Candidate forum: NC Superintendent of Public Instruction
Democrat Jen Mangrum and Republican Catherine Truitt take part in the superintendent of public instruction candidate forum sponsored by the North Carolina Parent Teacher Association, Public Schools First North Carolina, the Public School Forum of North Carolina and the North Carolina League of Women Voters.
for the North Carolina superintendent of public instruction. Candidate form. My name is Ivan Brandon, and I am chair of public Schools first and see one of the sponsors for tonight's form, along with our other sponsors, are the North Carolina League of Women Voters, the public school form of North Carolina and the North Carolina Pita. So we're very appreciative of your time and attention. Tonight, we're thankful to Catherine Truett and Jane Mangrum for agreeing to participate in the forum tonight. We thank W r a l for the live streaming, and we hope that many of you if you miss it tonight, we hope that you'll join uh, us and looking at the tape, which we hope will be available tomorrow. It'll be on public schools first NC on our YouTube. So if you if you enjoyed the form tonight and you want to share with your friends, please look tomorrow on our YouTube at public schools first NC. I also want to thank um uh, bring to your attention an event that we're having next week on September the 17th at seven o'clock, we'll have in a webinar with Governor Roy Cooper. Ah, conversation about public education in North Carolina. This webinar does require registration. So if you can give our Facebook page public schools first NC and registered for the webinar. So now I'd like to also bring to the podium Laura Leslie and thank her so much for being our moderator tonight. Um, we really appreciate it. And we hope that our audience enjoys this form. Thank you. Hi there in good evening. My name is Laura Leslie. I'm the n c capital Bureau chief for W Oriel and w a l dot com Honored to be invited Thio moderate Tonight's event Thanks very much of on, um, this is one of those races that can sometimes fall down the ballot a little bit, especially with so much attention and heat and light going to the presidential races and the Senate and gubernatorial. But nonetheless, I think everybody who has a child or has ever loved a child knows that this is one of the most important offices in the state. So thank you for agreeing to take your time tonight to join us. Um, and give us some ideas about what you might like to do when you're in office. So we flipped a coin tonight, Catherine. True. It is going to be our first to speak with her opening statement tonight. Catherine served right now. I should say that you are sorry about that. The chancellor of WG you and see that is a non profit 100% online university. Before that, you were at UNC administration as an associate vice president for connection with K to 12 education. Onda former adviser Thio, Former governor Pat McCrory. So if you'd like Thio have your opening statement go right ahead. Thank you so much. My name is Catherine. True. It and I have worked in public education for my entire adult career and I know two things to be true. The first is that education is still the surest pathway to success and economic prosperity in the United States. And the second is that we are not educating all North Carolinians such that they can achieve this prosperity and success. I know this because the data tells a very clear story, and that story is this. 65% of eighth graders in North Carolina go into high school, not reading on grade level, nor doing math on grade level. And when we break this down by category, we find that only 20% of Hispanic students are reading on grade level and doing math proficiently, and only 14% of African American students are. Furthermore, we have a 30% achievement gap between our low income students, regardless of race and ethnicity and their wealthier counterparts. This is an issue because it means that our students are not able to fully realize their potential. And what's more, these statistics have not moved and budged for over 30 years. So do I think public schools need saving? I do think they need saving, but they don't need saving from one party over another or from one person or another person. Public schools need saving from the system in which they exist, because that system is designed to get the results that we are getting. This election is about choosing a state superintendent who will stand up and say that no matter who has been in charge over the last 30 years, no matter which party, no matter how much money we've given or not, given that nothing has changed, we have not moved the needle for all kids in North Carolina for over 30 years. Every year we wait to change this system is a year that we contribute, Tau failing another generation of students. That is why I am running. I want to lead this change and collaborate with folks across the state who feel the same way. I want to put students at the center of their education experience and do what's right for them and their families. Thank you so much. Thank you very much, Mr Pruitt. Now, Jen Mangrum, the other candidate I should mention You're the Republican, Mr It. You are the Democrats. Mangrum. Uh, Jen Bagram. A brief bio for you. You're the coordinator for the elementary education initiative in NC state, and you're currently an associate professor at U N. G. And you are in the teaching program in the education program where you are supervising student teachers in the classroom every single week. So, clearly somebody who is very much on the ground there. Um, Jen, if you want to go ahead and offer your opening statement, that be great. Thank you. So I'm Dr Jen Mangrum. A zalora said I'm associate professor at U N C. G. Working with student teachers. Our next generation. What brought me here today is I'm a native North Carolinian. Uh, grew up in Oslo County, a daughter of a Marine who fought in World War Two Korea, Vietnam twice. And when my father retired from the Marine Corps, he got his g d his associates a college degree from Wilmington and became 1/4 grade teacher. So Sergeant Robinson pop, fourth grade, and my father chose the school Bell Fork Elementary That was high in poverty, predominant kids of color. And I was probably about eight, and I learned my first story about equity and the injustice that we had in between our schools. My mom was from England. He brought her over with him. She became a kindergarten teacher. One of my favorite stories about my mom was there was a young boy in our community who had cerebral policy and the public schools didn't want to accept him into kindergarten because they felt like it would take a lot of resource is a lot of time. They were concerned about him, but my mom knew that he deserved to be in public kindergarten, so she went to court for him. Um, he became a public kindergarten student, but he also became a pediatrician. So I learned watching my parents be great role models, that public education changes lives and that teachers aren't there just to teach academics. They're there to help kids reach their potential to know that their unlimited despite any challenges they face. So I had these really great hair. My parents were getting ready for work, getting ready for school, and my father started yelling for me. And so I ran into the kitchen and my Mamat 49 in the middle of a massive heart attack, the kindergarten teacher that she waas I held her and she passed away that morning. It was chaos. My father left the paramedics and left with my mom and I was home alone and not knowing what to do. I walk to school that morning and I say this because I don't even think about this story Until I started running for office talking to my sister about it, I walked to school because I knew it was gonna be a stable place. I knew my teachers were gonna love me. I knew that educators were going to make things okay. They couldn't fix it. but I knew that they were going to support me and love me. And so it's no surprise that I then became an elementary teacher myself. I wanted to be like my mom and my dad, and I wanted to be like Mrs Travis and Mrs Warren at my school, who took me in on a day that changed the trajectory of my life. Our educators, our heroes and I want to be a champion for them because I know this is more than just academics. That's important. But our Children's social and emotional and physical well being is important too. So that's what brought me here tonight. I want to leave the state back in the direction where our Children come first. All right, thank you very much for that. Now, I'm gonna move on to our first question on gonna ask miss my gonna answer it first. Since we will switch it around. All right, on def. I get this wrong. I forget to switch. Remind me, please. Okay. Okay. So, question for both of you. Tell us one aspect. The one aspect of your professional experience that you feel makes you the best candidate for this office um, you know, I feel like you said some of that may be in your opening statements, but if you had to boil things down, what is the one thing? Go ahead. I think the one thing that sets me apart is my 14 years in an elementary classroom teaching literacy and then teaching the teachers around me how to teach literacy. I've also spent over 20 years working for the National Padilla Center around the country, providing professional development in reading, writing, speaking and listening. I worked with graduate students are practicing teachers, which I worked with student teachers in the classroom. Every week, thes experiences prepared me toe lead educators forward. I'm endorsed by nce because they know that I'm an educator and that we need a let an educator at the helm who understands the classroom and who could do great things for our kids in our schools. I think that sets me apart. Mr. Thank you. I taught high school for 10 years and I was turned around coach for three years in high poverty schools. But I have to say that what best qualifies me for this role, uh, is that the work that I have been doing at WG you, North Carolina, which again is a nonprofit online university serving adults who have not been able to finish a degree earlier in their life, for whatever reason, and have come back to finish their college education. 24% of our students belong to the under. Served I'm sorry are first generation college goers and 76% of our students in North Carolina. Our belonged to a warm or categories of the underserved community. And so the work that we dio is very centered on the students. Every student has a mentor. Every student has wrap around services to help them be successful. And I have grown wg you North Carolina by about four times the enrollment that we had when we first launched. And this is important because executive experience is necessary for this role. The state superintendent of public instruction is indirectly a supporter of teachers and, of course, wants to make sure that we have the best policy possible so that our teachers conduce what they want to do, which is teach. However, it's the superintendents in each of our counties that are there. The front lines toe help our teachers do the best they can and to provide direct support for them. The state superintendent needs to be able to collaborate with the state Board of Education. They need to work with the Legislature. They need to work with local superintendents, and they need to find innovative ways to bring in local principles as well as teachers, into the work that's going on with all of these groups. And so I do believe that executive experience is very necessary for this role. And I'll just close by saying that my work at WG You, which is at the intersection of education and workforce development, has shown me that when kids are not successful in their K 12 Endeavour's, they are not able to get wage sustaining jobs that will allow them to achieve their potential. All right, um, move on to our next question, which is straight out of the headlines, of course. Um, Governor Cooper. Well, we all know that the covert relief bill that passed a couple weeks ago, um, last week I should say, uh, the General Assembly, um, actually quite a expanded in a large way. The school voucher program in North Carolina, known as the opportunity scholarship program, making a lot more families. Pardon me. Eligible for that program? Um, Governor Cooper has called for a moratorium on that program, and a lot of Democrats and some of the teachers groups find it controversial because it sounds public dollars to private schools. Um, what is your view on this school choice program? And how do you think the voucher program impacts education overall in mystery? L let you go first. Thank you. Yes. So I want to be clear about a couple of things about the opportunity scholarship program. The first is that while the General Assembly did appropriate does appropriate money for this This That money is not part of the K 12 budget. It goes to the It's actually part of the university's budget, and it is overseen by the State Education Assistance Authority. So this program is not under the purview of the superintendent of public instruction. The second thing I want to make sure that everyone understands is that no extra money was appropriated for this program. Um, this probe, the what was just passed by the General Assembly leaves the dollar appropriation the same and just expands eligibility for those who, um, qualified and it lifts the cap on the number of kindergarten and first graders who could participate in this program. The Opportunity scholarship program is about school choice. We have all kinds of school choice in North Carolina. We have magnet schools, we have charter schools, we have private schools, and we have homeschooling, which, by the way, if it were a district, would be the third largest district in our state. But when parents of Means are dissatisfied with their neighborhood public school, they can choose to go to a private school. Or they can, uh, up to go with the lottery for a magnet school. Poor families cannot do that. The and that is what the opportunity scholarship is for. And furthermore, I'll close by saying that the appropriation for this program is $85 million which is, uh, 0.8% less than 1% of the over all K 12 education budget. Mr. Mangrum, Thank you. I'm really tired of the leadership of Phil Berger, Betsy the boss and Mark Johnson making money off of school. And while wg you may be a nonprofit, it made $46 million last year vouchers give Children $4200 out of public school money. It goes away from our public schools as if we're funded enough When it follows thes Children to schools. 4200 isn't gonna get you into a reputable, reputable private school. Schools are popping up there taking the 4200. In fact, the school Trinity, Fayetteville. I think it's pretty Christian Fayetteville actually had embezzlement in their leadership. Um, this is a dangerous path to go down. There's a lawsuit currently against the voucher program because they discriminate against parents if they don't follow a certain religion or a certain moral code. When they do that, it's not a choice. It's not a choice for parents. It's the schools choosing their Children. Um, some of the schools used curriculum that's not science based, and yet we're raising adults that we have no accountability or standards over there. Correct. Finally, in 2027 we have budgeted $1 billion from the time we started to 2027 on vouchers. That's money that could be in our public schools. It could be funding teachers. It could be re putting. Resource is in classrooms. Um, it could be helping with our facilities. Uh, this program is, uh, really destroying and dismantling public schools. And it's what Betsy the boss is all about. Well, this next question is, I guess, a little bit related. Perhaps. Um, we know that in some district schools seem to be resegregating According to the statistics that we see in your views. What is driving this? Trying to miss my grandma. I'll let you start that. So our Children are resegregating. And we know that a big piece of this is the school choice, um program, because school choice was a direct response or reaction. Thio Brown versus Board of Education. We need diverse classrooms because when our classrooms are diverse populations, it increases critical thinking, problem solving, empathy, understanding of other cultures. And this helps our society and our workforce in the future. Helen Lad out of Duke has proven and has given plenty of studies that charter schools are continuing and broadening resegregation. I want schools that are equal. I want every child toe flourish, and the only way we're gonna do that is to have high quality public education. Now, I'm not against choice. I think magnets air. Great. I think the district's need toe have policies that govern any charter schools so that our kids receive equal education. But we have got to rethink what we're doing because it's dividing our communities and dividing our school system. That's true it eso I'll have to disagree with my opponent on the origins of school choice. School choice has nothing to do with Brown versus Board of Education. In fact, it is, uh, was the central tenant of President Obama's tenure as our president, as was his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, who are still school choice advocates and back during race of the top during the great recession, when the state was offered money in order Thio improve upon public schools during the recession, President Obama tied strings to that money by, um, requiring that the state expand charter schools. Our schools are not segregated because of charter schools. They're segregated because in North Carolina, your ZIP code still determines where you are going to go to school, and we have incredible systemic inequality when it comes to income in our state. And so we have a system where if you are poor, you live in a certain neighborhood and you are mandated to go to that neighborhood school. That is why our schools are segregated. School segregation does go all the way back to Brown versus Board of Education when, um, leaders in the state at the time participated in what was known as the period of great resistance. And it wasn't until President Eisenhower stepped in and sent the National Guard to Arkansas toe Little Rock that states in the South that were participating in this continued segregation were forced to integrate schools. We'll move on to another kind of contentious question for about a quarter century, as people who follow education know too well the schools. But the state's been engaged in a school funding lawsuit known as Leandro on Leandra, too, and the android said mhm. At issue in this case is the state's constitutional obligation to provide a sound basic education to every child report recommendation by independent consultants West dead. We've heard a lot about made recommendations about how the state should increase investments in schools to try to meet that constitutional obligation. What recommendations in that report do you think are the most critical and are their recommendations that you disagree with Mr it. Thank you. Um, So I think the key part of in your question, Laura, was the fact that this lawsuit is over 25 years old. It goes back to 1997. And so I think I touched on this in my opening remarks that, um our challenges that necessitated this lawsuit are not new to our state. These are challenges and criticisms that go back across multiple administrations from both parties. Um, the recommendations in Leandro are actually very sound. I think that one thing that is critical is that we need to fix our funding system. We have a funding system that while um compared to other states is actually very equitable in terms of the amount of money that the state appropriate to our public schools. But what's not equitable is the way our county level funding those two schools, because that funding is based on that county's tax base, and it ranges from anywhere from 400 $50 per student to $6500 per student. And that's something that Leandro recommends that we fix. And I agree. I do think it's important to note that if we're going to talk about funding and Leandro, we have to have an honest conversation about where we are with funding and funding has increased over the last five years over $2 billion to our public schools. I also will point out that we currently have a funding model that gives more money to low income schools and two Children with disabilities who are English language learners and who our low income. In fact, the General Assembly appropriate 33% more money for low income schools than schools that are not low income. And it just turns out that the Leandro recommendation is about 40%. So we are actually getting closer. North Carolina ranks number one in the Southeast and number three in the country for increase in funding this past year. Mr Macron, Thank you. So we actually had the lowest school spending effort in the country. When you consider the size of our economy. The courts have said that we should be paying 40% mawr for our students in public education just to get them a sound basic education. So this is why I would not want this'll, my opponent leading public school. The courts have said they have to pay it. And yet you said it sounds. But Phil Berger refuses to pay what the court is saying we need. How can we sit back and make up these numbers about how things were funded when teachers don't have paper when classrooms are have poor ventilation, when we don't have teachers making the national average? Yeah, we paid Mawr each year, and you know why? Because enrollment increases and because cost increase, but not because we're keeping up with the needs that our schools have and our Children have. I want our Children to be in schools where they feel like this is a place I want to learn. I have the materials I need. I'm engaged my teachers happy to be here. She's not leaving the state because she's not making a decent income. This is. Everyone knows this. Everyone knows we're underfunded. So I don't understand why Phil Berger and that leadership with Mark Johnson on my opponent want to not pay up and do what's right for our kids. Our next question. Well, actually, let me do a follow up. Are there any recommendations in that report that you disagree with? Just so there are none that I disagree with. But there's one that I think is left out, and that is that we need Thio Pay very close attention, Thio Early literacy in our state and that we need Thio take up the launch some sort of initiative that is, a statewide campaign around early literacy that is grounded in the science of reading that leverages read to achieve legislation that we already have, um, in order. Thio put literacy coaches in our schools and make sure that our teachers are using research back methods of early literacy instruction on Lee. 55% of third graders in North Carolina right now meet the Are are reading proficiently and prepared to go on to fourth grade, where you stop learning to read and start reading toe learn Mangrum. You know, one of the things that that I would like to see happen is the Leandro talked about expanding pre K. We have thousands of Children on a waiting list and not getting pre K and pre K helps them with their funny Mick awareness with their phonics instruction. But what I'd like to see is for us to start with, babies are we know that the 1st 1000 days of a child's life are the most critical in their brain development. And if we're a child, a very small child in a living in poverty, in a zip code that we know right now, predict your outcomes, we need to be with those families and supporting them. Um, I am so proud of Durham's book babies that Ginger Young has started. Um, at six months the child gets 10 books and a literacy person in the home, helping the family with nursery rhymes and songs. And how do we use these 10 books? And they go every six months. And so when the child goes to kindergarten, they have 100 books and their parents feel supported and ready to help that child. They had a longitudinal study. Those Children are doing far better than the people, the Children who didn't have that kind of help. So what I'm asking North Carolina is to think bigger and let's start thinking about our most vulnerable youngest Children and set them on the path. Um, even before pre k. All right, Our next question has to do with teacher recruitment and retention. North Carolina's had some struggles with this over the past few years. What strategies will you advocate for to improve teacher recruitment and retention? Well, let's start with that, Mrs Bagram. I think it's your thank you. So as you know, I am associate professor at U N. C. G. When I first started in 2000 eight, Dr Mangrum had over 200 students in her introductory class. Last semester I had 51. There's a Pew poll that the narrative is. Parents don't want their Children to be teachers. So why is that? Well, when you look at North Carolina is because they're not making the same income that they would if they went to a different profession. With that degree, they only make 75% of what they would make in the field. We also know we we meaning Phil Berger and Mark Johnson and our leadership have taken away their masters pay, have taken away their healthcare starting this year after retirement. Um, you know, our teachers were paying for materials with their own with their own money. Their longevity is gone. We could go on and on and on. That is not a career people want to put their child in. So in order to recruit, we have toe have better pay. We have to give teachers autonomy. We have to show them that we value them. Uh, that we respect them because it is the most rewarding professions. You know, I've been in this 33 years, and I still have former third graders who tell me that I changed their life. I wanna be out there galvanizing people, letting them know that North Carolina is where you wanna be. And starting today we're gonna change the direction so that we have the best and brightest in North Carolina. Let's expand teaching, fellows. Let's go into HBC use. Uh, let's go. Let's have high school cadet programs. Let's tell people that teaching is really what they should do and want to do because our Children deserve it. Mr. Pruitt? True. Try. Yes, that's okay. Um, so the number one reason that teachers leave the profession is working conditions. And when we drill down into that, um, that reason that is that is often cited is because of leadership in the school. The number one thing we could do to retain teachers is to ensure that there is a strong principle in the building and that that teacher feels supported. And one of the ways that we can make sure aside from having an excellent principle in the building that that teacher is supported is to fully fund our schools, support personnel positions. So when we don't have enough school nurses and we don't have enough school psychologists, social workers, school resource officers, teachers end up shouldering all of that responsibility, they're giving insulin shots. They're making sure that Children have a place to sleep at night. This is too much for a teacher to bear as well as do what they really want to be doing, which is teaching their kids. Right now, we teachers are not going to get a 4.5% pay increase because the governor vetoed the budget where that pay increase was given. Teachers have been given a pay increase every year by this General Assembly for the last five years. So again, if we're going to talk about where we need to go with teacher pay, we need to tell all the fax. So every year for five years they've gotten a pay raise, Um, which, by the way, we have been digging out of a hole because during the recession our budget was gutted because we had no money in the rainy day fund. So we've been digging out of a hole since that time. And now well, teachers have gotten pay raises every single year for five years. Until now. I want North Carolina to be number one in the Southeast for teacher pay. Um, to follow up on that, a particular area of concern has been the recruitment and retention of teachers of color. Um, that's a huge disparity, as we know in the classroom on Do what? Classrooms all over the state, every kind of classroom. What strategies would you promote to try Thio solve that problem? Yes, sure, when one of the things that we absolutely need to dio is partner with our HBC use to ensure that we are producing high quality graduates who are passing the Praxis at the same rate as, um, graduates from other institutions. We need to involve teachers of color in the hiring process, and we also need to ensure that we are giving alternative opportunities for a particular women of color who want to return to school later in life because these are the women thes air the folks who fall prey thio for profit online universities because they need to have a flexible calendar Ah, flexible schedule while they are in school. One thing that I've been working on for the last two years is a scholarship for T A s for teacher assistance. Who can then, um, attend an asynchronous online university that allows them to continue toe work while as a t a while they are, um, studying to be a teacher. We also need to consider loan forgiveness and other incentives to attract teachers of color both men and women to the profession. But it's absolutely something that we must dio, because students need to see themselves in their education journey. And right now 80% of the teaching workforce is white. While, um, while more than half of students now are students of color, his Mangrum Yeah, I think it's a contradiction to say in one breath that we're spending more money than we ever have before. And in the next breath, we need nurses and social workers in school psychologists. We do. That means we're not funding our schools. Governor Cooper has been the most supportive governor of public education, and if he's vetoed a budget, is because it's not good enough. He is fighting for us every day. He also knows that we need to have teachers of color. And so he recently had the summit, um, that I attended, where he was talking about. How do we recruit teachers of color? Um, you know, one way again is the high school cadet program. We need to be in high schools, letting kids no, what the opportunities are in education. I think we also need to be in HBC use, um, recruiting, letting them know, you know, that teaching is a profession where they can move up. Now. I don't know that there's a lot of leadership opportunities. I want to make that happen. One thing I've considered is talking to schools of Ed, about teachers of color who who commit to North Carolina. Let's help them with their masters, whether it be a partial scholarship for full scholarship, because they need to know that there's room to grow, you know, 16 years in the teaching and you only make $50,000. We need them to know that there are other opportunities and education beyond the classroom. That's what young people want to know. What can I do and where can I go? Uh, you know, we also need toe ask black males and black females and brown and females and males. What is it that would attract you? And how do we do that? Because, you know, you have to ask the people that we're talking about. I plan on having an advisory board. I have a lot of people around me right now giving me great ideas. But let's talk about it. How do we do? This is not just saying we wanted. We want it to happen. We've got to take action. And when you want to take action, then you go to the people that you wanna you wanna bring in and ask them how we do it. And that's what I thank you. One more slightly related question to that. There has been a lot of talk about, um, for example, paying teachers mawr if they're in an area that is, ah, hard area to hire for or there's also been discussion about paying for performance. We've seen some of that in terms of teacher bonuses and school grading. Um, what are your positions on those issues? And I'll let Mr Magnum star. So on day 40 last year, we had 1600 somewhere between 1416 100 vacancies. Um, 600 of them were in elementary education. Ah, large number of them were in special education. Ah, yeah. We need science and math teachers at high school. But you know what? We need teachers at every area, so we can't just focus and give money if you come to this one because it's a huge problem across the board we need to give. We need to be paying teachers at the national average. We have teachers going to Virginia going to South Carolina. Um, you know Tennessee leaving because they can't make enough money in North Carolina. That's a shame, I say, Shame on us. Um, I also think that when you give bonuses, you don't realize that it takes entire community thio to bring a child through school. We've talked a lot about teacher salaries, but what about our bus drivers? They should be making $15 an hour. What about our custodians in our cafeteria workers and our teacher assistance that we've flashed. Um, we need to be paying everyone inappropriate salary so that teaching is a profession that brings people in. I don't think that paying someone mawr because their science teacher is the way to do it. I think let's go across the board because it takes the whole community to raise the Children. Mr It. So we actually tried about 15 years ago as a state to pay teachers more money to go to schools that were considered, um, heart, uh, that have considerable vacancies. Um, and it didn't work and it didn't work because those schools did not have good leaders. They were given significant. I believe it was about $15,000 above their base salary. Andi and it didn't work. Um, again, it goes back to We have toe have good leaders in all of our buildings. And so we do need t to increase the principal prep program and increase principal pay as well. Um, we do have legislation called advanced teaching roles where teachers can get paid mawr. It's an opt in program. They can get more, they can get paid more for for having additional leadership. And I think that is critical Thio attracting uh, young people to the profession. Um, you know, the the rest of business and industry pays market rates for people if they need. If they if they're not enough cybersecurity professionals like we have now, they get paid more money. Um, this is something that, by and large of when, when teachers are asked not something that they necessarily want to dio, but because of the way we fund teachers and on and pay for positions with an allotted number based on average daily membership of kids. We have serious inequities in the amount of money that schools get because of the way we pay our teachers. And so I would advocate for giving principles dollar allotments so that they can have complete flexibility with how much they pay and according to who they need to hire eso. About five years ago, North Carolina implemented a school grading system a through F. Um, that accountability it's accountability model that has raised concerns of some would say that it unfairly punishes schools that serve economically disadvantaged student populations. How do you respond to that concern and what do you think that needs to be done to improve accountability for schools while treating them, Treating them all fairly well. Say stress. So our school accountability system is horribly broken. It is something that does not treat schools fairly on git is not student centered. It's about, um, compliance. And it's about teacher compliance and principal compliance. It has nothing to dio with truly evaluating what a student knows and can dio. Um, my recommendation for our school accountability system is first of all, Thio redesign it so that, um, the growth and the achievement pieces are standalone measurements so that we are not more heavily waiting achievement overgrowth. Because what I care most about is whether or not a teacher is able to grow a group of kids, not whether he or she can catch them up for the three years behind that they are. When she came when when the Children came to that teacher. So the school accountability system is broken. It needs to be redesigned. This is part of the Leandro recommendation. And, um, I would love to see us redesign our assessment system as well so that we are asking kids to demonstrate mastery rather than take a bubble in test and show proficiency I think a mastery based or competency based model of assessment is the future, and I think that this is something that we definitely need to get ahead of. We have schools that are doing this already across our state, and this is an example of putting students back at the center of their education journey. Miss Magara. Yes. So, uh, one thing I started teaching in 1987 and in 1987 we didn't have high stakes testing, which is big money testing. We didn't have this term accountability, which means let's point fingers at teachers or parents or school educators. Um, teacher educators. Accountability has become a big money way. The stigmatize our Children. And it's stigmatizing those that as a team, Laura Leslie said, are from low income home. Um, when you look at the numbers, if you're F School A D school, you're also school high in poverty. Teachers don't need us to tell them that with high stakes testing, they know where their Children are and they know how to assess them. We need to be doing things like formative assessment. They give teachers diagnostic information and data to help Children not to punish them. If you're a third grader and you score proficient on this high stakes reading test, you take home a letter that says your child's not on trajectory to be college or career ready. I'm a researcher, and I can tell you that that does not motivate any child toe. Learn to read. It doesn't make any home. You know, a welcome place that wants to just, you know, do what's best for their Children. They feel defeated and deflated. We need to change this system so it doesn't have to be this way. It wasn't before, and it doesn't now we can use Nate. Are random tests to give us information to compare us to other states. Uh, there are so many other ways to do it. School shouldn't be about big tech, big money. Um, cutting budgets. It should be about the well being of our Children, both their mental social well being as well as their academic growth. All right, um, actually, let me go back to that question. Hold on a question about that that I kind of skipped over. Um, it's right here. Okay. So social emotional learning and developing developing teaching practices that recognize that many Children are coping with trauma is an emerging practice that a lot of educators have been embracing. What are some of the trauma and foreign practices that you, as a leader would want us toe have in all of our schools? That's my Graham. Thank you. So I mentioned the beginning that I went to school 30 minutes after my mom, my mom died. Um, it really pushed my father of the edge, probably PTSD, and I didn't have a support system other than my teacher. We know that Children that experience adverse childhood experiences need a support system within the school to help them. We have one school psychologists for every 2100 student. We have nurses in the school once every four or five days. We don't have social workers on a regular basis. If we truly want to help our Children socially and emotionally, Uh, particularly those like Jen when she was 14 that need support. Then we need to bring people in. We need teacher assistants again. We have teachers that have Children that have experienced traumatic, traumatic things, and they're five and six, and the teachers in the room alone with them and 18 other kids. This is not a way to keep our Children mentally healthy and happy. Schools should have clinics. Schools should have. Resource is, um, there should be programs to help families. Um, you know, NC State has shared with me a movie called Resiliency, and they shared it with my students on. There are lots of things we could do to help our Children, but it's not free. It's gonna cost putting people in the building and putting our Children first. Um, instead of high stakes test or whatever happens to be the next thing, let's think about our Children's well being. That's true. So when I think about the trauma that students are dealing with, there's a couple of things that come to mind. First of all, of course, is the trauma that teachers are seeing and will continue to see a students return to the classroom. Um, the Department of Health, as as well as other medical organizations, have already noted that the number of claims of both mental health and physical abuse and substance abuse are skyrocketing because of Kobe 19 and the stay at home orders. The other type of trauma that I think about is, um the systemic racism that we have in our schools right now, nearly 43 the Children of color are nearly four times more likely to be suspended for the same offensive as their white counterparts. Um, and this kind of trauma never goes away and actually has such a deep impact on the trajectory of a child. We need thio for all schools because some do already. But all schools should be implementing what's known as a multi tiered system of support which can help kids recover from trauma and stay, um, committed thio their, um, their their schoolwork and not lose sight of while they're in school, as well as what's called p. B. I s positive, positive behavior, intervention, uh, services. And this has to do with the way um, kids are treated when they get in trouble. I visited a school in Edgecombe County several months ago that has a peer network for when students high school students are in trouble. Um, which is an alternative to being suspended. And you know what? It's working. Um, wg you, North Carolina and some of our another nonprofit partner have launched what's called W W Academy. I'm running a pilot in two of our low income rural counties right now that provide wrap around support services that Aziz well as, um um, academic interventions also a coaching and wrap around services model of intervention that helps students be resilient helps them, um, with help seeking behaviors and helps them, um, really understand who they are and how they can cope with trump governance. In North Carolina, education has always been a fraught issue, right? You've got the state Board of Education, You've got the state superintendent, You've got the General Assembly and the Governor, and and it's always been a push and pull as long as I've been covering this place since 2004. And I'm sure before that. So, um, how would you cultivate relationships with all those different parties to try Thio Get them to pull together in the best interest of Children's needs, as opposed of having the power struggles that we all too often see Mr Religious Story. So of the two of us, I'm the only one who actually has direct experience working with the governor's office and the State Board of Education and local superintendents, Um, and the U. N C system and the Community College System office. That is what I did when I served as Governor McCrory's senior education adviser. And that is what I did when I worked for President Spellings of the U. N C System office. Um, this is believe it or not. When you're in the room with all these people, everyone wants to do what's right for kids. It's just how we get there that might be different. And I have complete confidence in people I know working in education today, that we do all want the same things and that we will work together to build consists to build consensus, especially in light of the Leandro report on the West Side recommendations. We've got this great playbook from which to work, and now it's a matter of, um, getting legislators in the room. Um, they were not consulted with this first round of recommendations from the judge and a Z. We all know the judge cannot mandate from the bench. This has to be something that the state Board of Education and the legislators, um, work to come to agreement on. And so I have a reputation for reaching across the aisle. I've been doing that during my time at WG you, North Carolina, and we'll continue to do that if elected. Go ahead. That's right. So I think because you're appointed the governor's adviser and you're appointed atyou, NC doesn't mean you necessarily work across the aisle. It means you're working with your side of the aisle. I worked with across the aisle with my family, with my students, with fellow colleagues. I worked with the state board. I attend their meetings. Um, but you know what some things are worth fighting for. North Carolina right now is an embarrassment. Were all embarrassed because 10 years ago, a little over 10 years ago, we were the state that people talked about. We were ahead of the game. People wanted to be in North Carolina because we had education going on. And now we have a superintendent who throws tantrums and can't get along with people. Um, and then we have our Senator President Pro TEM, who is demanding and won't budge. It doesn't want to give teachers what they deserve, won't expand Medicaid. So our young Children in school can't have ice screening and vision screening and hearing screening. There's so many things going on that we need to change. Yeah, I'm gonna work across the aisle. I'm gonna say, Look, these things are important. Let's talk about them. Let me talk to you about why this is important. But I am certainly not going to just bend over and let them keep ruining public education in North Carolina. I'm a native North Carolinian. I'm the daughter to teachers. I'm a teacher of myself, and some things are worth fighting for in North Carolina. I'm going to lead you to be top of the country. We're going to be the state of education. So we're coming up on time where it's gonna be for closing statements. But I wanna ask one more question first, because this is always such a hot topic. Um, local bills. Okay, So, as you know, at least a decade ago, let it more than that. Ah, Legislature passed a law basically limiting school calendar flexibility, setting a heart in the heart out date for schools. Since then. Every year, local bills were filed by the slough, right, with local district asking for additional calendar flexibility because of everything from hurricanes to blizzards to floods. You name it right. What is your position on school? Calendar flexibility. And what would you do if you need to to convince legislators or the Board of Education to back your position on this? A zoo. So if charter schools were not a backlash to Brown versus the Board of Education, then they were sold is that they were innovation. They were places where new things we're gonna happen. And one of those things was calendar flexibility. And if they were places of innovation, we were supposed to learn from them and bring those things to traditional public school. So you would have thought we would bring calendar flexibility to our public school system, which we haven't done. Ah, Superintendent in Iredell County said, You know, I can't compete with the charter school down the road because I don't have the same regulations and deregulations, and one that he would love is the ability to control the calendar. I don't think it's that hard to figure out right. We need to use common sense. Let's let the district's decide on their calendars on do what's best for their students, given the type of, uh, situations they deal with climate, whether it's snow or hurricanes, Um, but we need to trust them. Toe have that kind of flexibility. If we can give it to a charter school, we can certainly give it to our traditional public schools. Mr. No argument from me here. Our public schools absolutely need calendar flexibility. Um, especially because we have early college high schools that are co located within a high school, and they are on the community college calendar rather than the calendar of the district. And they are ships in the night, if for no other reason. We need to have calendar flexibility to, because that's what's best for those students. But absolutely, we must trust our, um, local superintendents to make the decision about what's best for their community and their calendar. There's no reason that the calendar school calendar has to be the same for every single district. All right, I think we have come to time for our closing statements. Um, we'll go in the same order that we went in for the opening statements and Mr Thank You so I just want to spend my time talking about the consequences of a lot of the things that we've talked about here today. We were not at the top of our game 10 years ago. In fact, we have been failing generation after generation of students for over 30 years and the data that we have proved it. We're at a crossroads in education right now in North Carolina, and this cove in 19 has accelerated the timeline that we need to answer about what we're going to dio at these crossroads because of co vid. And because of the Leandro lawsuit, we have a golden opportunity toe once and for all. Do things differently toe affect real change and to redesign a system that puts students at the center of every reform decision we make and every piece of legislation that we pass. There is so much talent out in North Carolina, I'm not embarrassed at all by what's going on in our state. We have pockets of excellence and innovation everywhere. But you know what? We haven't managed to scale it yet, and that is what we need to dio. We have got to have leadership in place that knows how to scale what's working really well in our state. Bring those people together who are being innovative and who are championing great ideas. I'm the candidate at the right time toe lead this effort. There's one thing that I will leave you with. There's an old saying that good policy is good politics. But what I submit to you is that good policy, good education policy must transcend politics. And that is exactly what I pledge to do as your new superintendent of public instruction. Thank you, Miss Background eso Thank everyone again for hosting this and thank you, Lord Leslie, for moderating it. Let me get this clear. I am not embarrassed by our schools. I'm embarrassed by our current leadership. Phil Berger, Mark Johnson, Betsy the boss. And I'm afraid that my opponent would fit in that category. She's already mentioned that we spend all this money. The teachers have had raises for five years. Everyone knows. Everyone knows we're underfunded. Everyone knows our teachers aren't paid what they're due. Everyone knows they're not treated with the respect they deserve. When we teach, when we treat our teachers properly, then our kids are gonna have wonderful experiences. I'm a public school parent. We want our Children to have the best teachers. We want to support that. So we all know that, um, I'm asking for your vote because I'm a master educator. I have spent 33 years in public education. I have been in the classroom since day one. I'm gonna fight for teachers to get to the national average with their salaries. I'm gonna fight for good wages for our support personnel. I'm gonna fight for Resource is so our students have the materials they need to be engaged. I'm gonna have an office of equity at the state level because we cannot continue tohave schools that air segregated schools that are unequal. Our rural district still left out our LGBT community feel bullied. You know, we need people who gonna protect our Children and our educators. And that's may. I'm a champion for schools. I'm a champion for public schools. Um, let me just say this as a teacher. Elementary teacher, third grade, when someone would mess up. If I didn't mind saying that's not acceptable. I'm telling our leadership right now, Bill Burger, Betsy, the boss and Mark Johnson that they are not acceptable. What they're doing is hurting our schools. I want to turn schools around. I'm excited about it. I might sound like I'm kind of frustrated. I am, But I am ready. Todo I want your vote. I'm Dr Jen Mangrum. I'm a professor at u N c g. I'm ready to get going on January 1, and I hope I can count on your vote. Well, that concludes our debate this evening. Our panel. Thank you very much, Miss Truitt. And Miss Mammogram. For being with us tonight and sharing your thoughts on thank you to public schools. First NC for sponsoring this event tonight on. Thank you. It's to all the folks who are tuning into this and watching it online. Please feel free to share this. If you found this to be educational and we will see you soon. Mhm. Way out. Clear. Clear. Okay. Uh huh. That's because that's because that's because I used to work in it because I used to work in