Friday, July 20, 2018

In school board district 8, Adam Barese appears to be the less bad candidate.

On the August 2nd general election ballot are races for school board in district 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I do not live in one of these district, have heard little about the candidates and do not know any of them. This is different from the 2012 school board election in which there was forums and lots of money spend and lots of attention paid to the school board races. Why there is so little interest being paid to school board elections this election season I don't know; our schools are getting worse instead of better.
School board races are important. Some people take the attitude that the only people who should care about school board elections are people with children in public schools.  I strongly disagree. The quality of our schools and how much of our tax dollars they spend affects us all. It impacts home values, taxation, crime, incarceration rates and more. If I lived in a district with a school board race, I would educate myself on the candidates and vote in that election.  The School Board spends the bulk of Metro's tax money and most of our schools are low performing.  Nashville has a lot of good things going for it but the quality of our schools is not one of them. While the population of Davidson County is growing, school enrollment is shrinking. Apparently, parents are enrolling their children in private schools or the population moving to Nashville are skewed toward people people without children and those with children are moving to surrounding counties instead of Nashville.

In selecting who I would vote for there are certain factors I would consider. School board elections are non-partisan but if a candidate's political affiliation can be determined, I would vote for a Republican over a Democrat. If a candidates political ideology can be determined I would prefer a conservative over a liberal.  I would usually prefer an educated candidate over a less educated candidate. There are exceptionally capable people with only a high school education, of course, but in general, if I had limited knowledge of the candidates and other factors were equal, I would vote for the better educated person. I would tend to vote for someone who calls for increased efficiency and wise use of current resources over someone who calls for an increase in the school budget.  I would support someone who supports school choice over someone who opposes charter schools.

There are some factors that would not sway me to vote for a particular candidate and some that would be negative factors. Some candidates tout as a qualification that they have children in public schools. That does not carry weight with me.  School budgets and school quality affect us all.  If a person has a child in private school that is not a reason to vote against them, the way I see it.  Everyone has to do what is best for their family.  The person with a child in private schools may be better aware of just how bad our schools are and may be committed to making them better.  Also, being childless or single is not a negative in my view.  I want the kind of people who I would want to serve as Board of Directors  of a company.  Being wise decision makers may not be dependent on weather or not one is a parent.

Having been a teacher or married to a teacher or having teachers in one's family is not necessarily a factor that would make me vote for someone. The former teacher or person with teachers in their family may be biased in favor of more spending. They may be less objective than someone else.  Getting the endorsement of the MNEA which is the teachers union, or getting the endorsement of the SEIU would not be a disqualifying factor but would make me less likely to vote for someone; not more. If a candidate got a union endorsement then they are probably committed to higher taxes and more school funding.

There are two candidates running for school board in district 8. District 8 is the district that includes Hillsboro, Antioch, McGavock and Pearl Cohn. I know neither of the candidates. There was a debate between the two candidate on July 19th but I did not attend it and have no news from the debate. The incumbent, Mary Pierce is not seeking reelection. Today The Tennessean ran an article profiling the candidates. You can read the article at this link. Another website called Rover provided a little more information on the candidates. From information gleamed from the Tennessean article and the candidate's websites and a couple other sources, here is what I know about the candidates.

Adam Barese

Adam Barese is the owner of a medical distribution company and he has two children in Metro public schools. He serves as a PTO treasurer at Glendale Elementary. He is a critic of Dr. Shawn Joseph and says it is time for him to go. I like that. He advocates more autonomy for school principals, which is something I support. He has only raised $1350 while his opponent has raised $37,000. That is not a good sign. Knocking more doors can be more effective than raising lots of money, but I have no idea how hard either of the candidates have been working. He says he wants a budget for schools that will focus on proper pay for teachers and other underpaid school employees. On his Facebook page he says the failure of the Metro Council to pass a property tax increase was "disappointing." Prior to the Council action on the budget, he urged people to call their councilman and lobby for a tax increase. I cannot find where he has taken a position on school choice. To visit his campaign Facebook page follow this link. To view his campaign website, follow this link.

Gini Pupo-Walker
Gini Pupo-Walker is a former educator and works at Conexión Américas as the senior director of education policy. This organization provides a lot of worthwhile services that helps immigrants assimilate and improve their economic well being. Unfortunately, the agency also engages in advocacy on behalf of illegal immigrants. While I would not automatically vote against someone because they had made a contribution to this organization or because they worked for the organization, doing so does raise a red flag.  Her position on charter schools is nuanced. She says the district must better manage its charter schools and hold them accountable and she says,“I understand the impact they are having on neighborhood schools. They’re here to stay and we need to be a good actor." She seems supportive of Dr. Joseph. Like her opponent she advocated for a tax increase. She has the endorsement of the Metro Nashville Education Association, the Service Employees International Union, the Nashvillians for an Effective School Board, the Equity Alliance and the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund. To view her website, follow this link

I know no more about the candidates in this race than what I have reported above. The endorsements received by Pupo-Walker is a reason I could not support her candidacy. Adam Barese appears to be the less bad candidate.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment