On the Nov. 8 election ballot, voters in the Northville Public Schools district will see two names vying for seats on the school board.
They will run unopposed. They seek to fill seats that will be vacated by Marilyn Price and Libby Smith.
Graduated from Wayne State University, where he received his master's degree in history. He also taught in the Czech Republic as a Fulbright Scholar.
Craig has been an educator for 25 years. He teaches history and government at Seaholm High School in Birmingham. Craig was also formerly a social worker at a teen runaway shelter called the Detroit Transit Alternative.
How long a resident of Northville? 7 years
Married to Annette Masson, an associate professor in the theatre department at the University of Michigan.
Craig is the president of the Northville Democratic Club. He has held the position for the past five years.
His educational experience includes being the legislative chair of the Birmingham Education Association. He has also been a participant in six bargaining teams. He added that "Within Birmingham Schools, I have served on the Education Council, 2 Strategic Plans, District Diversity Committee, High School Restructuring Committee, and as North Central Chair at Seaholm High School."
Why he is running for school board
"Northville Public Schools are the heart of what makes our community special. We have some of the best schools in the State of Michigan. Maintaining great schools is directly linked to the quality of life and high property values of this community. As an educator I believe that I have much to contribute to the goal of maintaining excellence in our public schools. I have seen significant damage done to public education by many politicians who know very little about what it takes to educate a child and to maintain good schools. I feel that it is my duty to step forward and offer my knowledge, based on actual experience and education," Craig said.
He added, via email, that he has many goals in the position.
"Our children face a world of incredible challenges. The globalization process of the last 20 years has put our youth in direct competition with eager young students and workers all around the globe. While our Northville Schools are one of the top 10 rated districts in the State of Michigan, that is not good enough. As a nation we lag behind much of Europe and some of the developing world educational systems in key areas such as math and science.
Northville parents expect their children to be prepared to succeed, by entering the best universities, and successfully competing in the difficult job market of the future. We also want our children to become well rounded in their lives and their world outlook. This means developing and maintaining schools that teach the whole child.
As a community we must honestly assess, innovate, and improve our schools. Our children need us to recognize and rise to these challenges.
Here are some of my top goals.
- Prepare students for a global world
- Smart fiscal management
- Focus resources on the classroom. Classroom size and available resources are of concern.
- A well rounded education for every student. Students need exposure to the arts, music, engineering, foreign languages and cultures. We need to educate the whole child and help open up possibilities.
- Promote 21st century learning - We need to upgrade the district technology and promote learning that involves student inquiry and creative thinking."
Craig emphasized that he would like to bring "21st century learning" to the classroom. He added, "I would like to see more emphasis on student-centered inquiry. This approach is an old/new idea. John Dewey, the guru of modern american public education, promoted student centered learning in the early 1900's. We can now couple this with the wealth of resources opened up by technology. However, our district is lagging in the area of technology. Many students are using computers and software that are antiquated. Many of the other new technology tools (smart-boards as one example) are nowhere to be found in our schools."
The following questions were asked and answered via email.
With budget concerns continually facing the district, which programs or areas would be on your priority list? What would top your list to cut?
"Classroom instruction has to be the priority. We need to get class size down. Budget cuts of the past several years have pushed class size in some areas of instruction to dangerously high levels. Students need direct access to their instructors for help and ideas. Some of our high school teachers are now responsible for upwards of 200 students at any given time."
Craig added, " This district has made deep cuts in the past several years. We have teachers on layoff; we've privatized bus drivers and custodians. I am not seeing much fat left to cut. Many of the recent cuts have significantly affected the quality of instruction. If we are forced to make further cuts, our students and parents will see direct negative consequences. There is no way to sugar coat this fact. We need to let our elected officials in lansing know that we care about our schools and want them protected. Even now, the School Aid Fund revenues are estimated to be running ahead of predictions by $145 million or more, yet the legislature seems determined to not let the schools have these funds that should be dedicated to public education. Before we acquiesce to further cuts, we need to let our elected officials know that they represent us and they must represent the children who attend our public schools."
What do you think are the biggest issues facing the district? How would you handle them?
"Fiscal Challenges. We are facing incredible challenges due to diminishing resources allocated by the state to education. We have to be very smart about how we spend our resources. In addition, we need a long-term solution to properly fund public education. Certain funds were dedicated to public schools under the Proposal A constitutional amendment in 1994. In the past two years the state legislature and two governors have raided these funds and reallocated public school funds to help plug holes in the budget and to provide significant tax cuts to businesses. This is wrong and goes against the intent of Michigan voters who support proposal A.
As a member of our Northville School Board, I hope to both spend our funds very carefully, but also help educate our community about the need to revise the state school funding formula. We need School Aid Funds to be protected and our local communities should have more control over its own destiny. Our current political structure has stripped our community of local control. With the taxes that we are paying, we should not be experiencing the funding shortages in Northville that we are experiencing."