A forum was held last Monday for the Chapel Hill and Carrboro School Board of Education candidates to answer questions about their positions on issues regarding Chapel Hill and Carrboro schools.

WCHL’s Aaron Keck moderated the forum.

The candidates present at the forum were James Barrett, Joal Hall Broun, Calvin Deutschbein, Amy Fowler, Kim Talikoff and Mary Ann Wolf.

Candidate Ryan Brummond was not present due to an emergency.

The forum began with each member giving opening statements followed by a series of long answer questions, short answer questions and questions from the audience.

The forum space was filled over capacity with residents present to listen and ask questions.

Broun and Barrett are currently incumbents on the board and are seeking reelection.

Broun said equity should be the primary goal for schools and Barrett echoed her statements.

“We have to believe that every child can succeed and excel. We can not have any preconceived notions based on socioeconomic background, gender, race, where you live, what neighborhood you come from, whether or not you can succeed,” said Broun.

Barrett said strong leadership is key for improvements in equity among students and praised new superintendent, Pam Baldwin.

Deutschbein, a 24-year old Ph.D. student in computer science at UNC, said he has concerns about how gifted or AP classes affect the overall population.

“You know my favorite thing to talk about is always going to be gifted, honors and AP and what kind of effect that can have on the district, what kind of values that can articulate if you have a predominately white class that is labeled gifted and what that means in the community and what that can do to the atmosphere of respect that we have towards all people instead of just people that were just born in the right place at the right time,” said Deutschbein.

Talikoff discussed addressing special education needs, Fowler expressed interest in closing the achievement gap through improving the quality of preschools, and Wolf said she wants to address racial disparities in the school system.

Other topics of concern include improving teacher support and training, acquiring adequate funding, improving the math curriculums, increasing culturally relevant instruction and exploring student learning differentiation options in classrooms to improve individual success.

The top three candidates in this years’ election on November 7 will receive four-year term seats on the board.

The candidate who comes in fourth place will fill the remaining two year spot left of Annetta Stokes Streater, who resigned from her position in September.

If you want to hear more from the CHCCS candidates, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Association of Educators (CHCAE) is holding a forum on Thursday, October 26, at 7 pm in the Friday Center. WCHL’s Aaron Keck discussed the forum and the key issues with CHCAE vice-president (and East Chapel Hill HS teacher) Brian Link.