Guest Columnist

Miller: Straight answers for Cedar Rapids schools

Joseph Miller is a candidate for Cedar Rapids School Board at-large.

Our community has a good problem: More candidates than seats. I have 400 words, so here are some straight answers.

Platform? Partnership. There is division on the issues below. Partnerships heal divides and empower stakeholders.

Teacher’s union? Some teachers want the union to be their voice; some don’t. Either way, your voice matters. Empowered teachers empower children.

Superintendent? The process should be as objective and transparent as possible. CR wants a long-term solution, an advocate for teachers and an innovative partner with businesses and communities. Critical.

Achievement gap? Alarming! CR is losing a diverse pool of future leaders. Per the SET study, feeling disconnected or hopeless leads to poor performance and violence. We should partner with Kids on Course, Not Without Me, etc. to create experiences that bring connection and hope for minorities and refugees. This works. I saw it as a volunteer bishop for my church as we partnered with Kids on Course.

Facilities master plan? Good-ish. We can’t hide from the cost of aging buildings and inadequate teaching resources. Preservation is possible (e.g., Monroe School), but taking schools away from communities is huge! We can do better at listening to all voices during reevaluations and change course along the way.

Mental/behavioral health? Don’t put it on the teachers. They’ll burn out. Lawyers and doctors have teams to help them focus on their highest use. Teachers need the same. Their desire to stay depends on it.

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Other candidates? Very positive! I’d vote for Jen Neuman and Maurice Davis if there were three seats. They embody desired outcomes: women empowered to run businesses and minorities empowered to become our leaders. (Not sure if I am allowed to endorse other candidates, but I will anyway.)

Conflicts? No. My positions with the Foundation and as president of the CR Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are all about unity and collaboration with every member of the community, regardless of background or belief system. Those values belong on the school board.

Seven Dwarves? Real question! But unfair. I was Dopey for Halloween. There are still Dopey things about me, hence my belief in partnerships.

Leap year? Yes. I’m 9 3/4. Ten in February. When told to act my age, I honestly answer, “I am”. Kids are nonjudgmental, hopeful and hungry to learn. I hope I can be more like a 9-year old.

Promises? I keep them. 399 words.

Joseph Miller is a candidate for Cedar Rapids School Board at-large.

• Davis: Treat students like humans, not test scores

• Garlock: Passion for public education runs deep

• Lund: Start honest and open dialogue with educators

• Neumann: Great teachers deliver student success

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