As a 2022 candidate for the New Hanover County Schools Board of Education, I’ve put much deliberation into what our children should receive from K-12 education. In my own words, the following four areas are my top priorities.
Parents and teachers have been leaving public schools in droves. In New Hanover County reasons have been due to lowering academic standards, tolerating violent behavior, academic changes, blatant disregard for parent and teacher input, and COVID-19 protocol inconsistencies have accelerated families’ decisions. Schools have slowly shifted to becoming medical and mental health decision makers for students sometimes irregardless of parental input. We need to be willing to admit this is happening and have conversations about the purpose of school and restore academic accountability.
1. Protect Parents’ Rights
Parents are allies and champions in helping students be successful. After the whiplash of the last two years, it is clear New Hanover County needs to rebuild trust with our community. I believe we need to outline and remind everyone in the district that parents have basic rights when it comes to their child’s education. Parents should have access to any curriculum and content-related materials along with the flexibility for their child to not partake in activities the parent so chooses. Parents have the right to make any medical decision for their child. Parents have the right to be informed about any mental health concerns about their child and decide how they choose to move forward to address their child’s needs. Parents have the right to an in-person learning environment for their child.
Parents are sending their children into public schools to expect their children to be safe from violence and challenged to meet their full academic potential. Parents are allies for their children. When parents feel their children are slipping through the cracks, not being challenged, or unsafe, trust in the public school system is gone. Together we can fix this and this will be my first objective if elected in November.
2. Strengthen School Safety
School safety is a multi-faceted concept with a simple statement that all can agree on kids and staff should be in a safe, non-violent, learning environment. The unfortunate reality is that is not always the case. How we should tackle this is by focusing on four areas:
- Maintaining School Resource Officers (SRO) in our schools
- Accessibility to mental health treatment
- Train ALL in-person staff in emergency response protocols
- School Bus Safety/ School Zone Safety
- Violent students should have disciplinary actions
3. Restore Administrative Accountability
Over the past several years, we’ve witnessed a school board and district administration do everything that they can to keep parents and the community in the dark. Frustrations include limiting public interactions during Board of Education meetings, along with administering surveys to our children without parent consent, curriculum that allows for political activism, teacher trainings promoting CRT ideologies, as well as justifying keeping title IX allegations from parents, and lowering standards for our students. Schools are for creating education opportunities. We have to keep schools about academics, otherwise it creates a pandora’s box of what government run public schools are allowed to justify implementing. It’s clear to me that we have to restore accountability and on day one if elected, I will work with the new Board to implement guidelines and benchmarks to hold our leaders accountable. If these accountability benchmarks are not met, then I will work with the Board to bring in new leadership.
4. Expand Academic Pathways
There is no one-size-fits-all pathway for our children. In order for our students to be successful, we need to provide them with more opportunities to learn. We must expand school choice and magnet programs, offer more career and technical education programs, and prepare students not only for higher education but for trade programs. New Hanover County is rich in industry, transportation hubs, real estate, film, and manufacturing. We should provide students opportunities to explore careers at home to help boost our local economy and be productive citizens. We can start this by having public-private partnerships with our local businesses and inviting businesses into our classrooms to help teach, train, and offer shadowing opportunities. Read More.