In an effort to help voters prepare for the Nov. 7 elections, Atlanta Loop sent questions to candidates running for Atlanta City Council, Atlanta Mayor and Atlanta School Board. Early voting begins Oct. 16. To see district maps, click here.
1) Why are you running for Atlanta School Board?
First, I have always had the desire to serve. As a certified teacher, specializing in teaching English language learners and struggling readers, my desire was triggered when I learned from recent research that two-thirds of Georgia’s 3rd graders were unable to read at grade levels. This is a critical time because a lack of literacy at this level adversely affects a child’s ability to learn content. This ultimately leads to disastrous consequences.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
I feel that because of my educational background and experience working in the schools, and as a former mentor and tutor in the school system, I could suggest strategies that could effect positive change. I am also a law school graduate, which would be helpful in articulating policy changes.
3) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ greatest strength?
Because of the ethnically diverse communities in Atlanta, students are able to learn from each other, especially when this diversity is also reflected in the curriculum. This has the potential to prepare students to compete and live in a global setting wherever they choose to live as adults.
4) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge is graduation rates. It is not impressive to state that the graduation rates for some schools have increased from say 58% to 68%. What about the 30% of students who are not graduating? The Schools must do better than that.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
I would advocate for a holistic approach to teaching. It is necessary for all students to master the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic. However, instead of focusing solely on the three r’s to prepare the students for standardized tests, I would advocate for regular physical activity, which could include planting vegetable gardens, and give them exposure to the arts. This would increase the students’ motivation for learning academic subjects.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
1. Continue the fight initiated by former First Lady Michelle Obama to provide students with healthy breakfast and lunches, which enhances brain development.
2. To fight for adequate resources in the schools to increase the students’ access to physical and social development and to provide teachers with additional resources to benefit the students.
7) What is your opinion of the current superintendent? Are you happy with her leadership or do you want the school system to go in a different direction?
I do not know the current superintendent well enough to have an opinion about her; however, I have serious concerns about the direction in which “failing” schools are being closed and re-structured. This detrimentally impacts students from economically disadvantaged families who need effective and accessible schools in their neighborhoods.
8) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?