Q&A With School Board Candidates – Part 5
Published 12:06 pm Friday, April 22, 2022
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.
Melvin B. Poole
Robin B. Whittaker
5. If you could change one thing within the school system right now, what would it be and why?
Graves: Communication — and we’re already working on it. One of the most frustrating aspects of serving on the school board is how much misinformation is out there. I have argued that this is largely our fault — and our responsibility to fix.
The absence of facts and accurate information creates a vacuum that is easily filled by gossip and speculation. The only way to tackle misinformation is by providing transparency.
People have a right to know everything there is to know about how our government operates, and the school system is no exception. We need to publish more information, not less. We need to be open to scrutiny and be ready to provide answers and data when asked.
As I have noted in numerous school board meetings, I think we are making good progress and I see that progress accelerating.
That said, as much as open-door policies provide access to leadership and decision-makers, that process is sometimes not feasible for many across our county. Therefore, we need to leverage technology to do a better job of keeping people informed. Again, I think we are making progress. Hopefully, this will become more apparent over the next few months.
Poole: I am not sure public education is so simple that one particular thing will fix it.
One thing the board must always strive for is to maintain public trust. Without that trust and teamwork approach the system will not achieve its highest potential.
Whittaker: I would seek to give building level administrators the flexibility to implement what works for their building, their staff and their students.
No one knows their needs better than they do. We tend to think what works for one works for all. We have entrusted our leaders to do just that, lead.
We must listen more and dictate less. Our schools will be more successful when our building level administrators and staff are given a voice.
Wright: If I had my way, we would have cameras in our classrooms. Or make it ok for parents to come in at any time for as long as they like to not only monitor what is being taught, but also what the kids are doing as well. Parents are not allowed in a lot of classes.
Now as for what I would change. I would make it that history was taught as it was. The good, the bad, the ugly. We have dark times in our past and we need to understand and learn about all of it.
Part of this is making sure our kids also understand the amazing Americans of color history as well. Like Bass Reeves, Elizabeth Jennings Graham to name a few.
Also, get rid of common core math and eliminate all this nonsense with social learning, trying to groom our kids, and CRT garbage based on lies.
Our schools need to educate our kids and prepare them with the skills needed for when they graduate. Not indoctrinate them with leftist nonsense. We need to do better in our schools. Our students deserve the best.
Lisk: I would enact policy that promotes prayer in school. As a lifelong servant to my Lord and Savior, I believe schools should support and strengthen students’ rights to religious expression. Our board prays with the public at the beginning of each board meeting.
All willing attendees participate in these prayers. I believe religion provides sound and positive principles to guide one’s soul through life.
With prayer and worship, behaviors in our schools can improve. Our students, teachers, staff, administrators and community can strengthen their bond. This change would require action by the federal government. However, I will advocate for this change at every level.
Almond: One thing that needs to change right now is how the current board will vote almost anything without doing appropriate research first. We saw this when they implemented the masking, quarantine and SEL agendas.
Once elected I will put in the time to read and research exactly what is being handed down from our Democratic governor. If it doesn’t align with our Constitution and community values I will turn it down and vote no!