October 4, 2020

Rob Mangan

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictFowlerville Community Schools
City:Fowlerville

How long have you lived in your district?

2 Years

Have you received any endorsements?

Yes, Fowlerville Education Association FEA/MEA

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

As a father of three Fowlerville students, the spouse of a Fowlerville high school teacher, and a believer in the immeasurable value of lifelong learning, I am deeply invested in doing what is best or our community and for education. Education is the foundation for the quality of life and the future of our community and society. Education must take center stage politically and socially in our community and across the US. We must work to unite our leaders and the community to fund education more appropriately and to empower our education system. Our education system is the core of our society and must have the tools, funding, and authority to evolve as needed to be competitive and remain ahead of the technology and teaching techniques that stimulate and support learning. I promise the community I will always put the majority interest above my personal interests, to always ask the tough questions that cause reflection and positive development, and to always vote with the end in mind, which is safe schools and the best learning environment possible. We must expect better of ourselves to assure the next generation is equipped to do the same. We must be fiscally responsible as a community while balancing a progressive agenda that adopts technologies and techniques to remain competitive with the growing nature of diverse educational options. I intend to put our children first by driving the shareholders of our educational system to always deliver above what is expected today to meet the demands of tomorrow. I intend to help the shareholder recognize the great value of career teachers and their immeasurable contribution to learning and a cohesive, functional, and ever improving community. Never in history, has education been more threatened by politics, defunding, and unreasonable expectations of our teachers and the education system. It is because of these threats I feel the strong need to become a member of the board. Strong and confident leadership is needed to assure our stakeholders in education reflect, analyze, and fight for what is right and needed for an ongoing and successful education system. We must never be satisfied with the results and must act accordingly. These are the reasons I believe a board of thoughtful and caring leaders is needed for our community. A board that looks at the broader impact of education and the great importance of fully backing our education system is necessary.

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

Education justice means a relentless and never ending fight for equality across the world through education, fairness, and global citizenship. It means seeking out better policies and politics to guarantee funding is balanced to ensure career educators and peak education are maintained for all types of students from every social level of our shared society. For Fowlerville, it means seeking out solutions that help all students, including economically challenged families and migrant working families, maintain a right to a high-quality education with all of the facilities and materials necessary to prepare for a technical career or higher education. It also means supporting a school system that can provide the very diverse social systems, which families and children rely on to maintain a good and healthy quality of life.

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

There are no limits on what is possible, only limits on what will be funded. If school funding matched the importance and benefits of education, we could indeed make leaps and bounds in the efficacy and quality of our education system. Nonetheless, we are bound by politics, regulations, misunderstandings of laws/regulations/& tax uses, and many other complex variables that contribute to the equation resulting in our current public (and private) education system. If we could rethink education completely, there would be a blending of technology, online virtual teaching, higher education, and the vast social systems that are managed by the school for the community. We would have better pre-k care and advanced classes stemming from very young ages. We would use standardized testing to understand student strengths that lead to various programs. The system would cater to the benefits of education and the potentials of each student. Teachers would have a far more rewarding career and would have less need for collective bargaining support. Parents would have stronger support systems. Children would have more flexible options with a wider range of arts. Physical education would de a daily component. Healthier dietary options would be available in our cafeterias. Multiple language learning options would begin at younger ages. Emerging technologies would be at the forefront of our curriculum. For now, we fight for the budget to maintain the decaying systems we have in place…

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

Everyone can have a voice in what education looks like by voting on their local board of education; all the way through the President of the United States. Each decision has an impact on the agenda of our Federal, State, and local government. Every mileage and proposal that is passed or rescinded impacts education and our resulting economy and the social stability of our nation. Everyone should get informed, vote, and have a voice. No one can do too much.

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

I am currently not accepting any contributions for my campaign.

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

a. The school system is facing many challenges. (1) Short-term challenges include in-person instruction balanced with a strong online curriculum. Although there is no perfect solution, Michigan’s Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap, as well as the local roadmap, fell far short of a reasonable solution for our teachers and students. More emphasis should have been placed on what is required to create a sustainable safe-learning environment. The current expectations of teachers are unsustainable for managing an in-person and online curriculum. More thoughtful and creative solutions were achievable before the start of the 2020-2021 school year that could have provided a safer environment with the potential for better learning for both online and in-person students. As the current pandemic continues, we will likely be faced with revisiting this challenge. Even if we do not need to revisit this topic for the current Covid-19 situation, these evolutions in the education system will be necessary to remain sustainable and competitive.
b. (2) The landscape of maintaining career committed teachers is decaying rapidly and thoughtful changes are required to help provide a safer, more comfortable, enjoyable, and properly compensated environment. Teachers are the core of the system.
c. (3) Long-term, we must creatively address challenges in how we balance our funding, employ new technologies, enhance a safer learning environment, address curriculum changes, and improve our facilities and community togetherness. Achieving the greatest possible outcome in maneuvering through these said challenges will take a great deal of commitment, patience, communication, transparency, leadership, and relentless expectations for more than “good enough.” Our community must hold the board accountable for driving these achievements. It is each board members’ responsibility to demand and support the best possible education while providing for the safety and welfare of students in all circumstances. We must put students first, recognize the value we have in our teachers, and meet our families where they are. I will work tirelessly to meet the challenge.

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

a. The school system is facing many challenges. (1) Short-term challenges include in-person instruction balanced with a strong online curriculum. Although there is no perfect solution, Michigan’s Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap, as well as the local roadmap, fell far short of a reasonable solution for our teachers and students. More emphasis should have been placed on what is required to create a sustainable safe-learning environment. The current expectations of teachers are unsustainable for managing an in-person and online curriculum. More thoughtful and creative solutions were achievable before the start of the 2020-2021 school year that could have provided a safer environment with the potential for better learning for both online and in-person students. As the current pandemic continues, we will likely be faced with revisiting this challenge. Even if we do not need to revisit this topic for the current Covid-19 situation, these evolutions in the education system will be necessary to remain sustainable and competitive.
b. (2) The landscape of maintaining career committed teachers is decaying rapidly and thoughtful changes are required to help provide a safer, more comfortable, enjoyable, and properly compensated environment. Teachers are the core of the system.
c. (3) Long-term, we must creatively address challenges in how we balance our funding, employ new technologies, enhance a safer learning environment, address curriculum changes, and improve our facilities and community togetherness. Achieving the greatest possible outcome in maneuvering through these said challenges will take a great deal of commitment, patience, communication, transparency, leadership, and relentless expectations for more than “good enough.” Our community must hold the board accountable for driving these achievements. It is each board members’ responsibility to demand and support the best possible education while providing for the safety and welfare of students in all circumstances. We must put students first, recognize the value we have in our teachers, and meet our families where they are. I will work tirelessly to meet the challenge.

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?

We are under prepared and will be continuously adjusting to manage the risk of the 2020-21 school year as it faces COVID combined with the influenza season. Not enough has been done leading up to this pandemic to allow our families and students the opportunities to have the right social systems and technologies (laptops, wireless Internet services throughout the community, Internet applications and technologies) to be implemented, learned, and leveraged. We will be struggling though this year as a whole; parents, teachers, and students.

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

At the current moment, with tax and per student funding cuts, we must maintain a balanced budget. This is the utmost top priority. We will likely be cutting many programs if funding is not increased. At this point, class sizes are already too large and programs are already too slim. With the slip in local GDP and revenues from business and property taxes (as a result of COVID), we may face a few years of an even tighter budget. All programs will need to be evaluated for ways to save funding without reducing the quality or variety of options for learning.

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

None. At this point standardized testing is nearly useless. This does not truly evaluate a teacher’s or student’s success and it is not used to improve a system that needs assistance. It is the antithesis of bettering education.

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?

Most of the curriculum within FCS is very good. We could use some additional classes in emerging technologies (software programming, robotics, lean manufacturing, etc.). There is also some room in the elementary to return some of the creative arts classes. However, in general the curriculum is very well rounded at FCS.

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

FCS is a pivotal component to the community and the mental and emotional health and well-being of students, parents, teachers, and community members. School are a key social system supporter across the nation.

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

There is always more room for administration to manage discipline to allow teacher the opportunity to focus on education.

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

More one-on-one opportunities could be a benefit for the students, the educators, and assistants working with special needs students. See “schools need more funding…”

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

There are not enough progressive programs across the US to battle the disparity of inequality in the US. What more can I say?

Any other information you want to include or share?

Please vote for me if you would like a strong leader who believes in education and the importance of a progressive program that is fiscally responsible. I believe in education and the power it provides to each of us and our future.