Editorial: Don’t look to school board for democracy example

Editorial: Don’t look to school board for democracy example
December 08
04:55 2016

They say one of the best ways to begin a political career is to run for the school board. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education member Mark Johnson appears to have taken that to heart.

Johnson ran for North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction and won in November. Now he will be going to Raleigh to do who knows what. The Chronicle can’t tell you what he will do because he has not responded to requests by one of our reporters to tell us.

Meanwhile, the local school board tramples on democracy in trying to replace him.

At the meeting on Nov. 29, the school board decided not to open the position to the public and take resumes. No, that would take too much time. Democracy takes too much time. (Is it even taught in the schools?)

Instead, a name was thrown out among the board members, and there seemed to be an agreement that that person should be contacted to see whether she wants to be on the school board – again.

That person just left the school board in 2014. What is this about?

According to the school board’s rules, when someone leaves the school board, that person has to be replaced by someone from the same political party. Mark Johnson is a Republican, so a registered Republican has to fill the position. So, why not open it up to such people? Why not open it up so another black Republican can have a chance to be on the school board?

The board says it needs someone who already knows how things work because of the busy year coming up, with all the projects the bond money will produce. If you are not going to open up the position to outside candidates, why not have a list of people to choose from, conduct interviews and make a decision? Why not put John Davenport in the position? He is a black Republican who was on the board before, in fact as a vice chairman. He ran for an at-large seat in 2014 and lost as the other person mentioned at the school board meeting was leaving the school board.

This is the school board that allowed many of the schools in the district to be labeled underachieving in one way or another. This is the school board that allowed an elementary school to be called so bad in teaching students to read that its name was changed to reflect that deficit. The school board did not act until after the state labeled the school a poorly run school.

According to the WS/FCS website, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education is comprised of nine members elected to four-year terms of office. Board members are elected from two districts within the county. Two members are elected from District 1, which is mostly the city of Winston-Salem; four are elected from District 2; and three are at-large seats.

Three of the nine members are African-American. One of those is a Republican who was elected to an at-large seat in 2014.

All seats on the school board expire in 2018. Now is the time for the community to rise up and hold the school board accountable. Now is the time to start grooming candidates to replace the people on the board so that in 2018, they will be ready to run for office and will be able to be elected to the positions.

That’s when democracy will return to the school board.

About Author

Donna Rogers

Donna Rogers

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors