🏫 School Board Enthusiasts 🏫 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team's School Board
As a result of Dr. Steve Highlander’s appointment to the Hamilton County Commission, after an extensive seven-year tenure on the HCDE School Board, the District 9 School Board seat requires a...
replacement. Initially, ten candidates applied for the now vacant position; however, due to certain circumstances, the number of candidates narrowed before the procession of the forum. As a result of the changes, the forum consisted of eight candidates in which they had to answer questions from District 9 residents.
When listening to the questions presented, I had initially expected to see more varying opinions; however, there were numerous times when I felt like certain candidates were building off of each other's views rather than presenting their specific ideas. While this necessarily is not such an issue—instead meaning more people have similar ideas, it was harder to distinguish each of the candidates' views because mostly everyone agreed with each other. Despite this recurring action, I still felt that the questions asked were rather well constructed and attempted to create further insight into the candidates in question.
While watching the forum, I noticed that the majority of the candidates heavily emphasized the need for parent involvement when contributing ideas and thinking to the School Board. Although I agree that parents and teachers are crucial in collective decision-making, I found it a concern that there wasn’t much said about student input, considering that the result of the decisions made will directly affect students. Mr. James Walker, one of the candidates present at the forum, mentioned that it is not necessary to have a social worker in each of our county’s schools and that it was instead a waste of funds. He said that there are other places to reach out to people, such as psychologists or mentors, but that shouldn’t occur in our schools. While I agree that teachers and faculty members can’t be burdened upon teaching and nurturing each student, there needs to be a designated person in all schools accessible for students to reach out to when in need.
Mrs. Pam Womack, one of the candidates that attended the forum, stated, “No one would disagree that parents are the number one influence in the classroom, but we’re not going to have that in every single household. We need to get good leadership. The Superintendent is going to be crucial.” When thinking about teachers, faculty members, and our Superintendent, we have to make sure that we have someone in place to help influence and guide those students who may lack leadership and consolidation in their households.
Another thing discussed at the forum that stood out to me was the censoring of teaching “social” topics in schools. While I do think that parents should have a say in choosing what their child should learn about in their classes, I do feel like most problems we have in our world today are self-imposed. Suppose our education system had more coverage on dealing with mental health, understanding US history, etc. I believe that our future generations would be more well-informed. According to the Mental Health Organization, “Changes often act as triggers: moving home or school or the birth of a new sibling, for example. Some children who start school feel excited about making new friends and doing new activities, but there may also be some who feel anxious about entering a new environment. Teenagers often experience emotional turmoil as their minds and bodies develop.”
Mental health is just as important as physical health. It would make just as much sense to discuss topics such as these to help inform students on how to care for themselves mentally and physically. As mentioned before, most of our world’s problems are primarily self-imposed and are often caused by a lack of understanding. If our county’s schools continue to teach students by textbook rather than allowing certain concepts to be questioned/challenged, nothing will be understood.
Overall I think that the candidate forum was very enjoyable. Even though there was a room full of varying and opposing ideas, I’m thankful that these thoughts were shared in a collective effort to better our county’s schools.