Sunday, May 25, 2008
Why I Am Running For Wayne State Board of Governors by Akindele Akinyemi
I guess you know by now that I have decided to run for something other than my life. The rumors across the state are true. I will now put speculation to rest.
I am running for the Wayne State Board of Governors in the fall. I will be on the November ballot. So yes, you can vote for me anywhere in the State of Michigan because this a statewide position.
Many have asked me why did I decide to run for the seat. It's simple. I love education and I love transforming lives.
Wayne State University is one of the top universities in the country and represents our transformation here in the City of Detroit. I cannot count on my fingers of how many people have benefited from a Wayne State University's education.
However, there is still work to be done.
As an educator who studies educational reform from K-12 and higher education we have to move Wayne State University into the forefront when it comes to student retention. Often too many times we see young adults (especially our young men from the inner city) not complete a four year degree due to various factors. But one major factor that I found out when interviewing several young men on Wayne State's campus recently is the fact that they were not motivated to finish. They are more interested in making money than earning a college degree. The university is more interested in making money than giving out college degrees to those who have worked hard.
This type of thinking at the higher educational level must cease. We have turned the university experience into a factory model similar to the model that I fight consistently at the K-12 level. When we are going to learn that the old style of education is just that...old? As Governor, I will work to fuse innovation with accommodation to help students become motivated with their educational programs.
There are nine points I will stress to you so you can embrace our vision for a better university.
(1) I am interested in increasing more men to the university setting. Wayne State University is perfect because it sits in an urban community (Detroit) with urban issues that are challenging. To emphasize on increasing student retention, progression and graduation for men we have to identify and articulate the barriers to retention and graduation faced by many of our male students. Wayne State University must not only achieve national rates of retention and graduation; my desire, as Governor, is for us to surpass the national averages.
(2) Implementing a new Guaranteed Tuition Program will be a tremendous benefit in increasing on-time graduation of students. If implemented students now will have the ability to plan for college expenses with certainty, removing the "surprises" from college planning.
(3) As Governor, I will be focused on expanding our communications efforts my first year. This way we will have an opportunity to disseminate news and information to our strategic audiences in an unfiltered manner. Also, a statewide Constituent Survey is necessary that will allow us to secure feedback from legislators, business leaders, the general public, and faculty, staff and students on our campuses. The goal of this effort is to assess how well we serve and communicate with our key audiences, so that we may shape effective communications strategies based on the feedback we receive.
We have to assess the effectiveness of the Board of Governors' current capital priority selection process, and to identify ways to get ahead of the future demand for facilities.
(4) We should move away from the annual "procession of presidents making presentations" to outline their capital needs -- only to make it onto a capital priority list that has grown so lengthy that the time between earning a slot and initiating construction continues to grow longer and longer. It's imperative that we do things differently and better, so many people rolled up their sleeves to devise a new approach to our capital demands. That included shaping and securing approval for new legislation to assist with this challenge.
(5) When elected as Governor, I will push for friendlier teacher and administrative certification requirements by offering alternative teacher certification programs to fit the needs of our working families. I believe in each teacher who graduates from Wayne State University should be highly qualified and certified but not at the expense of crippling households where 80% of our population here in Detroit are ran by single families. Online teacher and administrative certification programs are necessary if we want to remain competitive with other institution (both in-state and out-of-state). We can attract male teachers into the educational profession who have worked in other industries by offering alternative teacher certification. This certification program will be classified under emerging sectors to help teach math, science and technology. The certification program will be offered to urban school districts (Detroit Public Schools) and public school academies (Charter Schools). Mandatory tutoring for the Basic Skills Test will be necessary as 80% of the students who I have spoken with at the College of Education at Wayne State University have trouble passing the math portion of the Basic Skills Test on the first try.
Student teaching requirements should be reviewed. It is ridiculous to spend 12 credit hours on an internship for teaching in the classroom only NOT to be paid for your hard work. If a student has been teaching over 3 years in the classroom they will not be required to take student teaching. It is time that we get into the business of education not just making money for the university.
The College of Education does a poor job in preparing teachers in the inner cities of Michigan. Most of these teachers, who are White, are overwhelmed by the increasing demands of being a teacher and quit after 3-5 years. We must prepare our students in the College of Education by placing a stronger emphasis on urban education in the inner city.
(6) Disallow all guaranteed student loans, and research grants, to the university that accepts students as a 'freshman' requiring remedial education, and does not use the ACT/SAT as the prime measure for acceptance - - at a consistent or increasing score requirement. Proven measurable performance achieved should again become the norm, as for prior generations. If a WSU wishes to also be in the remedial education business, not only must such be separate from the normal freshman class, but its students may not receive government-guaranteed loans - - all costs to come from students, parents or their local high school districts - - and entry of remedial graduates to the freshman class requires prior ACT/SAT performance.
(7) I will support our colleges professionals at Wayne State University who energetically lobbies for the establishment of K-12 standards in the lower schools, by promoting and supporting a Governors Association appointing a board of educators from prominent universities to establish and maintain the test standards.
(8) Social Promotion & grade inflation practices must stop, and strict local-established teaching testing and class testing standards must be established. As Governor, I will work with K-12 schools to make sure we establish accountability, integrity and trust for both K-12 schools and when students enter Wayne State University.
(9) We have to get rid of the biased teaching on campus. Education in the classroom leans 98% liberal with hardly any balance of viewpoints. While I am not restricting academic freedom with our professors at Wayne State University I will push for a more balanced way of learning at our university and not encouraging our students to spend thousands of dollars being angry at others for the wrong reasons. We spend so much time indoctrinating our students on lifestyles (i.e. LGBT, Black Power, etc) that they miss the boat on competiting against their Asian and African counterparts on campus. We have to move into the global economic free market not moving into the liberal indoctrination system.
Furthermore, I am not interested in supporting tuition increases at Wayne State University. In fact, I propose education tax credits for those students who will be attending Wayne State University. Just like education tax credits work for pulling children out of failing K-12 schools and putting them in independent schools I support the same method for students who are struggling to pay for tuition.
So yes, I am running. Some have asked me if I was nervous. Of course not. After all, I am in my natural element.
So why don't you join in and ride the A-Train with me? Help me become part of the Wayne State University Board of Governors by voting for me this coming November. Let me know if you would endorse my candidacy by writing back to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and telling me you are seriously ready to endorse me so we can help transform education in Michigan.