter school operators must be as transparent as other public schools, and held accountable for both financial integrity and academic performance.
Yes, I advocated vigorously for such an entity along with Mayor Duggan, Detroit Coalition Members and members of the business and civic community. Where a “marketplace” for education already exists (like Detroit), in which school children attend a landscape of traditional public, charter, cyber and other schools, there must be some entity to ensure school quality and accessibility for all students.
As President of the State Board of Education, I led the effort to create safe and effective learning environments and support the rights of Michigan’s 150,000 LGBT students. This guidance is built on best practices for our schools that will acknowledge, support, keep safe, and assist in providing a great education to our LGBT students. The guidance, now passed, will improve education, save lives, and make Michigan a leader again in protecting the rights of all its citizens.
I do, and I would.
No.
No.
City of residence Detroit
Age 54
Family Domestic Partner: Linda Moore. Six year old canine son: Harry.
Education Grosse Pointe South High School. 1980 Western Michigan University. BS (1985) Majors: Physics and Philosophy. Minor: Mathematics. Western Michigan University MA Physics (1988). Wayne State University: Teaching Certificate (1998) and MAT (1999). Additional Coursework at Macomb Community College, Wayne County Community College, Parahawks Skydiving, SCUBA Centers of Michigan, Sempre Fi Firearms training.
Vehicles owned 2013 Ford Focus.
Professional Experience Professor: [Aug., 14 – Now. Physics: Henry Ford College. Sept, 03 – Now. Mathematics & Physics WCCCD] [Aug., ’02 – Now. Astronomy & Physics Macomb Community College.] [Feb., '99 – Now. K-12 Substitute: PESG Edustaff.]
Political Experience I served on the Wayne State University Student Council in 1999. I was Chair of the Libertarian Party of Michigan in 2006., MEC Neighborhood Patrol Vice President (2013-2015). Michigan Director of "Our America Initiative." (2014-Present). I am the Political Director of the Libertarian Party of Michigan, and Michigan Director of Gary Johnson 2016.
Race/ethnicity Human/United States of America.
Campaign Website http://scottyboman.org
Incumbent? false
To move the public discourse to a new paradigm that places Individual choice and diversity above central planning and standardization in education. This being the first step to changing policy. I would ultimately prefer an educational system that is voluntarily funded, but this far exceeds the capability of this office. Realistically, I would like to have the Board of Education work with people in the legislative and executive branch to implement reforms such as returning the amount of money parents would spend on public schools to parents who wish to enroll their children in private schools. The same for parents who wish to use these funds for home-schooling purposes.
Leadership and general supervision over all public education, except for institutions of higher education granting baccalaureate degrees. It serves as the general planning and coordinating body for all public education, including higher education. Also has the responsibility of advising the legislature on financial requirements in connection with this roll.

They appoint a superintendent of public instruction whose term of office shall be determined by the board. The board members vote, but the superintendent and Governor (ex-offiicio member), don't vote with the board.
1. Advising. This could include recommendations to the legislature, or instructions to schools and school districts. I would call for a departure from Federally subsidized PC fads like Common Core, man-made global warming alarmism, "gun-free" zones, and the Orwellian newspeak whereby teasing is called "bullying." I would encourage respect for parental choice on matters of vaccinations, prescription psychotropic medicine and medical marijuana. 2. Managing the distribution of available funds. Reduce waste. 3. Appointing the superintendent.

This is defined in Article VIII § 3 [http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-article-viii-3]

http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-5373---,00.html
Minimize the consequences of government intervention. Recommend legislation that would give families more control of education dollars. This could include tax credits and vouchers. Market forces provide for better services.

As long as schools are funded or run by a governmental body, they should be run and funded locally. The further removed decision makers are from the classroom, the less responsive their policies will be to student needs.

The Federal government's even further removed. Their funds come with too many strings attached . Funding needs are acute, but more money doesn't necessarily bring better results, especially if the quality of education is diminished by mandates.
Over-specialization is the primary cause of extinction. We need to diversify and move away from the top-down approach that seeks to standardize education. One size does not fit all. Central control caused the downward slide.

I support returning the amount of money parents would spend on public schools to parents who wish to enroll their children in private schools. The same for parents who wish to use these funds for home schooling purposes. This is a compromise. Ideally politician would not intervene in the education process and people would not have that money stolen from them by the government for that purpose.
Standardized tests like the Michigan Merit Exam have too much influence on school funding and student evaluation by indirectly imposing one pedagogy at the expense of the other. For instance, it effectively imposes a math curriculum that calls for teaching algebra before geometry even though some students perform better if they learn geometry first. The roll of test like this one needs to be reduced.

While the state shouldn't push standardization, businesses or other schools may wish to use such tests in their hiring or admission process. The schools should be open to letting testing organizations administer such tests on campus.
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I rated "the state of funding for Michigan’s public schools" as "poor", not because I support throwing more money at them, but because the money is poorly allocated, and the means of funding is immoral. Schools should compete to win over customers, and the best way to win over customers is to offer the best value at the best price.

Families should decide the best way to spend their education dollars, instead of politicians deciding for them. Students will be much better served.

The state shouldn't seize control of local schools, and they should not disempower elected local officials. The type of gross voter disenfranchisement that gutted DPS must not happen again.
This depends. I support laws designed to prevent and stop fraudulent practices, or to address serious safety issues including the protection of children from abuse. I don't support laws designed to micro-manage pedagogy, curriculum, or otherwise impair academic freedom.
Yes, for "public dollars." Charter schools are public schools because they receive tax-dollars. However, parents who chose charter schools for their children do so because they are seeking something different. So these schools should be given as much liberty as possible, within Constitutional limits, so they can give students the most innovative educational services.
No. we don't need a commission to do that. Another level of bureaucracy, would probably attract people with agendas that have more to do with opportunism than education. Charter schools will sink or swim based on their ability to attract students. Students (with the guidance of their parents) are the true customers. If we take the possibility of tax-payer funded bailouts off the table, failing schools will close on their own.

Detroit Public Schools belong under the supervision of their elected School Board. It is their job to decide which schools to keep open.
Support. These are guidelines, not mandates. It may be expensive to redesign locker rooms or restrooms, so some schools won't be able to enact the suggested policies right away, but there is no reason students should be forced to let other students (or staff) see their private parts. Separate shower stalls, bathroom stalls, and other means of ensuring privacy would be good for all students, whether or not they are transgender.
Yes. I have. I have posted and shared pictures of us together on a number of occasions. One of the more recent pictures was at our state convention. I also attended his speaking engagement at the Detroit Economic club, though I did not have the privilege of joining him on stage.

In the long struggle by 20th and now 21st century patriots to bring a genuine alternative to voters we have never had a more qualified and capable champion of personal and economic freedom than the 2016 Libertarian Party candidate for President of the United States – Mr. Gary Johnson.
Yes. Falsely convicted.

I am a police brutality victim who was convicted of trespassing in spite of the fact that I wasn't breaking any law, and I was at my place of employment in an area that was open to the general public. The law didn't even match the circumstances or my alleged behavior. We were even able to show that the prosecution's primary witness perjured herself.

On 7-30-2013 I was attacked and injured by an Officer with the assistance of other campus police officers, shortly after teaching a math class. My crime? Taking pictures and handing out campaign literature. Authorities have still refused to prosecute or investigate, my attackers.
Yes. Definitely more people are concerned with America's future than Scotty Boman's past. That being said, at the turn of the century I made some horrible decisions. Those horrible decisions led me to a point where I could no longer service my own debt.
City of residence Alanson, Michigan
Age 59
Political Experience Member of Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice. ( MECAWI ) for 16 years. Member of Green Party of Michigan for 10 years. Founding member of the People's Water Board of Detroit.
Race/ethnicity Black.
Incumbent? false
Education, good quality free education is a human right. Our children now are treated as commodities to be bought and sold, I want to change this perception.
Policy making.
Design ways to encourage our kids and adults to become great human beings. Ensure equality. Create a loving safe environment to learn.
Eliminate ALL means of privatization of public schools and make sure children and adults have a safe and creative environment to grow.
The object of education should NOT be to compete with others BUT to teach to each individual's ability and desire.
Standardized testing is debilitating. It does not allow for diversity of creativity. I would work toward eliminating ALL ' standardized testing '.
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If the goal is informed creative minds then we must make sure every student have what they need to achieve their goals. Government should make sure the finances and a safe nurturing environment is present. There is no such thing as failing school districts we have bad and failing school policies and IDEALS.
I'm for totally banning all forms of privatization including Charters. No reform but eliminate them. They create division and inequality.
NO CHARTERS !!!
NO !!! Education and the policies that serve it should be a function of an elected board.
Not familiar with the Board's proposals so I'll abstain on the question.
YES !!!
This question has nothing to do with my ability and desire to serve the public.
Once again, this has nothing to do with my servanthood. ( I think this is a word 😁 )
City of residence Courtland Township
Age 60
Family Married to wife Vicki for 31 years, sons Andrew, 28, and Griffin, 20
Education Graduate, Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, IL, J.D., cum laude and Order of the Coif, 1981, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN, A.B., magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, 1978, and Frankton High School, Frankton, IN, 1974
Vehicles owned Buick, Subaru
Professional Experience Attorney/partner in Warner Norcross & Judd, Michigan’s 2d largest law firm, specializing in commercial real estate law with 35 years' experience advising individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations. Managed firm's Real Estate Services Group for more than 10 years, about 40 attorneys/paralegals. Listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 1995. Served on many nonprofit boards, Boy Scout leader since 1994, now Scoutmaster, Rockford Troop 282
Political Experience Libertarian Party officer and activist
Race/ethnicity Caucasian American
Incumbent? false
Michigan public education is in crisis. Recent M-STEP results show that no progress is being made, even though we vastly increased education spending over the past 35 years. Traditional public school enrollment has plummeted as parents switch to charter, home or private schools. Antiquated underfunded teacher pension funds consume more and more of the educational budget. I believe freedom of choice in education and fiscal responsibility are the solutions. I have consistently supported freedom and responsibility as a Libertarian Party candidate for many years. I also have a deep commitment to youth education, shown in the 1000s of hours I have spent as a Scout leader over the past 20 years
Article VIII, Section 3 of the Michigan Constitution provides: "Leadership and general supervision over all public education, including adult education and instructional programs in state institutions, except as to institutions of higher education granting baccalaureate degrees, is vested in a state board of education. It shall serve as the general planning and coordinating body for all public education, including higher education, and shall advise the legislature as to the financial requirements in connection therewith." Today, the Board plays an important leadership role on issues of setting educational standards, testing, choice, funding and local school support.
1. To keep an open mind and treat all Board members with respect. 2. To support freedom of choice in education. Competition from charter, private and home schools pushes traditional public schools to innovate and better educate, and saves taxpayer dollars. Don’t mandate a national “common core” curriculum. Give schools more freedom to choose their own social policies. 3. To support fiscal responsibility. Address the unfunded school pension crisis by replacing defined benefit with defined contribution plans, letting poorly performing schools fail rather than bailing them out, and smartly re-deploying funds to focus on academic achievement.
Continue the march toward freedom of choice in education. Incentivize traditional school districts to offer schools of choice. Remove the cap on the number of charter schools and don't limit their locations. Free public, private and home schools from state regulations that restrict their ability to innovate and offer quality programs parents and students demand. Permit tax deductible contributions to private schools to fund scholarships for those in need. The educational variety offered to students has increased greatly over the past decade, and we should encourage further choices. Freedom of choice fosters competition and challenges all schools to do better.
Focus schools on academic achievement. Invest in teachers, not administrators. Fund classrooms, not state-of-the-art athletic facilities. Reward excellent teachers and provide more training and guidance for failing teachers. And if teachers still fail, then replace them with teachers who don't fail. Don't water down expectations; expect more educational achievement from students. Fail students it they don't meet standards. Youth learn by trying and failing. If you don't challenge them with the possibility of failure, you are surrendering one of your best teaching tools.
Yes, the M-Step test results were dismal. Yes, the test could probably be improved. But if we are to raise the bar and expect more of our schools in teaching our children, we need to measure progress, and that requires applying consistent rules over many years. Only then can we fairly judge student and teacher performance. In this case I agree with the Chamber of Commerce and reject the recent calls of State Superintendent Whiston and many interest groups to "adjust" the testing scheme for the third time in five years.
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Current funding is more than adequate to pay for a World-class education if focused on academic instruction, and not on unsustainable pension programs, funding bail outs resulting from incompetence and corruption and paying administrators rather than teachers. I would give a financially or academically failing school district the choice of accepting an emergency manager, or closing. Ultimately, as traditional school districts retreat from the idea that they "own" the students living within their boundaries, people will realize that other traditional public schools (through schools of choice) and competing charter, private and home schools provide a safety net.
No, for the reason that charter schools are currently performing well, in many cases better than traditional public schools, at a much lower cost to taxpayers. And they are routinely closed when they perform poorly. Increasing oversight would require charter schools to waste resources and personnel to perform compliance tasks, instead of devoting them to employ teachers and educate students. This would further increase costs to taxpayers and degrade the quality of the education delivered to students. Instead, we should remove the cap on the total number of charter schools, and forego rules that limit where charter schools may locate.
Of course. And they currently are. In many ways they are much more accountable than traditional public schools, which are rarely closed for bad performance. Most traditional public schools provide education less efficiently and at a higher cost, and if recent news is any guide, traditional public schools are much more likely to be cited for corrupt practices.
Many laws produce unintended consequences. I have yet to be convinced that these are tasks that cannot be performed by the institutions currently overseeing siting, opening and closing of schools. Many of the institutions overseeing these tasks for traditional public schools have been captured by special interests that refuse to close poor-performing schools and terminate poor-performing teachers, no matter how many second chances and additional resources they have been given. My fear is that such a commission would be at least as likely to act in a biased manner against charter schools as honestly fulfill its mandate. We should be moving toward more educational freedom, not less.
I know from personal experience that bullying is a problem, and must be addressed. There is no cure-all for dealing with a bullying situation, because of the many different circumstances and personalities involved in each situation. While I sympathize with the desire to help transgender students deal with the bullying issue, I doubt that rubber-stamping the Obama administration's social policy agenda on this issue is the way to address it. Rather, we must rely upon our local school boards, parents and students to do what is best for their local schools, and that requires giving them the flexibility to deal with this serious issue, not setting a standard to be used against them in court.
Yes. Governor Gary Johnson is an excellent candidate, with significantly more executive experience than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And unlike them, he has a squeaky-clean reputation for honesty. Like me, Governor Gary Johnson believes that government should promote economic freedom and be socially inclusive. This translates to freedom of choice in education, with an emphasis on fiscal responsibility.
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City of residence Dearborn
Age 67
Family Single. Have extended family
Education University of Illinois, Chicago: B.A. in Psychology Michigan State University: M.A. in Psychology
Vehicles owned 2001 QX4 in 2014 before that, 2004 Ford Focus
Professional Experience college teacher in Michigan, primarily in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
Political Experience Ran for Dearborn School Board in 2014. Received 10% of the vote a Socialist militant, active in organizing in the working class in the Detroit metropolitan area
Campaign Website http://workingclassfight.com
Incumbent? false
To say enough is enough! We have stood by too long and watched public education be destroyed in many working class communities and budgets also cut in middle class communities as well. I am running to give voice to workers who see their children deprived of a decent education because the state cuts money from public education. I can also speak for teachers and other school employees who are not only deprived of the means they need to educate children and college students, but whose wages and benefits are reduced because of budget cuts.
It is supposed to one of the highest political structures entrusted with the responsibility of improving public education. But to do that, it has to have power. Recently the Board president responded to the "Literacy" lawsuit by saying the SBE made recommendations to the governor and Legislature for increased educational funding, but itself "has no power to approve such funding." To have power, the SBE would have to rest on the "Public" --the teachers, parents, school employees, and help to organize people to demand that public money go to public education, and not for corporate tax breaks and incentives, or investors trying to make education a profitable market at children's expense.
To tell the truth about why public education is being eroded; who caused the real economic and social crisis in the public school systems; about why there is plenty of money for the schools and what it will take to get it. To organize parents, teachers, support staff -- all those groups of people affected by the budget cuts. I will try to link people from communities throughout the state who are ready to make a fight to keep their jobs, make decent wages and benefits,and to make sure children have a quality education. To make the resources of the SBE available: its offices, media access, computers, printing facilities, to assist parents and school employees in this organizing effort.
I can't do anything by myself. But I can help to organize families, students, teachers and other school employees. In history, it took a fight of poor and working class people to have the right for their children to have an education in the first place. It's going to take a fight in this time period to make sure that all the money and other resources in this state for go education, for public services, for what it is that ordinary people need. I can make the resources of the Board available for this organizing effort.
Be turned around 180 degrees. Right now the state readily hands over State money to corporations in the form of tax breaks and incentives and at the same time cuts the education budget. It starves the school systems primarily in poorer areas. It tells districts that they have to do more with less. That has to stop. But I would say the state is not going to do this without pressure from the laboring population who have every reason to fight for all the money that is already there, that it goes to guarantee an excellent academic environment for all students.
Abysmal. Constant testing and preparation for tests, to the exclusion of much else that provides real education, is a problem. It harasses the teachers and stresses out students. The current testing mania is nothing new. Historically, tests have been used to screen and classify, particularly poor and minority children, to justify cutting programs, or justify funding disparity that already exists between working class and wealthy communities. What would work is for all children to have access to the best teachers, class materials, computers, academic, athletic and cultural programs, that money can buy. Test only when children are on a level playing field to identify what each child needs.
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The current state funding set-up fails because it enshrines an unequal funding, giving wealthy districts more and poorer districts less. ALL public school districts should be funded extremely well, to give them the tools they need to educate their children well. If anything, districts starting with less should receive MORE funding from the state than wealthy districts, not less. Further to go to catch up means more resources are needed to get them there.
Absolutely, there needs to be oversight—total oversight of the schools by the communities. State oversight means nothing without real working class oversight of the state. The state has been overseeing this give-away of resources to the corporations and banks, dismantling school districts and public services in the process. A working class fight can reverse that process. The failed experiment of charter schools should be ended. The schools should be folded back into the public districts, the districts should be well funded, and they should all be controlled by the working class populations they are supposed to serve.
Absolutely. And the allocation of public dollars to privately run charters should be ended immediately. There are some good charter schools, but on the whole they have been shown to deliver worse education than the public schools--while draining crucial resources away from those schools, and lining private pockets with public money. All working class parents should be able to know that their children will receive high quality education, close to home. The lives and minds of the working class children of Michigan should not be for sale.
No. The commission that has been proposed is one more attempt to keep control of the Detroit schools out of the hands of Detroit residents. The Detroit Public Schools should be handed back to the Detroit working population, the debt created by the state oversight should be wiped out, and funding should be multiplied to give the district everything it needs to thrive. Period. The money is there to do this for every district in the state, but it has been drained away to give tax breaks and gifts to corporations and the banks. A working class fight can make that happen.
I approve of the guidelines if their intent is to foster a sense of safety and well being for transgender youth. But I would say that there are broader and deeper problems that will not be eliminated because of a bathroom, or a pronoun, by itself. We live in a society, especially now, that fosters intolerant attitudes and behaviors: racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, etc. As long as these divisions are fostered, it will show in the form of bullying in the schools.
No party presidential candidate this year. But I support the Working Class Party's two congressional candidates, Gary Walkowicz in district 12, and Sam Johnson in district 13. We will appear in campaign events together.
No
No
City of residence Owosso
Age 46
Family Wife, Amy, Married 25 years Five sons ages 23, 21, 20, 17, 16
Education D.Min. Temple Baptist U. Little Rock, AR D.Div. Midwestern Baptist C. Pontiac, MI
Vehicles owned Chevy Silverado Dodge Caravan
Professional Experience 5 years Student Ministries Pastor 20 years Founding Senior Pastor 15 years K-12 Educator
Political Experience 11 years Cultural Activist -Biblenation.org
Race/ethnicity White
Campaign Website http://www.electlevesque.com
Incumbent? false
I want to provide fresh leadership and vision to an old, broken and tired system. Liberal and progressive educational ideas have had their day and have failed our students. I want to revive the concepts of parental rights, educational liberty, fiscal clarity, moral values, and child protection. Public schools can be dangerous places, not just because of campus violence, but because of classroom dogma. While schools pass all kinds of crazy initiatives in the name of stopping bullying, they are themselves the biggest bullies when it comes to intellectual ideas. I want to help orchestrate a return to conservative educational principles, local responsibility, and local oversight.
To offer vision and leadership. The Governor, Legislature and Courts all get their say and have a role in Michigan education. However, the greater responsibility belongs to the parent, community and local school board. The State board has the role of standing in the gap between state government and the local execution of education. Their goal should be to provide advice to the state government as to the problems and needs of local institutions, and advisement to the localities as to the requirements of state government. If schools are the engines, and government the gas station, then money is the fuel, and the board is to function as the STP treatment! The board does not issue decrees.
1. To stimulate the best academic product possible for students, their future, and Michigan's success. 2. To ensure local oversight and parental rights over educational choices. 3. To create the best environment that ensures child protection and moral values.
Educational liberty is the most important standard in a quality education. Let the schools be free to compete. Provide the best product possible. Let the parents choose. Public, charter, private, religious, or home education are all viable choices. Localities should be responsible to hire their own leaders and hold them accountable for the state of their schools. There is not one homogeneous definition for a quality education. Each community may decide differently what that is. Parents must decide what that is. When the state tries to arbitrate fairness between one district and the next someone usually ends up with lopsided funding. Equal funding should be the basis for this liberty.
Right now the board is looking to the Massachusetts model. This is a leftist model that funds failure, tests lopsidedly, and scores by demographic. It props up struggling areas in order to skew the end picture. That is not real progress, it is fiction. Michigan should apply it's own standards, procedures, and tests. It should emphasize phonetic reading and general mathematics. The state board should get out of the business of social engineering schools to be hot beds of LGBTQ recruitment and start rewarding efforts that produce real results. Science deserves great attention. Practicums are expensive, but should be invested in and make up one third of classroom time.
With some of the worlds best academic and well funded universities, Michigan should tap our own brain trusts to produce our own standardized testing. Federal mandates, a.k.a. Obama core curriculum standards, are a way to grab educational funds, nothing more. Creating a test, then matching the teaching curriculum to it makes perfect sense, but let us do it locally and spend the money in our own state to do so. The process to create local standardized testing would take at least four years. The matching curriculum would take another two years. The improved test scores would be noticeable in four more years.
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Too much state intervention is the reason many schools are financially or academically failing. To send the poison and expect the antidote is nonsensical. Michigan tax payers are extremely generous when it comes to school funding. Funding is not the problem. The budget might be. Spending without cost analysis might be the problem. Teacher retirement payouts is a huge drain and should be addressed realistically. Also a logistical plan, with military precision and execution would greatly help failing schools. We really do not need more education philosophy, we just need more common sense fiscal clarity. Too much money stays in Lansing. Distribute it all to local districts.
No. Charter schools were an attempt to do just the opposite. They were an effort to get out from under heavy state guidelines and scrutiny. A free market of education is best for education. It is best for public schools. Where charter schools have corruption and failure they should be allowed to fail. Where they have stellar achievement they should be followed. The only exception to this is where Sharia law is being taught. These schools should have their charters revoked because Sharia cannot be sustained under our Constitutional form of government.
Yes, however, only in the same manner as other public schools are.
No. Prosecute corruption? Yes. Detroit should have the same standards, access, funding and liberty as every other school district. While Detroit schools have large issues, they should be free to hire their own leadership. They do not need oversight, they need leadership. Detroit is not short on educators, theory or policy. Detroit schools need a logistical expert. They need cost analysis. They need aggressive accounting and accountability. However, this should be from Detroit and for Detroit. Lansing need only to be the conduit of funds. If Detroit fails, it is Detroit's fault. When they want to seek help, Lansing should help them find logistical leadership, not issue dictates.
I have opposed these guidelines publicly and in print. Articles are available at campaign website. The LGBTQ community has orchestrated the passing of these guidelines. The poor attempt to sneak these through the board unannounced to the pubic was stopped only to be re-attempted by an even poorer attempt at openness and inclusion. The public was overwhelmingly against these policies. The so-called changes were minimalist and of no real meaning. The board vote was on party lines and was political posturing from start to finish. Any attempt to normalize LGBTQ thinking or behavior in public schools, and keep parents in the dark when their children are confused is simply "recruitment".
Yes. Already have supported and appeared with Darrell Castle.
No
No
City of residence Rochester Hills, Michigan
Age 51
Family Wife, Dalila; Daughters, Jessica, Anna and Leah
Education Bachelor's degree in Accounting/Economics from University of Michigan
Vehicles owned Chrysler Town & Country; Ford Fiesta
Professional Experience Certified Public Accountant; Chief Financial Officer
Political Experience State Representative, 2009-2014; County Commissioner, 2003-2004; Auburn Hills Mayor, 1999-2001; Auburn Hills City Council, 1993-2002
Campaign Website http://www.tom4sbe.com
Incumbent? false
If elected, I will seek to push education authority out of Washington and Lansing and down to the local level – to local teachers and parents, who know what is best for a child’s education.

And as a CPA, I will help provide oversight for the taxpayers' monies spent on education in Michigan.

I want to bring common sense to the State Board of Education. The latest vote in support of the transgender policy shows it is in need of more common sense.

I am also tired of the Board regularly attacking parental authority and parental choice and would be a counter balance to them.
According to the State Constitution, Article 8, the State Board of Education’s role is:

1. Leadership and general supervision over all public education, including adult education and instructional programs in state institutions 2. General planning and coordination of all public education, including advising the legislature as to the financial requirements. 3. Hiring the state superintendent
In connection with the above Constitutional role of the State Board of Education, I think the three most critical duties of members are: 1. Hire and fire state superintendent 2. Setting policy and guidelines for the accreditation of teaching colleges and certification requirements for teachers 3. Go to public forums to speak about educational issues and to listen to citizens’ concerns/ideas about the direction of public education.
Recently, the Michigan appellate court ruled that Michigan has no Constitutional obligation to provide a quality education. I agree with this ruling, because the responsibility for ensuring a quality education rests with the parents. This is evidenced in our school code which says that public schools work in cooperation with parents but the natural and fundamental right to direct a child's education rests with the parents. It is up to parents working with local districts to determine their standard for "quality" and ensuring that their students meet their standard. I will fight for more local control and I believe giving more choices, more options, to parents will improve education quality.
Focusing on how students in Michigan perform on one test on one day is not the best way to determine how schools are performing. I trust teachers and parents to determine how a student is doing, not arbitrary tests aligned to questionable standards or bad standards in the case of Common Core. Further, the creativity and ingenuity of our students diminishes greatly when the emphasis is on tests to form comparisons. Consider other countries, where we're also told we're falling behind - their students are great test takers but cannot think outside the test. Creativity and innovation are more important.

We need to return as much control to locals as possible and repeal and replace Common Core.
I oppose the state superintendent’s desire to make the statewide, Common Core-aligned test more high-stakes. I led the effort to stop the A-F school grading in the legislature and will do the same on the SBE. High-stakes testing results primarily in teaching to the test.

We need to push back against federal testing mandates. We don’t need to test every child with a state exam. The NAEP is able to determine education progress by only testing a sampling of students.

I prefer local districts decide which standardized tests should be used to assess their teachers and the academic growth of their students.

We should stop using standardized tests as a means to collect data about children.
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The State Board of Education does not have authority over the way the state funds its public schools. That is the legislature's job. As a state representative, I worked on some of the legislation that is providing better early warning flags for districts that may be heading for financial failure. Academically failing districts should have plenty of competition from charter school providers and nearby schools of choice districts.
I'm not sure which reforms you are talking about. I believe the best "oversight" is parental choice. If a charter school is doing a poor job, parents won't send their kids to the school and it will close. Charter schools have an additional layer of oversight that traditional schools do not - the oversight by the authorizers (currently colleges and universities). I do support a public scorecard for charter schools and all public schools that would include verifiable metrics, which would help parents make informed decisions about the best school for their child.
Charter schools should be publicly accountable...and they are! They are as accountable as traditional public schools and they actually have an additional layer of oversight provided by the authorizers. The businesses and contractors that those schools (both charter and traditional) hire, should not be forced to open their financial books to the public. Not roofing companies, computer and textbook companies nor companies who provide consulting or certain operation services, like bus services and instruction and management services.
Of course not - it would only serve the special interests who have put the Detroit school district in the sad situation it is now. It would harm parental choice. The State Board of Education doesn't have the authority to establish such a commission anyway.
I oppose them and testified against them at the September state board meeting. The policy guidelines are anti-parent and will not create better environments for health, safety and learning opportunities for students – in fact, they will do just the opposite and will thrust a more dangerous environment psychologically and perhaps physically, on students than what currently exists.

Further, this policy will only add to the confusion of kids who may have been temporarily persuaded that they somehow are a member of the opposite sex.

Those voting for these guidelines, including John Austin, should be ashamed of themselves for giving in to the far-left in their party.
Yes
No
No
City of residence Whitmore Lake
Age 32
Family Dan; Husband, Tristan; Son, Livvy; Daughter, Harold; Son
Education AAP, Washtenaw Community College; BSN, Eastern Michigan University; IBCLE, in progress
Professional Experience Nurse Educator in Obstetrics and Fundamentals of Nursing. Lactation Consultant. Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery.
Political Experience Active at the local and state levels participating in public comment, attending meetings and serving door-to-door.
Race/ethnicity Caucasion
Campaign Website http://NikkiSnyder.net
Incumbent? false
To bring applicable experience and intention to the problems facing education in Michigan today. As a Mother of three children, one of which has an IEP through our local school district and another which has a physical disability, I bring unique experience, ready to advocate for kids with disabilities. I have also been active locally in key areas of education including protecting local control. I’ve also been active at the state level by attending and participating in public comment at many state board meetings. I am also an educator myself. I teach Fundamentals of Nursing and OB Lab at WCC and have had an opportunity to experience firsthand the education our children are graduating with.
The responsibilities of the State Board of Education, chartered in the State Constitution of Michigan of 1963, charged members to provide leadership and general supervision over all public education, which is defined by the legislative body of the State. This often looks like guidance and statements that provide ISDs, LSDs and the legislature recommendation in changes that come about in education.
Placing the importance of what is best for kids as the special interest central to education. Focusing on the potential and achievement of students. Involving people closest to the problems that local school districts face by empowering parents and engaging our communities.
Bring the perspective that allows me to act in a way that honors the importance of every child. We see the current limitations of ensuring that every child has access to a quality education right now in special education. Across the state, those with special needs to do not have access to adequate services. The most recent Michigan Education Finance Study that came out states that we need to track our special education dollars more closely. Then, we hear from parents of kids with special needs that they are not getting what they need. Tracking special education dollars and then advocating that those dollars be properly allocated is an important start.
We need to first shift the conversation in education to a conversation that focuses on kids as our special interest and set goals consistent with potential and achievement. We need to elect leaders that are transparent and accountable to these goals. Then, prepare teachers and engage parents, families, and communities to help meet those goals.
The state of standardized testing in Michigan in unstable. While it continues to give us information that we have needed to acknowledge the state of education today, it continues to be a process that has not put the special interest of kids first. We need to give kids consistency and stability in curriculum and testing. We also need to admit that as every child learns differently and the outcome is different because education is an individual endeavor, standardized testing does not fit every child. Empowering parents in this conversation is key.
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Michigan is consistently at the top of funding our public schools. We consistently spend money on education than many other states. Yet, we are aware of embezzlement in schools across the state. Further, the Michigan Education Finance Study recently recommended that we need to track our special education dollars. Improvement in funding requires us to elect transparent and accountable officials and to track and allocate special education dollars responsibly for those most in need.

I think the best way to intervene is to encourage local control as much as possible and to give districts the opportunity to improve but to not allow schools or leaders to chronically fail students.
In Michigan, Charter Schools are encouraged to offer a high-quality education based on the same standards as Public Schools and are innovating a new, cost-effective approach that is both aimed at being effective and focusing on student achievement. Based on how Charter Schools are authorized, it is often that these schools are partnered with colleges or universities and education oriented leaders that are bringing ideas to an educational environment that needs financial and structural change. Charter Schools are not for profit by law. Charter Schools are governed by local boards and owned by the people and suffer a consequence for chronic failure too.
Charter Schools are publicly accountable for the public dollars they are allocated because they are owned by the public. Charter Schools submit an annual comprehensive financial report and it is filed electronically to the MDE which is subject to Government Auditing Standards in accordance with the State School Aid Act.
The responsibility to site, open and close traditional public and charter schools is covered under HB 5384 where the election for a new local school board meeting requirements outlined in the HB is carried out. The HB focuses on financial oversight and the role of the State School Reform/Redesign Officer in carrying out the success of future Detroit schools. As this was the bill that passed as the answer to the challenges of Detroit Public Schools, the message of taking local control seriously by electing transparent and accountable leaders is an important one.
The reality of this guidance is that it defines safety in schools with one marginalized group in mind. This is negligent and culturally incompetent. Further, if we are defining safety in schools from the marginalized perspective, the guidance isn’t consistent. It is using Title IX to support a group not covered by the legislation and then choosing to ignore other stakeholder groups like the Sexually Assaulted. The abundance of data that shows 1 in 4 girls between the ages of 12 and 17 are sexually assaulted by a dating partner identifies them as a relevant stakeholder in defining safety in bathrooms, locker rooms and on sports teams too. This guidance woefully neglects the safety of all.
Donald Trump was not my first choice, but I do support and will appear at campaign events with my party's Presidential Nominee, who is doing well in Michigan! As a Mother of a disabled child, I have been taken back by the things he says in public, but as a citizen that has studied the platform and policies of both candidates, I am confident he comes better prepared and able to do the job of President.
No
Yes. In 2007, during The Great Recession. Newly married and having just started a family, I lost a job that paid me well while getting my BSN in Nursing. Despite economic challenges, my husband and I persevered and took a community course available in our County and studied a financial plan that helped us to work through my degree and provide for what would become our family of 5 after this loss in income. It was hard, but it taught me many valuable lessons that I bring to the table as a fiscal conservative and leader.
City of residence Ferndale
Age 69
Family Brett M. age 47; Amanda K. age 25
Education Wayne State University, Law Degree Michigan State University, BA Education Grand Rapids Community College, Assoc. Arts
Vehicles owned Toyota Sienna made in Kentucky; Dodge Neon.
Professional Experience Caseworker, Michigan Dept. Social Services, 1970 - 1973; Lakeshore Legal Aid, 1976 to 1978, Private Practice Attorney 1978 to present, Lawells Publishing, owner, author, 1984 to present.
Political Experience Elected Ferndale Charter Revision Commission, 1996 to 1999, chaired first two years; ran for Ferndale city council and school board before and after. Ran for State Board of Education in 2014.
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Campaign Website http://www.sherryawells.net
Incumbent? false
To educate the public across Michigan about what our state government has done since the late 1990s through three Governors—Republicans and a Democrat--and will continue to do to our children's schools unless we, the people, take them back. In most cases, going “back to the future” will retrieve the better alternatives that once existed and served us well. "New" is not always progress. I want to be part of seeking and implementing those better alternatives and/or those tried and true methods.
The 1908 and 1963 Michigan Constitutions mandated the Board to be "the planning and coordinating body for all public education" and to "advise the legislature as to the financial requirements." The Governor is an ex-officio, nonvoting member. Gov. Engler took away functions from the Board. Granholm restored only the MEAP, despite promises to restore all, and Snyder pulled out the Office of School Reform and Redesign. The Board does curriculum review, updating, standards and guidelines; it handles issues relating to student differences (aka diversity, disability, etc.) and listens to public concerns for only three of its roles.
Listening—to the public, to the staff, to educators, students, organizations and making plans and coordinating as a result. Informing and advising the legislature as to the financial needs to accomplish this vital obligation. Educating the public about all of these.
Return the schools to the communities, who understand what their children are up against—asthma in highly polluted areas, for example. We are all stakeholders and need to be work within our communities for success. See my other answers below re: failing, financing and the future.
Get the Governor out of the State Board's mandated--by both 1908 and 1963 Michigan Constitutions—responsibility areas. It was the Association of Governors that brought us Common Core to enrich several corporations. I've attended State Board meetings and they cover all areas thoroughly and can plan, coordinate and advise as they are mandated to do.
Common Core and its emphasis on such testing enriched 5 or 6 already large corporations. “Back to the future” means the time when testing was used in high school to help determine a student's strengths, weaknesses and interests towards planning for their futures. A teacher can tell when a child is having problems learning—tests are not needed for that. The nonpunitive parts of the new reading legislation could work—I hope so. It needs to be well-funded.
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It is the responsibility of each state to provide education to its citizens. Thus, per-student funds should be a priority item in the General Fund. All districts should get the same amount per student for education needs: teachers, text books, technology. Music, art and true physical education should be restored as part of the curriculum. Individual communities could fund activities such as athletics and non-academic construction desires. The State Board recommended using consultants that it could provide for “failing” school districts, to work with the community of parents, teachers, students, residents. Wrap-around services could augment the funds for at-risk communities.
I support no charter schools—they have mostly undermined the time-honored public schools. But IF they are to exist, there should be only State Board of Education authorization and oversight, which would include transparency, accountability, auditing. The taxpayers' money now going to authorizers and corporate CEOs and stockholders would instead go back to the children, as was intended, before the US was on its way to becoming a corporatocracy.
Of course! Public schools with elected school boards must be; there should be no exception. I want to see where my tax money and yours is going, how it is used. WE and our children are the stakeholders.
NO! And I hope that is behind us. However, the Legislature abolished the elected Detroit school board in favor of a to-be-elected one jammed with enough candidates to try to create the Governor's choices.
I was present at that meeting, supported it and they passed it. If God exists, God created us all, differences and all.
I do support Jill Stein and did appear and speak at the Rally held for her in Detroit on 9/3, as one example.
No!
No--it is a point of pride to have been a small business owner for 38 years and never filed bankruptcy for it or myself personally.

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