VIDEO: Board of Ed Candidates Answer Questions on Integration, Teacher Diversity, Inclusiveness of Curriculum at Final Forum

by The Village Green
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The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race Schools Committee hosted the third and final 2021 South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education Candidates Forum on October 26.

All five candidates vying for three seats on the 9-member South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education participated in the forum: Shannon Cuttle (incumbent), William RodriguezQawi TelesfordArun Vadlamani and Kaitlin Wittleder. Terms are for three years. Election day is November 2.

Candidates did not receive questions in advance. CCR member Carol Barry-Austin told candidates and attendees, “Our goal this evening is to challenge the candidates to consider how school policy effects equity and integration in our schools and classrooms.”

“Recent events in our country, which are often reflected in our community, prove that issues of equity and inclusiveness need to be intentional and supported,” said Barry-Austin. “By attending this evening you are each contributing to the change that starts in our community.”

After each candidate gave a one-minute opening statements, moderator Audrey Rowe took candidates through five questions from the Schools Committee.

Questions ranged from “the district’s Intentional Integration Initiative (12:30 in the video below), the persistent lack of diversity in the teaching staff (22:30), and representation of marginalized groups in the curriculum (29:27).”

The moderator then opened the discussion to questions from the audience.

For each question, candidates had 1:30 to answer and then other candidates were given one minute to rebut.

The evening finished with closing statements.

Election Day is November 2.


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