Mike Scott says that in his run for District 5 of the school board against incumbent Kat Gordon, he brings something most other candidates and current members cannot – he’s a product of the Orange County Public School system himself.
This, he said, makes him qualified to understand the challenges students face.
The fact that his son is currently enrolled in the OCPS makes him qualified to know what parents face as well, he said.
Scott spends his time these days running nonprofit group Helping All Youth Achieve, which aims to help youths charged with adult crimes get a high school education, find jobs and find places to live. Their Facebook page states that their goal is to “give them a second chance at life, empower and turn them into believers.”
As an Orlando resident for decades now and now a prospective school board member, Scott wants to help more kids in the OCPS with those same things, because he hadn’t seen much change now from the days when he went to school.
“From the time I’ve been there, not much has changed in the way they deal in youth who don’t sit still,” he said. “They don’t reach out and involve in the decision making with local business owners, because ultimately, many of these companies are going to employ these graduates when they go to college or get a job out of high school. I think it’s important to include them in the process.”
He said he was also against the way teachers were treated, with some self-evaluation systems at schools being used against teachers being honest as ways to remove them. He called teachers “the most important part of the community.”
“They train our kids 30-plus hours a week, reinforce what mom and dad have instilled and give what mom and dad aren’t giving,” he said. “If they aren’t being appreciated, they’re not going to perform well. They feel undervalued, and they are undervalued. They’re underpaid, and we can do more for our teachers.”
So far, Scott has been endorsed by the Greater Orlando Builders Association and the Orange County Teachers’ Union.