A Board of Education candidates forum hosted by the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race on Tuesday, October 28, presented candidates with four questions presented through the lens of racial integration in the school district.
Three of the four candidates vying for three seats on the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education were present: Elizabeth Baker, Maureen Jones and Donna Smith. Dr. Godwin Molokwu could not attend because he is currently traveling with Doctors Without Borders in South America. Since the prepared questions were submitted to the candidates prior to the forum, Dr. Molokwu’s answers were read aloud by a volunteer.
Board of Education terms are for three years. Election day is November 4.
The topics covered were the middle school IB program, recruiting and retention of racially diverse teachers, the academic achievement gap as it relates to racial minorities, and cultural competency training for teachers.
The CCR then opened up the floor for questions from audience members, and those ran the gamut from queries about how the candidates would preserve funding to the arts, to when the district would start offering comprehensive instruction in languages like Chinese and Portuguese (in regards to the evolving global economy in which current students will one day be working), to how specifically the candidates would address leveling/de-leveling in the schools.
Watch the full debate here: