From the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race:
The Schools Committee of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race is presenting its 9th annual forum for candidates for the Board of Education on Tuesday evening, October 25, 2016 at 7:00 PM in the South Orange Middle School Library, 70 North Ridgewood Road, South Orange, Second Floor.
This Candidates’ Forum is an opportunity for the candidates to offer their positions on vital issues for our schools and towns including the new access and equity policies, the continuing minority achievement gap, and how to create true integration in our schools.
The Schools Committee of the Coalition on Race will present a series of questions for the candidates to consider concerning the relationship between school policies and integration in our schools. These questions will center on student academic placement, support for students who have chosen to level up or select Advanced Placement classes, the recruiting and retention of a racially and culturally diverse teaching staff, the racial minority academic achievement gap, and about ways to provide professional development for teachers, particularly in cultural competency/anti-bias education.
As in the past, there will be direct questions from the audience. Audience members will be given an index card to write down the question and then, if time permits, ask the question of the candidate(s).
While we are a strictly nonpartisan organization and never endorse individual candidates, it is our opinion that a candid and open dialogue about race in our school district is an imperative step toward full integration in our schools. We want the candidates to consider and explain to the public how the policies they propose will affect integration, equity, and excellence within the schools.
The Coalition and the Schools Committee are interested in a school system that supports rigor, demands excellence and equity in opportunity, and provides an environment in which each student can succeed–while simultaneously encouraging true integration in our schools and towns.
Our Board of Education needs to act to assure that our schools bring the entire community together to create schools that are the first choice of families of all races and socio-economic backgrounds. We want to see the racial minority academic achievement gap closed, and we look forward to a day when the school district is stably integrated overall, within academic levels, and within schools– to a time when students of all races are expected and encouraged to excel in a community that joins together in pride and support of its schools.
Carol Barry-Austin and Meredith Sue Willis are Coalition Trustees and Co-chairs of the Schools Committee.
See the video of the Hilton Neighborhood Association’s South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education Candidates Forum here: