BOE Candidates Share Plans for Integrated Schools, a Diverse Staff, and Academic Support

The Schools Committee of the Community Coalition on Race hosted its 12th Annual BOE Candidates’ Forum for the eight people running for three open positions. Each year, the committee has unique approach to the candidates: their questions are focused on racially integrated schools, closing the achievement gap, and supporting all students in achieving academic excellence. This year, the topics were centered on the areas that need, in their view, immediate attention and stable solutions: integrating the elementary schools; developing pro-integrative approaches to academic placement and support; providing thorough and ongoing anti-bias education to all staff; and hiring and retaining a diverse staff.

After introductory statements, the candidates addressed the following questions:

  1. The district teaching staff is critical to the education of the student body but continues not to reflect the racial and cultural makeup of the student body. What specifically would you do to recruit and retain a more diverse staff on an ongoing basis? What do you identify as the causes of our district’s problem hiring and retaining educators of color?
  2. We believe that anti-bias/cultural competency is vital in the educational process and that the district has been inconsistent in providing training to all staff. Would you make training mandatory for all staff? What other strategies would you like to see implemented districtwide this year to address creating a school environment free of anti-bias.
  3. How would you as a board member ensure that all students, but especially students of color, are informed of the option to move up and how to navigate the process? Once moved, what specific measures would you suggest to ensure that students are supported and successful?
  4. Given the recent Coalition’s Demographic Report regarding segregated elementary schools, what specific measures would you bring to the table to desegregate the elementary schools?

The candidates for the most part agreed that the district has important work to do on all of these issues, although they differed in their emphases, approaches, and their commitments to practical solutions to some degree. We invite you to have a look at the video of the forum taken by Joy Yagid and posted here on the Village Green.

Once you are informed, we urge you to vote on Tuesday, November 7th. Polls are open from 6 am until 8 pm. To find your polling place, click here.

Here Links to the candidate websites, statements, or Facebook pages:

Elizabeth Baker and Robin Baker    https://www.boe2017.com/

Shannon Cuttle    https://www.facebook.com/ShannonCuttleforBOE/

Felicia George and Avery Julien    https://georgeandjulien4boe.com/

Tony Mazzochi    https://www.mazzocchiboe2017.com/

Sheila Shidnia    https://villagegreennj.com/election/s-orange-maplewood-boe-candidate-statement-sheila-shidnia/

Donna Smith    http://www.donnasmith2017.com/

 

 

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