October 4, 2020

John Telford

School DistrictDetroit Public Schools Community District

How long have you lived in your district?

84 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Longtime DPS activist Helen Moore has endorsed me.

Are you an incumbent?


Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want my city’s black and brown children to get the same quality of education I received in DPS–and since the 1999 state takeover, they haven’t..

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

See previous answer.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

All DPSCD stuents would score in the top ten percentile of the SAT.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

We serve them and carry out their wishes.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

I gave the late State Rep. Isaac Robinson a lot of money to manage my campaign before he died of the virus, and I can’t recover the money, so I’m using my radio show, my newspaper column, and Facebook to campaign.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

My platform is literacy, student and staff safety, and a trade learned by 12th grade.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

That the state pay for a forensic audit to uncover the theft DPS from DPS of $3.5 billion during the takeover, that the money be restored, and that the perpetrators go to jail.

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

Instrution totally online, and schools used as center for special needs.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

Academics first, everything else second.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

A significant one

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

I would return the curric. to the teaching of traditional grammar to deal with dialectical problems.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

A vital one.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

Open more alternative schools for students with behavioral problems, and bring them back when the problems are no more.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

Re-open the Oakman Center.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

This is essential.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I served as the DPS Superintendent pro bono in 2012-2013 under state-imposed emergency financial MISmanaement.