"The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one." - Malcomb S. Forbes
LIST OF ISSUES
Transparency & Stakeholder Representation
It is important that your School Board Representative be completely transparent in order to ensure the integrity of the process and maintain the trust of the community. Stakeholders in Cobb education, which include educators, parents, students, and community businesses, deserve to know how concerns about education are being addressed. Furthermore, information regarding educational priorities should be presented in a manner designed to answer the stakeholder questions.
Board Member comments should be reinstated in order to allow constituents to hear from their elected official. To silence their voice is to put up a barrier to communication and transparency. However, comments should not be used to further partisan issues or those that are unrelated to Cobb County education.
Incident records need to be reviewed to ensure that accurate reporting of acts of bullying and aggression are being released to the community. We must be proactive in protecting the rights of the bullied and providing help to the bully. The Board must protect administrators and resource officers from unfair retaliation for reporting bullying incidences on their campus.
Your School Board Representative should also have an inclusive approach to stakeholder interests and there must be a philosophy of embracing and valuing diverse perspectives. It is imperative that families and educators trust that their representative will continue to respect and protect differences and thus build a more inclusive approach to education.
Partisan politics has no place in education. We should all be working towards the goal of educating our children.
Protecting All Students
Even though Cobb County serves over 100,000 students, it is important we strive to meet the unique needs of each and every child. While that seems like a daunting task, I believe it can be done by empowering all stakeholders to advocate for all children.
It is imperative that we listen to parental concerns regarding the needs of their child. Too often, parent concerns are dismissed as irrelevant due to budget constraints or perceived parental overreaction. Every concern deserves attention.
We must nurture student leadership. To combat bullying in our schools and create socially aware and active children, we must allow our stakeholder students to advocate for issues important to them and ensure their voices are heard. By empowering the student voice, you will encourage empathy, compassion and community spirit.
Fiscal responsibility is essential to maintain a continuation of growth in our schools. As the population of Cobb County continues to grow, the health of our budget and equitable distribution of SPLOST funds is demanded. A review of all contracts and budget allotments is necessary to determine where there is waste and inequity in spending. It is also imperative that contractors be held accountable for avoidable delays and overspending.
A Chief Resource Officer could add value as an asset to assist in overseeing the equitable distribution of funds across the County. However, the parameters of that role would have to be clearly defined by the Board. For example,
Define equitable distribution of funds
How do you recruit and fund for this position
Is it an appointed position or a hired position
What are the parameters of their job
How do you protect said position from the influence of lobbyists
Teacher Planning Time
It is imperative that we protect teacher planning time. I would work with teachers and administrators to develop a plan to allow teachers uninterrupted planning time during the school day/week. Our teachers already work a vast amount of hours educating and nurturing our students.
While everyone in the County is grateful for the raises received at the end of last year, we must ensure that raise did not come at a cost by asking our teachers to take their work home.
College and Career Academy
Not all students are college bound and it is necessary to recognize and provide resources for those students to succeed and become active participants in our society. I believe that the option for a College and Career Academy in the East Cobb area needs to be explored. I would propose a feasibility study to determine the options for opening a program at one of our East Cobb high schools.