Secure Our Schools
As we debate so many issues in the realm of education, we must all recognize that safe schools must be our top priority. Unfortunately, we live in a dangerous world and we cannot bury our heads in the sand and hope it won’t happen here. As we have seen, not even our schools are immune from violence. That is why it is vital to have a school board that puts school safety as their first priority. As a member of the school board, I will work with law enforcement, staff, parents, students and security experts to ensure our community is confident we have done everything possible to create safe, secure learning environments.
The statistics are undeniable. The biggest single factor of student academic success is having parents who are involved in their children’s education. However, as many parents have discovered during the past two years during the COVID pandemic, they are not in a position to truly be involved in the education process. Whether it’s the lack of transparency in curriculums, difficulty understanding and navigating the grading system, or trying to understand the ever changing standardized testing, parents are finding it almost impossible to be an equal partner with teachers and schools.
Jacob believes every parent has a right to know, and see, exactly what their children are being taught. After all, these are the parent’s children and the citizens’ tax dollars funding the school system. Jacob also believes grading should be standardized across the school system.
Invest In Students
The Wake County Public School System is the 15th largest in the country with a current annual budget of $2.1 Billion. Reading/language arts and math proficiency scores have continued to decline over the past decade, yet graduation rates have INCREASED over the same period. Something doesn’t make sense. Every year teachers spend money out of their own pockets for supplies and then have to reach out to families for additional supplies as well. It doesn’t take a PhD in economics to figure out Board spending is broken.
The most recent Wake School Budget spent nearly 90% of funds on salary and benefits, while roughly 2% went to materials and supplies. It’s time to take a serious look at how our $2.1 Billion is being allocated and ensure that every penny is spent in a way that maximizes student achievement.
The past two years have brought to light what many have known for a while. Our teachers do not have the support they need from the School Board. In fact, during the COVID pandemic our teachers had to: learn to teach remotely, teach in-person while also teaching remotely, become pseudo-healthcare specialist, prepare for the upcoming quarters and semester without knowing what would be expected of them or what roles they would be called on to take up.
Each year, school funding increases, yet teachers continue to be without resources they need. They are expected to deal with ever changing testing systems that they are forced to teach to. Our teachers know that one-size-fits-all methods do not work for our students. Teachers need the flexibility to be able to work with individual students based on their learning needs and have the resources available to create a productive learning environment.
Improve Special Education
Many families in Wake County rely on the public school system for the care and education of their children with special needs. Children with special needs are gifts from God, and having them as active and fully included students in our public schools is a wonderful lesson in diversity for all of us, especially our students.
Watching my own daughter interact with her special needs peers as a member of 5th Grade Safety Patrol was a wonderful experience. We must work to ensure we have adequate funds to provide teachers, materials, support and equipment to help ALL of our children reach their fullest potential. This will be a priority during my time on the Board.