School Board candidate Q&A | Arkansas Blog

School Board candidate Q&A



I mentioned last night that I’d sent a few questions to Anna Swaim, a candidate for Little Rock School Board Zone 2 against incumbent Michael Daugherty. This is the race to watch for School Board in September. Swaim, who is white, promises to be a strong, well-organized candidate. Daugherty, who is black, has been elected repeatedly from a zone that is majority black but which has typically turned out a very small number of voters. Answers here indicate that the Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association, an important player in the 2006 election that changed the balance of power on the School Board, should have reason to be conflicted in this particular race. Practice generally dictates, however, that endorsements go to incumbents that have been supportive of the group's aims in the past. The Q&A:

Q: Do you want to keep Roy Brooks as superintendent?

A:. The decision to buy out Dr. Brooks's contract has been made, and the best thing to do is move ahead.

Q: Did you decide to run of your own accord, or did others seek to encourage you to run? If so, who?

A: Yes. I've always considered entering public service and this seemed like the right time to run for the school board. I have talked to dozens of people over the last few weeks who have all enthusiastically encouraged me to run.

Q: Do you think there should be mediation of the appeal of the declaration of unitary status in the desegregation case?

A: No.

Q:  What do you think of John Walker? Do you trust him? Think he offers worthwhile ideas?

A:  I don't know John Walker personally. If I elected to the school board, I would approach his involvement with an open mind.

Q: Did Lisa Black, director of the Little Rock Public Education Foundation, talk to you about making this race?

A: Yes. Several months ago, a friend at church said I should run for school board. In recent weeks, I have discussed running with many people, including Lisa Black.

Q: What's your opinion on merit pay?

A: The Teacher Advancement Program, sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation at Rockefeller and Stephens elementary schools, provides an excellent framework for administrators and classroom teachers to improve student achievement and enhance professional development. I have not seen other merit pay programs generate comparable results.
Q: What's your opinion on the Classroom Teachers Association?

A: Last week, I participated in the CTA-sponsored community conversation at Mosaic Church and was impressed by the event. Because the CTA represents a large number of Little Rock's teachers, I would listen to and consider their concerns as a school board member.
Q: Do you believe in collective bargaining for school employees?

A: Yes, and it should be handled respectfully and professionally.

Good answers from a PTA leader and mother of two children in LRSD elementary schools.

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