Michelle Luong is a School Committee candidate for Ward 7.
These are Michelle Luong’s answers to questions that Malden Votes sent to all candidates. Her responses have not been edited or abridged. This is the PDF version of these answers.
[Editor’s note: Due to a technical error on my part, Ms. Luong did not receive the questions at the same time as all the other candidates did. Once she got them, she graciously agreed to fill them out and sent them back within the five-day time frame I had given her.]
Greater Boston Labor Council; Laborers Local 22
What motivates you to run for school committee?
I have spent over 10 years advocating for special needs services for my daughter, who is dyslexic. She is now a senior at Malden High School. My motivation is simple, it was time to give back. It was time to make sure that every child in Malden has access to the same opportunities regardless of their race, economic status, disability or gifted mind.
What experiences or skills have prepared you to serve on the school committee?
I have spent many years advocating for children’s rights for not only my family but, for others as well. I have fought for special needs services, for increased teacher- parent communications and I am a member of the Zonta Club of Malden, which champions the rights of women and children through service and advocacy.
I am also a small business owner, a member of the Ward 7 City Committee and a delegate to the 2019 Massachusetts Democratic Convention representing Ward 7.
In the past two years, what School Committee actions did you support or oppose, and why?
I support the school committee’s position on funding our schools as well as passing the Safe Schools Resolution. I do not however support neighborhood schools.
I realize you asked in the past two years but, taking our schools from school choice to neighborhood schools without making sure each school is equal in their student programs, class size etc. is not a position I can support. Not all of our schools are the same and no two children are the same.
What are the greatest strengths and challenges of our current school system?
One of our greatest strengths has always been our diverse student population, as well as our creative and dedicated Teachers. One of the challenges we are facing in our current school system is the lack of diversity among our staff and administrators. We are also facing a lack of public funding for our schools, which creates a problem with hiring, retention, program development etc.
What initiatives would you prioritize in our school system?
- Stronger Anti-drug and Vaping policies
- Bullying Prevention Programs that allow for victim advocacy and empowerment.
- Educational Equality- All five k-8 schools offering the same quality education
I will work tirelessly to build bridges between administrators, teachers, and parents, with programs and policies that empower, encourage and keep students safe.
Malden has a broad diversity of students. How would you address the unique needs of various student populations? Be specific.
I would love to see a day where residents can attend a cultural festival, hearing a presentation about each diverse group’s particular culture, music, history and its importance. .
Do you have any priorities for the school budget? What are they, and why?
My budget priorities are teacher salaries, anti vaping detectors and school safety hardware or software needs and the arts.
What role should charter schools have in our public school system?
Charter Schools are a public school that should adhere to public school policies. Their teachers should be unionized, they should provide an education to all special needs students, English language learners, diverse students, etc. The idea that they only keep the best and brightest is not the spirit in which the Charter School system was built. Charter Schools should also at the end of the budget year return any unused funding back to the city and towns.
What is your stance on the PROMISE Act?
How can we increase parental and community engagement in school committee meetings?
Communication is the key. Offering parents and the community more detailed information ahead of the meeting on what is being voted on or discussed. They could also allow for questions to be asked ahead of time and answered live.