State Board of Education candidate Carolyn Campbell to chat
October 17, 2008
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Carolyn Campbell, a Topeka Democrat running for State Senate, will chat with LJWorld.com users.
Hello and welcome to our second Election 2008 chat of the day - this one with Carolyn Campbell. She's a Democrat running to represent the state's 4th District in the State Board of Education race. Welcome Carolyn!
Good afternoon, I am looking to visiting with you. Thank you.
With the economy the way it is and most districts go by their own policy on charging for public school fees. What do you plan to do about lowering the cost of public education? For example we have 4 children in the Lawrence School District and just for the cost of education that is running us $928 (not including food for school lunches)!!
Here's a story we wrote a couple years ago about schools in the Lawrence school district:
I realize the cost is staggering when you have a family of 4 children. It is my hope that the state board will be able to attempt to provide grants in some manner for families to be able to provide
the necessary supplies, activities that all parents want their children to enjoy. With limited
funds from the legislature, it becomes a local school board responsibility to determine what can
be done to assist families. The federal and state government are not inclined to support local
school districts in this manner.
Carolyn - Thanks for running for State School Board. Given the volatile and sometimes unproductive history of our state's school board, what skill set do you think you bring to the table in terms of keeping the board focused at the true business at hand: educating our kids? Thanks!
My personality is one that I have always been able to listen and work with people with opinions
different from mine. I am looking forward to getting to know and work with all the board members.
Hopefully, we will have the major priority of members putting our children first in all our decisions. On Topeka Public Schools Board, when there was a different of opinion, once the majority vote was
made, I was always ready to go forward and work for a satisfactory outcome. I have always
attempted to see the good in everyone.
I heard you don't believe that creation and/or intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution...Is this true? If so, why shouldn't our kids be exposed to competing theories of how the world began?
Yes, you are correct, I believe creationism and/or intelligent design are not science based and
should be taught in social studies or religion classes.
The department of education recently released a study showing the annual improvements of Kansas students in standardized test scores. Alexa Posny, the education commissioner, said she thinks the scores will begin to plateau in about 2010. What will you do to ensure those scores continue to improve?
I would continue to support the Commissioner and request and review continued data from our school districts. It would also be important to me to have the department of education to continue
to work to improve our delivery of services to individual school districts that need support.
Here's a question I had e-mailed to me: Do you believe there should be increased licensing standards for K-12 teachers?
With regards to increasing licensing standards for K-12 teachers, I would need to review carefully
the standards as they are now. I certainly believe our educators should be highly qualified and
would not support lowering the standards.
What efforts would you undertake to attract new teachers to the profession, especially in the fields of math and science?
I plan to work to develop some recruitment strategies - such as housing allowances, signing
bonuses, possible partial loan forgiveness if the teacher would work in the school district for
a minimum of 3 years. I an a Commissioner for the 2010 Commission for the state of Kansas
and we have been reviewing this concern. Each year we submit a report and recommendations
to the Kansas Legislature. However, the state budget is such we have not been successful
with any of our recommendations that have a fiscal note.
Do you favor increased consolidation of school districts in the state?
I do favor consolidation of extremely small school districts. With the limited number of educators in certain fields (such as chemistry, etc.) through consolidation, the schools would be able to provide classes and services to the children.
This is a very emotional issue. Recently the 2010 Commission received a report of 2 districts
coming together and consolidation has worked well.
Carolyn, your competitor, Robert Meissner, will be here next week. What are the top two or three differences between you?
The major difference is the only agenda I have is putting our children first in the decisions of the state board of education in order for them to receive a quality and equitable education.
I believe the State science standards are correct and the theory of evolution should be taught
in our schools and I would not support changing them.
I believe creationism and intelligent design can be taught in social studies or religion classes,
not science classes.
I have spent my adult life volunteering in schools and continue to do so. I am serving on the Sheldon Head Start Policy Council as a community representative. Currently, co-founder
of Circle of Women which is a program for young high school girls to help them grow into strong,
positive young women. Capital City Schools in Topeka Public Schools (a school for troubled
We'll pose one last question for you, Carolyn. If elected, what would your top priorities be and why?
Number one would be improving early childhood development programs across the state so all
children are ready to learn when they start kindergarten. Studies show we must reach the brain by age 3 for normal, positive development.
Closing the achievement gap. We have children coming to school with serious life situations and we must see each child individually and focus on their needs.
Teacher retention and recruitment and the development of a leadership academy.
Another concern of mine is career and technical training for all our children. Not all children plan to go to college and we must assist them in identifying their strengths.
WHY: I want every child to receive a quality education and I want our school districts to be
able to have a quality group of educators.
Thank you Carolyn for joining us.