Michael Flores has been to five Madison schools in the last month — all unrelated to his School Board campaign.
The guy is a walking pep rally for more parental involvement in public education.
Flores has three children in two city schools. He coaches wrestling at a third school. He volunteers at several others, where his bilingual skills are in demand. As a Madison firefighter and paramedic, Flores gives presentations to students on fire safety.
So when Flores says he’s in the schools, he’s really in the schools. And on a School Board with several members who don’t or no longer have children who walk the hallways, that’s a big asset to help inform board decisions.
The State Journal editorial board endorses Flores in the April 1 election for Seat 6 on the Madison School Board.
Flores brings infectious enthusiasm for public education and its power to transform lives. He’s living proof of that, having grown up poor in a Spanish-speaking family, having never known his father, having struggled at times as a young man.
Now a powerful role model, Flores has developed a stronger command of school district policy debates and decisions since his first bid for the School Board two years ago, when he lost to current Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke.
Flores would focus intently on efforts to graduate more minority students, some of whom don’t speak English as their first language. Flores would carefully balance student safety with the need to reduce suspension rates. He is endorsed by the local teachers union, as is his opponent, Wayne Strong. Flores also expresses concern for taxpayers.
“I can connect to people at different levels, and that’s needed on the board,” Flores convincingly told the State Journal editorial board last week, during a joint meeting with his opponent.
Strong is a retired police officer who coaches youth football and whose children are Madison graduates. He’s pushing strategies for reducing conflicts in schools. His biggest priority is to drive down the district’s high rate of suspensions and expulsions for black students, both of which have a direct impact on the district’s woeful graduation rate for black students.
Strong is a polished, analytical and impressive candidate. He would make a fine School Board member.
But Flores, a product of Madison schools who never really left, makes a powerful argument he’s most in touch with public education in Madison.
Flores is the best choice this spring.