**The polls will be open Tuesday, May 14 from 10am until 8pm at Benjamin Banneker Elementary – 449 North Street; Milford Evelyn I. Morris Early Childhood Center – 8609 Third Street, Lincoln; and Lulu Ross Elementary – 310 Lovers Lane, Milford.**
After the filing deadline for the Milford Board of Education on Friday, March 1, it was determined that six candidate were running for the At-large position. Candidates seeking the At-Large seat for the Milford School District Board of Education include Hunter Emory, Kevin W. Marshall Jr., Natalie R. Shockley, Alan R. Southard, Robert B. Vincelette Jr. and Michael Wells. School Board Elections will be held on Tuesday, May 14, and the winner of the election will serve a five year term. Milford LIVE sat down with candidates and asked them questions regarding our community schools, children and parents.
Robert Vincelette Jr.
Robert Vincelette is an adjunct faculty mathematics professor at Delaware State University. Mr. Vincelette has a PhD in interdisciplinary applied mathematics and mathematical physics with his candidacy exams in physics from Delaware State University. Robert has an Masters in physics and an Masters in physics teaching. He has worked as a substitute teacher in several school districts over the years, including Milford. Mr. Vincelette is also a flight instructor with an airline transport pilot license and an FAA licensed aircraft mechanic.
Why did you decide to run for the Milford School Board ?
I decided to run for the Milford School Board because there are three problems that I think are very important to address. First, high school football, an unreasonably pugilistic sport, has been definitively established by the top researchers in neuroscience departments of such schools as Perdue, UCLA, University of Michigan, and Harvard to cause cumulative sub-clinical brain injury that can be measured by loss of some cognitive functioning and damage that can be observed in FMRI scans in at least half of high school football players. A typical player sustains several hundred impacts per season. Because football cannot be fixed by telling players to “try to cut down on head strikes” or attempting to design better helmets that cannot change the laws of physics by which 30 g force blows that are typical, we need to phase out the football program. There are plenty of sports that build up the body rather than do something so destructive to the very mission of education as physically injuring cognitive functioning for entertainment. High school students are not adults and thus they do not have the capacity to make a free choice to participate in a sport that diminishes their academic performance through brain injury. Second, soft drink manufacturers, specifically Pepsi-Cola, have no business putting vending machines in public schools, even if they sell so called “healthy” alternatives to soft drinks such as Gatorade or zero calorie artificially sweetened flavored water. These machines are in the schools to use children as a captive audience to advertise to them and to indoctrinate them by imprinting their brand name in the brains of children and this is not the proper mission of any public or private school system. Third, every math professor in the department where I work agrees that students who enter college are unprepared for the math courses that are required for any undergraduate degree because they were issued calculators as early as Third Grade. They did not get the experience of working with numbers in pencil and paper so they never got the insight that arithmetic brings. In consequence of this, it is far more difficult for them to learn algebra. They come to college unable to add or subtract fractions, specifically unable to put fractions in a common denominator, something that was once learned in 6th grade, and they rely on memorization of cookbook procedures to attempt to do algebra and to do word problems. We need to do everything we can to have the State Department of Education wait till high school before letting children use calculators.
What do you think are the greatest challenges the Milford School Board faces?
I think the hardest challenge the school board faces is the need to end the football program because football is a tradition that is ingrained deep into the culture of the community. However, because it does more harm than is proper for what any community has a right to impose upon children, it is the only responsible choice. The biggest challenge is the problem of students graduating high school mathematically semi-literate and unprepared for the demands of higher education math and the demands of mathematical literacy in most modern industry.
What would you like to see done with the Milford Middle School building that was recently closed?
A comparison between the cost of repair and the cost of replacing an unserviceable building must be carefully studied. It is my understanding that it is likely to be cheaper in the long run to replace it with a modern energy and maintenance efficient building. Whether it is cheaper to demolish the old building or to leave it for some purpose such as storage must be made by consensus of the school board.
How do you feel about the implementation of three additional School Resource Officers in the District?
I want to see proof that additional we need three additional School Resource Officers before going forward with recruiting them.
What are your thoughts surrounding DCAS testing ?
DCAS testing is a tool for gaining part of the picture of how well students are learning. However, if in higher education there is no such testing required to earn a bachelor’s degree because the grades in the individual courses are considered accurate enough to judge academic performance, and even in some master’s degree programs there is no such testing, (For a PhD there are comprehensive exams separate from the course exams.), I am skeptical that DCAS is necessary to determine whether a student who made good enough grades passing all required courses has fulfilled what should be required to graduate.
Why should voters choose you on election day ?
As far as I know, I am the only candidate who dares to propose the phasing out of football and the removing of vending machines. The public deserves the choice in this matter. I also work in the higher education system and I know what it takes to succeed in college or university. I will bring to bear this knowledge and experience to try to prepare students for higher education, which in today’s society, is a must if a young person is not to be condemned to a likelihood of lifetime poverty. I also want to see the liberal arts, (literature, visual arts, and music training electives) preserved because these things, even though they do not directly teach how to make a living, teach people how to live, how to experience empathy, and how to be more human so that they will be better and more responsible citizens than so many economically successful executives of such corporations as the bankers on Wall Street who were convicted of crimes and tobacco and commercial food executives who think there is nothing wrong with destroying public health in order to maximize profit.