Mitch Lingo is an eighth-generation Iowan who has lived in the Iowa City area for over nine years. He currently serves as a senior research scientist at Iowa College Aid. His wife Ellie is an Iowa City native and West High graduate who works as a diabetes provider in endocrinology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. They have two daughters. Mitch has a holistic view of education, believing it begins before a child is born and becomes a lifelong endeavor. We only improve ourselves as a district, city, state, and country through generational involvement that pays dividends as the City, Liberty, West High, and Tate graduates go on to become citizens. More about Mitch Lingo.
Preparing Students for Great Colleges, Skilled Trades, and a Bright Future
For ICCSD to be all in for all kids, the District must continue providing relevant and rigorous curriculum across the primary and secondary systems. Once students enter Junior High School (soon to be Middle School), students and their parents/guardians deserve a choice in their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and CTE (career and technical education) curriculum. Choice is vital for the District to remain competitive in the new voucher market. If ICCSD does not provide options, private and charter skills will.
Banned Books and LGBTQIA+
The passing of Senate Files 482 and 496 was bad for ICCSD students and the community, and a sad day for Iowa. The law infringes on the health and safety of our LGBTQIA+ students and their families while infringing on the rights of students and parents to have access to literature that they deem appropriate for their children. While supporting the district’s current book review committee and their decisions over challenged books, the district must continue to be an open and affirming place for all families and students. Having the lived experience of watching a loved one come out while in high school and a teacher librarian grandmother, these issues are central to my core.
Navigating Budgetary Issues
The State of Iowa has persistently failed to meet the critical needs of students and schools by providing supplemental state aid increases significantly below the inflation rate, effectively cutting ICCSD’s budget each year. As such, the ICCSD is playing a game of poker with surrounding schools. A game with a deck stacked against public schools. Lingo believes all major decisions should be data-driven, evidence-based, and follow best practices. These decisions need to be open, transparent, and with an eye toward how other districts, charter schools, and bad-faith actors attempt to divide our community further.
Lack of Opportunity
Alleviating the lack of opportunities that affect educational outcomes is an ever-pressing issue in the district. Lingo believes each policy or budgetary decision needs to be made with careful attention to its impact on students of racially minoritized, low-income, differently-abled, and LGBTQ+ backgrounds and families. The Weighted Resource Allocation Model (WRAM) and equitable student boundaries are a good start toward addressing these issues, but further steps are also needed when secondary class sizes are as high as they are (34 students in some cases).
Whether it is physical safety from violence or mental health safety from various forms of online bullying, the community has legitimate safety concerns. The current Comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan’s push for restorative justice, positive behavior intervention, and support within the schools is an excellent model for making our schools safer for all students. Similarly, it is important to use data to identify areas where safety is an issue and apply the resources inside and outside the classroom necessary to provide a safe environment for all students, teachers, and support staff.