Lawrence's public schools need to prepare students for a quickly changing future, according to Mike Machell.
Experts claim that technology is doubling every two years, said Machell, one of eight candidates running in the April 3 election for four spots on the Lawrence school board.
"Our challenge is to ensure that the students have the skills to succeed in that reality and adapt," he said.
Machell said he recently read that the top 10 jobs that will be in demand in 2010 didn't even exist in 2004.
"We're going to need to make sure that we challenge students to develop skills that apply across industry, jobs and technology," Machell said, "such as the ability to analyze and solve problems, the ability to think critically and challenge assumptions, and the ability to work collaboratively."
Machell, 46, is a human resources manager in Lenexa for Ingenix, a health care informatics firm. He and his wife have a seventh-grade daughter at West Junior High School.
He said his background in business and in educating adults would help him when serving on the board.
Machell said the board shouldn't forget that not every student will find a career by going to a four-year college. Many students will find success by learning a trade or a technical skill, he said.
In terms of competing for teachers in the future, Machell said Lawrence needs to look at the pros and cons of what it is offering teachers.
"There's a lot to sell, so I think the total offer proposition is a way to look at it," he said.
The district should not only look at exit interviews of teachers who leave, but "stay interviews" of teachers who remain in Lawrence, he said.
He also said the district needs to find a way to make sure its early retirement plan for teachers is viable for the future.
Machell says he would favor all-day kindergarten if the state pays for it.
"We're going to have a real hard time paying for all-day kindergarten across the district," he said. The cost would be $1 million to do so, he said.
If the state is going to phase in and fund all-day kindergarten, then the district should do so, too, starting with the Title I schools, he said.
Those are the schools with the greatest numbers of students who qualify for free and reduced-price school lunches.
"I think there is some evidence that those children benefit most from all-day kindergarten, if we have to make the choice of who were going to give it to," Machell said.