October 4, 2020
School DistrictBirmingham City School District
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
I want to make a difference and give back to the community. As a father of 2 boys in the system, I understand how important education is and I want Birmingham Schools to be #1 not just in Michigan, but in the Nation.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
It means that everyone is treated equally and fairly with no exceptions. In our district it means to open the doors to everyone, to educate our current staff and students about the various issues (Racism, all forms of Discrimination, Bullying, etc.)
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
I can imagine a constant temperature checking, creative ways to lower the number of students in each class so they can be fairly separated, sanitizing public space, restrooms, etc. on regular schedules, and constantly reminding students and parents to report any illness and have the backup online Zoom class for students to join just incase they are abscent.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
All families should be provided an opportunity to voice their input on decisions relevant to the school; we need to hear from the families and what they think. Providing opportunities for them to be involved is critical and engaging the parents to be involved is very important.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
#1 to provide stronger education in our district and to find a way to make Birmingham #1 school District. For example, offer International Baccalaureate. #2 Safety for students and families. Safety includes Bullying, Discrimination, etc. as well. Offer education and support for our students as well as a watch program to secure the physical safety of students and parents. #3 Teachers/Parents involvement. There needs to be more communication between teachers and parents, not just in conferences. Offer feedback on constant basis, offer opportunities for involvement for parents.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
#1 No political party should be involved in any level of education in our state. These positions should be balanced between different backgrounds and different stands on issues so true good decisions good be made. #2 Discuss with other states that have higher education standards than Michigan and see where they went right so we can follow and make it better for all of us., #3 Budgeting, raising the taxes is not always the answer. Find ways to raise money for the schools and even establish a tax deduction for families who contribute to public schools.
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?
Going virtual is challenging to everyone; students, teachers and parents alike. The school can provide a schedule for certain students to attend at various times for example, offer sanitizers, measure temperatures, less students in each class, students stay in the one classroom and have teachers come to them to lower the hallway interaction, offer to go food only.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
Textbooks and material should #1, after all education is #1 priority and we need to make sure that offer the best of the best. What should not be prioritized is contracted services and revisit that budget and make sure it is within the means of our overall goals
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
It is important to have a standardized test; however, it should not be the main factor for acceptance into a college or a university. It is important to have some measure for students to go by and to prepare them for the future.
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 definitely start an International Baccalaureate program in our schools. I would offer opportunity for Elementary students to take Middle School subjects, Middle School Students to take High School subject so they can prepared for what is next for them. What I would keep the same is the various coursework requirements for each grade.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
They need to offer full time Social Worker who is readily available with open door policy and keeping everything confidential. Educate students and parents alike to let them know that we have resources for everyone. Offer a buddy system for students so no one is every left behind or feels alone.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
Stuff like Graffiti, Bullying, bring weapons to school should definitely be disciplined strongly and in some instances even to expel them from the whole district. We need to monitor the crowd especially in the start and the end of the school day; create a neighborhood watch, have police cars go around the building and walk the building throughout the day.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
Special education is critical and to offer top notch teachers and resources to support them as well. These children should be involved, creating sports activities for them would be great, having other students support them and earn a credit in return, they need to be involved and feel welcomed at all times.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
Education the parents, students and teachers about how important equity is and open the doors for everyone alike, no exceptions. Maintaining the health and safety of students, staff and the community; maximizing students learning; supporting teachers and staff, getting a sound financial foundation. The needs of the most vulnerable must be met at all times.
Any other information you want to include or share?
I am a father of 2 boys in the district, an Accountant, former instructor in a University, I know what it takes to have the best education and safety of everyone. A vote for me is a vote for your child. Your Children are my #1 priority.
Vote for Luke Joseph on November 3, Birmingham School Board