I am married and I am the loving father of three young children. I’ve been a resident of St Cloud for the last 14 years. Went to St. Cloud State University for a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and Minnesota State University, Mankato for a master’s degree in public administration. I own and operate a tax business and I am also the president a very helpful non-profit organization named Somali Elders Council of Central Minnesota.
Why are you qualified to serve on the school board?
With my educational background and my passion for education I can bring real and touchable changes to the persistent problem of achievement gap. As you may know, our district is ranked very low and it has been that way for a long period. It seems we have lost hope and I believe I can turn that hopelessness to hope by making sure we give our teachers the real freedom to do their jobs the right way and by introducing good and valid metrics which we can use to see whether we are making progress or not.
There is a constant tug-of-war about school testing. Do they count or don’t they? How much credence should we ascribe to so many tests? Do they truly help improve education or do they cause more stress and misguided focus than they are worth?
Tests count, but too much of them will spoil the very reasons why we have them. We must make sure tests are tailored to what they are supposed to test. They must be valid and must not take too much time. If students use many hours to prepare for tests that time could have been wisely used to learn a new thing. In reality, tests are important if administered well and they can be a source of relief for students, but if they are utilized haphazardly, they can lead to stress and degrade the standard of education for our children.
Horrific examples of bullying continue to make local and national news. Have you closely examined the district’s policy about bullying? What would you change, if anything, in that policy?
That is true and it seems the district has continued to have this issue and it looks as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We can do better. First we need to make sure we have a clear policy on bullying and a clear chain of command of who is responsible for the policy. We cannot eliminate bullying by just punishing the perpetrators, retribution justice does not always work. We can do better than that. We need to plant the seeds of love between the victims and the perpetrators and build real communities and friendships between our children. They are the future of our district and nation and they need to learn to be one big family.
Do you think sports are overemphasized or underemphasized in this school district? Do you think the district spends too much – or too little – on sports activities?
Sports are important, but our children go to school for education not for sports. We need to make sure educating is our top priority and anything else comes second after that.
What should happen to Tech High School?
According to what I know now, I believe the best solution to Tech High School is to keep it at the current location. I like the current site and coupled with use of nearby district property we can build a high-class school on the same location. All that said, the issue of Tech is very important and it will be sad if we fail to consult the citizens of the district who are our bosses. We need to bring the citizens together and seek the advice and opinions on the future of Tech and we must be bold enough to respect their views and make sure we accommodate them.
Do you think the theory of evolution should be taught in schools, with or without the theory of creationism?
I have no problem with that, if we can make sure all kinds of theories are given a fair chance of being heard.