State Board of Education incumbent Carolyn Campbell chats on LJWorld.com
November 2, 2012
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Hello, and welcome to our second chat today. This afternoon we're talking with Carolyn Campbell, the incumbent representing the State Board of Education's fourth district. She's running against Republican Jack Wu, whom we invited for a chat, as well.
I'm Alex Parker, the Journal-World's digital editor.
Carolyn, thank you for joining us today. Can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and why you're running?
I am a retired Manger of Southwestern Bell Tel. Co. Elected to Topeka Public Schools Board of Education in 1995, 1999, 2003. Elected to Kansas Board of Education in 2008. I am a candidate for re-election after being encouraged to do so as I am told my voice has made a difference. I am served on the policy committee for 4 years and negotiation team for School of the Deaf for two years. Elected vice chair of the state board in 2011. I continue to want to serve our children to provide a quality education for all. I am a lifelong Topeka resident and member of Historic St. Mark's African Methodist Episcopal Church (home of Rev. Oliver and Linda Brown).
I care deeply about our children.
Carolyn, what do you see as the biggest issues in education in the state right now, and how do you plan on tackling them, if re-elected?
The major issue continues to be funding. The legislature is responsible for funding. For the state board, I see narrowing the achievement gap between African American and Hispanic children. I believe difference teaching strategies need to be considered for children with different learning styles. We need to find whatever resources there are ( grants, etc.) to assist our Districts.
The state board is focusing and college and career readiness as well as early childhood education to support our children.
What would you do on the State Board of Education to address the achievement gaps between upper-income and lower-income students, and between white and minority students?
The department of education provides assistance to struggling districts. If I had the power, there would be more funds dedicated to the districts that need assistance. One of my concerns is professional development opportunities that would provide support to our educators to learn
new teaching stategies.
I currently serve on Communities in Schools board and this is an organization to assists the entire family as well as the individual student.
Carolyn, both you and your opponent say your faith play a big role in your lives. Can you tell us how your faith mixes with your position as a member of the board?
First, my faith does not mix with my position of the state board. I believe in the separation of church and state. My beliefs have no place in making decisions for the education of our children.
One of the first scriptures as a child I learned was God is Love. This is how I try to live my life
and hope God's love shows through me.
The state is now moving away from No Child Left Behind, thanks to a federal waiver. With that, the State Department of Education is thinking about moving away from Quality Performance Accreditation, the system that Kansas has used for 20 years to assess whether schools are meeting state expectations. Do you support doing away with QPA at this time and moving to another system of accrediting schools, one that's aligned to the new waiver?
After twenty years (I served on QPA committee some years ago), I am in favor of studying another accreditation system that will be in line with our waiver.
What would be your biggest priorities if re-elected?
My priorities are as follows:
Narrowing the achievement gap for our children of color.
Early children education such as pre-K funding for our districts, parents as teachers.
Strong career readiness programs as all children as not going to college
Your opponent says he does not believe in evolution. You reject that notion. Do you think evolution will continue to be taught in Kansas schools, and how would you work to keep it on the curriculum?
I believe evolution should continue to be taught in Kansas. The Next Generation Science Standards will be reviewed and approved sometime next year year. I believe the current board majority supports teaching evolution.
Carolyn--Thank you for your servce and hard work. What are your top goals for your second term?
Carolyn, you alluded to your top priorities earlier, so adding onto xyz's question, how will you achieve them?
Thank you, my first priority is narrowing the achievement gap. I want every children to be able to reach their potential. This can be accomplished with strong teachers that see each children individually. That was the good part of NCLB.
Second, every graduate should be ready for college or a meaningful career.
Third, early childhood education funding for pre-K.
My goals involve the legislature restoring education cuts.
A couple of statewide task forces currently are looking at how local school districts spend their money. Do you think most districts are spending their money wisely? In what areas might they improve?
I am looking forward to the results of the efficiency task force. With the state funding cuts our districts have had to endure, our local districts as spending tax dollars wisely. Unfortunately, much needed after school tutoring, social workers, counselors, nurses as well as larger class sizes. My concern is there will be a great number of suggestions from the hotline that are not realistic and are from the uninformed. Our districts can only improve with funding.
OK, that's all the time we have today. Carolyn, do you have any parting thoughts you'd like to leave with our readers before heading back on the campaign trail?
I appreciate this opportunity to visit regarding my life as a community volunteer and passionate advocate for all children to receive a quality education. I serve on Sheldon Head Start Policy Council and Capital City School Site Council. My education foundation started at segregated McKinley Elementary in North Topeka. There was high expectations for each of us to be successful and this is what I want for all children. It is my hope to be able to serve the children and educators of Kansas for four more years on the State Board of Education. Thank you.
Thank you so much for your time today, Carolyn. And thanks to our readers for your questions.