Q&A With School Board Candidates – Part 4

Published 5:05 pm Thursday, April 21, 2022

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Editor’s Note: For coverage of the primary election, The Stanly News & Press sent questions to each group of candidates. We limited their responses to 200 words per answer. Answers appear as is, with the exception of editing for grammatical/spelling errors or length. This allows potential voters to see the candidates through their own words and gives equal opportunity for the candidates to respond. We gave candidates two weeks to email their answers back.

School Board


Anthony Graves
Melvin B. Poole
Robin B. Whittaker
John Wright

District 1
Dustin Lisk
Meghan Almond

4. What do you think are the biggest issues impacting students and parents within the school system? Why is that?

Anthony Graves

Graves: Learning loss, also called lost learning, is one of the biggest issues impacting students across our county and the United States.

No one can deny the emotional toll two years of remote learning, random unnecessary quarantines and arbitrary masking have had on children. It is true that children are resilient, but for many students, real damage has been done and it will take time and dedicated resources to get these children back on track.

Learning loss, however, is the biggest and most urgent issue impacting students and parents today. For starters, the board needs to support the continuation of programs like last year’s county-wide K5/K8 summer program and credit recovery program for high school students, and this year’s modified summer program focusing on students in the transitional grades in the elementary schools.

Long term, it is going to take recognition by our federal government and the State of North Carolina that summer programs and credit remediation alone aren’t enough.

We need to work with counties across N.C. to fight for a comprehensive approach that helps our students, including those who graduated the past two summers. Otherwise, this generation of students, our future workforce, is at risk.

Melvin Poole

Poole: One of the issues facing public education is the academic catch-up needed by missed educational opportunities due to the Covid crisis.
Another hot topic public education is being forced to consider is currculum changes such as CRT and implementation of SEL.

Personally I don’t think our public schools should be a lab for social experimentation or indoctrination camps.

Robin Whittaker

Whittaker: Learning loss that occurred during the pandemic is a major concern. According to the Learning Loss Impact Analysis released by NCDPI, data shows Covid had a negative impact on students, in all grades and in almost every subject.

Students impacted by learning loss the most were the students who were most challenged pre-pandemic. The damage this pandemic brought upon our students and our system didn’t transpire overnight. Our schools were forced to think outside of the box, and I believe how we fill the gap from learning loss will also require that type of thinking.

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Young learners have lost more than a year of “normal” social interaction, with the added stress of living through a pandemic.

Students going back to in-person learning may be struggling with the state of the world or dealing with the loss of loved ones.
Not all students come from a loving and nurturing home life. School is their safe haven, and for a period that was taken from them.

Teacher/Staff Recruitment and Retention — we are losing qualified teachers and support staff. We must work to increase teacher/support staff compensation to be competitive with neighboring districts.

John Wright

Wright: The biggest issue is what I call the biggest threat to our children. CRT and grooming.

CRT is a Marxist, radical movement that is teaching our kids to hate based on color. This whole “theory” is also part of the 1619 Project, that is also based on lies and nonsense, goes completely against Dr. King’s dream that all people are judged by character not skin.

Grooming is also called social emotional learning. The New York Post has a great article on this called “SEL is often just a cover from progressive indoctrination of kids.” This came out 11-23-21.

If you do not think this is here in Stanly County, I want to give a shout out to Mrs. Almond at our public forum. She brought a book that was, if I’m not mistaken, given to her 6-year-old and it was based on CRT indoctrination. Parents need to make sure they know what is being taught to our kids in our schools.
This nightmare is here.

Dustin Lisk

Lisk: Teacher and staff shortages continue to impact our schools, students and parents. The pandemic presented new challenges to an already strained public educational system.

Teachers work overtime to prepare curriculum to help recover lost learning with students, on top of the many other requirements of the teacher position. Staff perform different job roles throughout the day to keep the schools operational. Administrators diligently work long hours to manage organized chaos.

Our school system needs curriculum adoption across the board. All students should have equal and realistic access to opportunities to learn. We need to expand and streamline our career and technical education programs to provide solid pathways to rewarding employment. All schools should have strong and consistent academic curriculum to prepare for college.

Our facilities remain outdated. We must renovate the schools to meet the needs of today’s learning environment and the growth in our county. We need state help to overcome these monumental challenges.

Meghan Almond

Almond: The biggest impact facing students and parents would be learning loss.
In my opinion, the pandemic was just an additive to an already existing issue. You have children being instructed one way and then parents are struggling to help their child with homework because they were not taught the Common Core way.
Also, we are over testing our students which takes away from valuable learning time. Ask any teacher and they can testify!

The BOE also voted in a ludicrous curriculum called SEL back in October 2021.

This is also replacing valuable learning time. Let’s get back to the basics of reading and mathematics without the Common Core and leftists agendas!