Kenneth T. Lange, 30, is an attorney. He received a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and his law degree from Antioch.
1. Achievement: Must start with a competent school board. Present board, with only a few exceptions, has been derelict in asking tough questions that will make system trim and accountable to children. Incumbent in Ward No. 3 a dismal example of board mismanagement. Back-to-basics key but not merely bare bones curriculum. Begin with rigorous teaching in 3Rs, but broader to include citizenship, music, art, history and languages. Goal to produce complete child rooted in respect for teachers, discipline and demanding education. The system has failed when children receive diplomas not representing solid achievement. Mere tickets to limbo. School board must be held accountable.
2. Programs: An incompetent school board is responsible for the recent mayor/city council $20 million cut in education budget. Board totally ineffective at dealing politically, throughout the year, with the mayor, council and Capitol Hill. Board unable to understand the complexities of school issues and unable to effectively present issues to decision makers in city. A probing, comprehensive analysis must be made of productivity in all sectors of school system. Sterling Tucker's study on school facility closings points to Ward 6 as heavy in excess space. Also, much unused space on other wards. Only ward cited by Tucker free from such excess is Ward 3.
3. Priorities: Stop crisis mentality. School board attempts to cover its inept management by responding to major budget cuts by staging marches on City Hall, last minute letter writing and phone calls to council. A totally ineffective way to move education issues in city. Will never receive our rightful share of D.C. budget with 11th hour approaches. Needed is creation in Ward 3 of COED (Coalition Offering Educational Development), grass roots education coalition comprising elderly, singles, childless marrieds, students and parents.Broadly based, COED - highly organized by precincts and talents - will effectively present education issues weekly before mayor, council and Hill.
Gwendoline G. Reiss, 48, is a real estate agent, with two children in public schools in Arizona. She attended college in London and American University.
1. Achievement: Hold each principal responsible for standardized test scores at his her school. The system must be decentralized in a way whereby principals are free to purchased needed textbooks, supplies, equipment, and pick their teaching team - held in place every year-to-year with teacher ability judged by the results of national level tests. Any principal who cannot determine goals, cannot assemble a school council of equal numbers of elected teachers, parents and school officials; and cannot produce a school budget is in the wrong profession; just as are teachers, properly supported by the principal, who cannot teach to standardized grade level.
2. Programs: Costs cut by reducing bureaucracy by decentralizati on, which takes an equitable share of appropriate funds, allocating it to each school where decisions will be made by school council and principal on how to spend it to meet individual school needs (teachers, aides, supplies, etc.) - coordinating only with research and fiscal departments in central system. Must save pre-school programs; adult education (needed so that children can be helped at home); languages, art and music so that we don't lose more students to private schools. The gifted, bilingual and handicapped programs must be expanded to prevent parents resorting to private schools.
3. Priorities: Assisting Superintendent Reed to establish and perpetuate, through structured curriculum, the teaching to grade level, measured by national level standardized tests, for the basics - reading, writing and arithmetic; through learning environments tailored to individual needs of students, in groupings, not rigidly tracked. Stop the too-loose/too-tight pendulum swing in the middle. Accommodate the gifted and the handicapped, to optimum ability level. Get funding, year to year, federal, local and private, through lobbying, armed with justification based on results achieved each previous year, proving fiscal accountability and genuine need.
Carol L. Schwartz, 33, is an incumbent member of the D.C. School Board and has three children in public schools. She received her B.S. from the University of Texas.
1. Achievement: Raising the level of achievement is dependent upon many factors - smaller class sizes; more effective teaching; greater emphasis on the "basics;" an expanded early childhood program; and requiring adequate performance as a condition for promotion. For too long gimmicks and so-called innovative programs replaced the basics in our approach to education here in the District and nationally. Over the last years the board, together with the superintendent, has improved the teacher evaluation process, eliminated social promotions, adopted a new testing policy, mandated graduation requirements and approved a basic curriculum. These measures should result in higher achievement levels.
2. Programs: We have reached the end of budget reductions which do not substantially impair our educational program. Although school enrollment has declined, so has the city's population, which dropped approximately 12 per cent over the last 10 years. Yet, today the public schools represent 17 per cent of the city budget as compared to 27 per cent 10 years ago.If the budget must be reduced further, we should do everything possible not to interfere with classroom teachers. I would reduce all other aspects of our public school program before I would diminish direct classroom services which represent the essence of our educational system.
3. Priorities: I am seeking re-election to the board to make certain that the progress we have over the last several years continues. I would remain committed to sound educational policies, including teacher evaluations, student accountability and a meaningful curriculum which will enable our students to compete and succeed in our society.
I would also continue to work to make education a higher priority in our city than it has been in the recent past. Our other elected officials must be made to realize that educating our children is essential to the solution of all the city's other problems.