A nationally certified High School English teacher, Mike spent 20 years in journalism as a columnist with the Orlando Sentinel in Lake County, Fl., Executive Editor of the News Network for the New York Times Regional Newspapers, and Executive Editor of the Leesburg (Fl.) Commercial. He retired early seven years ago to become a teacher. He believes families and concerned business people can, and should, unite directly with educators in a nonpartisan effort to improve public schools. Experience in the classroom taught him that Florida’s current school reform agenda doesn’t work because it was designed to serve political interests, not students. He agrees with AFT and NEA advocates that classroom teachers should play a larger role in formulation and execution of education policy. He was asked by AFT to vet the common core standards for English, and found them lacking in depth and relevance. As written they serve as a simple list of skills for the formulation of standardized testing. He hopes they will be rewritten to serve as a guide for curriculum and instruction. Had teachers been more involved in the early phase of development, he contends that the standards would be more effective.