Put Our Money Where Our Mouth Is

Jamila James


AAPS is doing a great job of sending our children to college. That said, we can do better for kids not going that route. In our schools, it’s important to teach soft skills, like effective communication and money management, as well as skilled trades. We support AAPS’s goal of incorporating social justice into curriculum and believe that this can be achieved only through accurate and diverse history and learning about other cultures, and this can start as early as preschool. 


Jamila is a team player and a communicator. She believes the most critical skills needed to be an asset on the school board are to have the ability to put your ego aside, to be open-minded, and willing to listen. This is not about money, power, or prestige. This is about our babies, our community and our future. It takes a village. She is asking for your help in making a better future for all of us.


Jamila is committed to protecting the health of students, teachers, and staff. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage throughout the country, she supports the plan of Ann Arbor Public Schools to start the school year fully online, with a possible transition to some in-person instruction depending on the spread of the virus and steps taken by local, state, and federal leaders to protect the public. While recognizing that nothing can replace in-person instruction, protecting students and the community is the highest priority in these uncertain times. As a mother of a child who does sports, Jamila is grateful for the social interactions that involvement in an athletic team has given her daughter. She supports the decision to return to sports as long as it is done in a safe and scientifically-based manner. In the classroom, she will be a fierce advocate for implementing the best distance-learning practices and materials that can be found.


Soft Skills

Jamila will promote the teaching of soft skills in schools. Soft skills and life skills are often crucial for students’ abilities to navigate their careers and futures. Too often these skills are deprioritized in favor of ever-increasing testing and rigid academic settings. Traditional academic classes are extremely important, but so are social and communication skills. 

Alternate Paths

4-year college isn’t for everyone, and Jamila supports the creation of new (and strengthening of old) pathways for trade education and associate degrees for students who would prefer to go that route. Whatever a student wants for their future, Jamila is committed to letting them be affirmed in their desired life-paths. 

For college-bound students, we need to do better in educating students and their families on the options - from types of institutions and degrees to the ways to pay for college. The college search, application, and most of all financial aid systems are complex and overwhelming. We need to do a better job of helping students and their families navigate these systems, particularly first-generation students who don’t have experience with them. 

Jamila will advocate for the strengthening and expansion of alternative education programs in the AAPS system (like AAO, A2Steam, and Community). These programs have proved their worth time and time again to students and parents who have witnessed their educational benefits. Simply put, we support giving options to students and their families within the public school system - student and parent choice is key here. For some students, Community is the better option while others prefer a more traditional, comprehensive high school. Both options should be available to families, however demand for alternative programs like Community and AAO far exceeds capacity, so these programs should be mirrored in other schools (for example, establishing another alternative high school and more K-12 options).


Jamila believes we need to give teachers back their autonomy in the classroom - enabling them freedom to deliver curriculum in an effective, engaging, and developmentally appropriate way that keeps our children growing  in ways that count. Jamila supports the establishment of professional development for teachers that centers around restorative justice including curriculum on equity, anti-racism, and social justice. We can no longer just teach for a test, it’s time to focus on building socially conscious adults to make a positive impact in our community.


It is documented and known to us that the number of prisons built in our communities is based upon the reading test scores of 3rd graders. This aggravates the school-to-prison pipeline that places our children in jail and out of developing in life. With this knowledge, Jamila believes that we need to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline by increasing restorative justice in our schools. This includes increasing reading specialists, psychologists, behavioral specialists, and counselors for our children.


Jamila is a strong proponent of teaching accurate and diverse history in our schools. History is complex and often oversimplified when taught to young people. Giving students the tools to take in complex narratives from competing and diverse sources is vital to understanding our collective past as a nation and in the world. She believes in helping students be prepared to digest different sources of information and access their validity, a skill which will only become more important in our digital world. 

Anti-racist materials should be made available to students to combat our nation’s enduring problem with white supremacy. For too long, students have been taught that racism “got better” after the civil rights movements, and she believes in the need real conversations about the current impacts of structural-racism in the U.S. today.


Jamila believes we must have a greener, more environmentally conscious mission for our schools. As part of the AAPS's $1 Billion bond, we are tasked with funding sustainable and environmentally responsible infrastructure. To see this through, we support declaring a climate emergency and working towards a 2030 goal for carbon neutrality in accordance with the City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. One of our first actions would be to conduct a Greenhouse Gas emissions inventory for all AAPS facilities, thus taking the first step towards evaluating our school district’s impact on the environment.

In the future, we believe the two new school buildings mandated by the 2019 bond should be carbon neutral and built to last. For other facilities, we support the replacement of older HVAC systems with air source heat pump and geothermal systems to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. We also support the installation of onsite solar panels to further reduce carbon emissions. 


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Paid for by the Committee of JamilaUsNotMe

3052 Chelsea Circle, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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