October 4, 2020

Mario DeSean Booker

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictFlint Community School
City:Flint

How long have you lived in your district?

40

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I have always longed and strived to serve the community I love and grew up in. Growing up I very rarely saw Men in position of power or with strong educational backgrounds. Sadly, within the urban community, there are very few role models who display images of integrity and come with strong scholastic backgrounds. It is important that children see broad spectrum or see themselves in local leaders. I feel as someone from the community who never left, who surpassed the adversities of the “ghetto” achieved high academic success, and wants to make impactfully change and model that your current reality doesn’t dictate your future i need to serve.

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

Education justice involves schools and communities that work to provide equitable and adequate distribution of highly qualified teachers who can provide quality instruction, equitable access to educational resources, advanced courses, and a focus on restorative justice to ensure that all students graduate high school ready for career or college. Specifically for Flint community schools, resources need to be put in place and refocusing is needed to ensure students receive equitable instruction coupled with equitable resources. Flint suffers significantly with funding educational programs and the educational system. This is in part due to a reduction of pupils in the Flint Community Schools. This creates an injustice of education to the students and can and oftentimes due cause futuristic deficiencies in this student.

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

One of the key areas I can see reimagined is the continuation of virtual learning. Most higher learning education facility and colleges have already transitioned to offer classes virtually years ago. I feel in order for children to be successful in an colligate environment and navigate these new technological landscape the continuation of virtually learning is needed.

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

Yes, i believe elected board members need to be the voice of those who elected them into office. With a seat on the Board of Education the member need to be an advocate and voice to those who put him/her into office.

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

None

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

• Establishing working relationship with law enforcement and the court system with goals to reduce arrest at schools
• Strategic re-branding Flint Community schools,
• devote resources to scout and capture students
Enrollment increase, must be coupled with enrollment retention. We need to retain the students we have, while at the same time increase enrollment. The board need a strategic plan to increase enrollment. Strategic points (which I will push for) includes, community involvement, rebranding Flint Community schools, devote resources to scout and capture students, and launch a parent ambassador program. I believe incorporating these into a solid strategic plan, and enlisting community partners to help rebranding, will change the narrative and prospective on Flint Community Schools. Which in return, will cause parent to send there children to our community!

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

NA

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?

Covid has had detrimental effects on the educational system, many of which were unforeseen. To keep children and staff, I feel school system should continue virtual learning for those that are able, and reduced classroom size and implementation of social distance practice throughout the school building.

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

I believe the top spending priority needs to be investing back into the educational enrichment of the students. This pandemic has clearly demonstrated that fragility of the Flint Community School system and the growing need to fortify the district with more qualified teachers and developing our educational infrastructure to accommodate virtually learning. We must invest in ourselves to help ourselves.

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

Many studies have deem standardized testing to be impractical and cultural non-inclusive. I am not a proponent of standardized testing, studies has not showing any improvement in student achievement and furthermore, standardized testing are not reliable tool to measure student performance especially with special education students. It creates a “teaching to the test” mentality, where teacher teach student just to pass this test, but this hinders good practice teaching methodology.

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 encourage and want to implement more trade skill development and increase STEM training. I feel these are areas that need to be expanded within the Flint Community School district.

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

I believe it is the responsibility of the school to ensure both staff and students operate in positive emotion and mental wellbeing. Failures in this area hinder developmental growth and education potential.

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

Studies have shown that zero tolerance polices don’t work. This default position need to change. It creates a manage up or manage out policy and feeds the school to prison pipeline. Comprehensive discipline polices and corrective action plans tend to cause the most correction in students struggling with behavioral problems.

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

As a parent of a special needs kids, i wholly believe in parental involvement and when the child comes of age include the child to ensure all parties agree and their voices are heard. IEP meeting should be hosted frequently. This, from my experience, doesn’t happen in my district.

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

I vehemently support equity in education. Not to me things equal but equitable and fair. I believe in fighting and pushing for the resources need to establish a fair education platform for students in Flint.

Any other information you want to include or share?