Nonpartisan

Vote for one:

Bettie G. Benjamin

Bobbi Blok

Shawn X Brackeen

Milton W. Collier

Ruth Goodwin

Audrey C. Hipkins

Aurelia Corbett King

Kirstin Lebert

Valencia Mohammed

Edward D. ("Ed") Sargent

Jay Silberman

Bettie G. Benjamin

4023 13th St. NE

President, D.C. Congress of Parents and Teachers; president, Michigan Park Citizens; member, D.C. Board of Education, 1974-87 (vice president, 1976 and 1981); president, Council of Great City Schools, 1984-85; chairman, Parent Conference, 1987; chairman, Comer School Project Parent Involvement Subcommittee 1990 and Commission on Schools and Community; member, Committee on Public Education and Drug Free School Zones Task Force; former PTA president at Bunker Hill, Taft and McKinley schools; current director, Ionia Whipper Home and Police Boys Clubs; former general counsel, Travelers Aid Society; graduate, Howard Law School; D.C. Bar, 1968; former treasurer, Washington Bar Association; two children graduated D.C. schools.

A: I would seek to achieve unity of purpose for administrators, teachers, parents and the community on behalf of our students. We need to ensure quality education. Therefore, I would emphasize quality class time spent on tasks we deem important. I would encourage development of self-esteem by emphasizing values, curriculum and Afro-American and other ethnicities. I would ensure that our school system addresses the educational needs of all students. I would work to provide full funding and monitor the appropriate use of funds to provide textbooks and equipment, modern and safe buildings, a well-paid teaching staff and a curriculum to prepare students for opportunities now and into the next century. I would develop more early childhood educational opportunities, and before- and after-school programs to address the needs of working parents, latch-key children, teenagers and other members of our community.

Bobbi Blok

4000 Tunlaw Rd. NW

Age: 37

Executive director, Washington Child Development Council, 1978-present; administrative assistant, Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Human Services and Aging, 1974-78; member, Mayor's Educational Task Force; member, steering committee, Board of Education Campaign for Eugene Kinlow; public policy chairman, Mayor's Advisory Committee on Early Childhood Education; board member, Council of Governments' Child Care Network; member, program committee, D.C. Public School 1990 Parent Conference; delegate, 1988 Democratic National Convention for Jesse Jackson; member, D.C. Democratic State Committee 1980-present; member, downtown Kiwanis Club's Sharpe Health School committee and the club's Children's Orthopedic Clinic.

A: I would promote programs highlighting my philosophy that every child's a winner. Promotion of positive self-worth and love of learning is critical at the very beginning. Years as an advocate for quality early childhood education and Head Start programs reinforced my belief that we must focus on the needs of the whole child. Together -- parents, administrators, teachers, students, elected officials, corporate and community leaders -- we can develop comprehensive strategies to address the challenges confronting our schools. The board must establish performance standards by which to measure educational, developmental, physical and emotional progress, and should be held accountable. We must strengthen teacher and administrator skills by enhancing professional development opportunities. The board must focus on increasing parent involvement as well as public sector involvement, by promoting mentor programs, adopt-a-school programs and executive exchanges.

Shawn X Brackeen

4200 East Capitol St. NE

Age: 33

Special education instructor, D.C. public schools; associate minister, Muhammad's Mosque No. 4; co-chairman, Advisory Neighborhood Commission, 8-BO3, 1986; member of the Nation of Islam's "Dopebuster" drug patrols, Mayfair Mansions/Paradise Manor apartment complex; MA, education, special education of emotionally disturbed and learning disabled, American University; BA political science, Knoxville College; noncommissioned officer, U.S. Marine Corps (honorably discharged); received Outstanding Young Men of America award, 1986.

A: As a member of the D.C. school board at-large, I could improve the chances for success of the students by introducing into the system an accountability of my actions and ensuring that the truth is given to those to whom I serve. When a school board member is accountable to the people, he or she informs the people of the true situations, decisions and intent of the board members. This policy gives those who are serviced a clear picture of the current conditions of the administration and board. With this, parents, students and teachers can work with board members, thus bonding the board to decisions that are best for all, and not a powerful, select few. Students would be provided with the most needed services and teachers would begin to see the classroom environments change for the better. From this, the teacher can teach a curriculum that feeds positive growth in the students.

Milton W. Collier

613 Gresham Pl. NW

Age: 43

Senior computer systems analyst for the Army; member, Advisory Neighborhood Commission, 1988-90; D.C. Citizen Advisory Committee, 1988-90; D.C. Energy Review Committee (EES), 1989-91; graduate work in communications and information systems, 1986-88; Education VP Toastmasters, 1983-85; AFGE Union steward, 1982-85; math tutor at Cardozo High in D.C., 1974-76; served in the U.S. Army, 1970-80 (Vietnam veteran service, 1970-71); Bronze Star, 1970; American Legion Award, 1963; computer specialist.

A: I would support or recommend policies that would require more science and math classes in D.C. schools.

Ruth Goodwin

3102 20th St. NE

Age: 66

Citywide consultant and mediator to parents on educational problems and parent-related problems; winner of awards for educational and civic work; educational lobbyist; citywide activist; school volunteer for 13 years; founder of D.C. Coalition for Better Education; member, Woodridge Civic Association; NAACP; Advisory Neighborhood Commission-5A; former television panelist; former teacher; former school nurse; graduate, Barber-Scotia College; attended Johnson C. Smith University; BS in nursing, Medical College of Virginia; postgraduate courses; citywide honoree for community volunteer work, 1973.

A: I could recommend the following: 1) Seek to ascertain the weaknesses in the educational delivery system and why money allocated for the educational process is apparently being used otherwise; 2) hire a certified public accountant for the board, exclusively, for accurate and periodic financial accountability to the board and community; 3) re-establishment of regional superintendents; 4) reassessment and implementation of values courses in curriculum; 5) establish in the D.C. school system centers for special education, thus negating the need for out-of-state accommodations; 6) increase teachers' pay; 7) establish strict discipline coupled with dress code; 8) science and technological courses in all schools; 9) solicit church and community involvement; 10) reevaluation of all school closings in light of high dropout rate and vast drug involvement.

Audrey C. Hipkins

2113 Flagler Pl. NW

Age: 29

Computer scientist/ engineer; product of the D.C. Public School System; BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, computer science and engineering; Sunday school teacher working with the high school youth at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church; member: Bloomingdale Civic Association, NAACP, National Political Congress of Black Women and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

A: As an elected at-large member of the D.C. Board of Education, I would make the primary focus of education in our public schools a curriculum that gives our children the ability to solve problems, be independent thinkers, and graduate with marketable skills. The D.C. public schools should take a common-sense approach to providing a balanced education for our children -- strong college preparatory with vocational education. Whether by choice or economic necessity, students should be equipped to work immediately upon graduation from D.C. public high schools and/or be equipped to gain admission and graduate from college. Due to the tragedy of drug use, children are being born with learning disabilities. The D.C. public schools must be prepared to meet their needs with special education programs that will be able to deal with their short attention spans and any emotional problems they face in their home lives. We must have some of the most creative teachers working with these students to turn them into productive citizens and break the poverty cycle.

Aurelia Corbett King

1359 Perry Pl. NW

Age: 46

Volunteer tutor (reading and math); commissioner, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A-01; at-large member, D.C. Democratic State Committee; former foster parent; outstanding community service awardsfrom Hams Athletic Club, Anacostia High School and Mother Dear's Community Center; former vice president, Potomac Area Council of Camp Fire Inc.; former director, NPC Gales Street Community Center; former teen club adviser for Nativity and St. Teresa's Teen Club; member of Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation; former sponsor and adviser for the Perry Place Black Teen Club; BA, University of the District of Columbia (community education); married; three children.

A: I would seek to add parenting to the curriculum to encourage the proposed peer/partner study program and encourage the participation of teachers and principals as well as parents in formulating the curriculum at all levels; seek to include the community (i.e. churches and businesses) to adopt and/or assist in the schools to provide tutoring and equipment and other assistance, such as chaperoning the students on outings; provide full funding to school programs; and seek out alternative means for purchasing books and other school supplies. I have a threefold plan to implement the purchase of books and supplies in a cost-effective manner without compromising the quality of the curriculum.

Kirstin Lebert

5318 Broad Branch Rd. NW

Age: 46

Teacher, on leave of absence from D.C. public schools; BS, education; MS, elementary school administration; member, American Association for the Advancement of Science; participant in yearly Forum for School Science, 1986-89; chairman, Science Program Self Study for Middle States Accreditation; presented a science curriculum design for the 1988 D.C. Teachers Convention; board member, League of Women Voters, 1985; PTA membership chairman, 1989-90; member, Parents United for the D.C. Public Schools; testified at mayor's public hearing on fiscal year 1991 D.C. public schools funding; married, two children in D.C. public schools.

A: All children must receive a quality education tailored to their individual needs. I would start by having each elementary school outline its plan for achieving accreditation. Curriculum option, beyond the basics, would be given to teachers, principals and parents. Parental involvement and commitment is essential. My goal is to spark excitement and pride in learning via imaginative teaching. Increased teacher pay, scholastic recognition, smaller classes and well-maintained facilities will contribute to this goal. Above all, we need to break away from excessive rote memorization or busywork. Students need to relate academic activity to the real world through more participatory projects and field trips. I bring experience as a successful educator with level-headed leadership, sincerity and a balanced approach to issues. The board should not be a place for politics or single-minded interests. Unity within the board and support for our superintendent is critical for D.C. public school success.

Valencia Mohammed

3558 11th St. NW

Age: 39

Founder and director, Operation Know Thyself; mother, six children in D.C. public schools; columnist, Capital Spotlight newspaper; co-founder, D.C. Chapter of the United Nations Day Celebration; member, PTA-D.C. Coalition for Better Schools; member, Parents Against Drugs and Po-Education; member, Superintendent's Task Force for the African Centered Education Initiative.

A: To improve the chance for success of the D.C. public school students, I would lobby with the other members of the board to eradicate racism, sexism and negative stereotypes of people of color, especially that of African people in the textbooks, curriculum, teaching methods and supplementary materials in the schools; lobby with the other members to set up a committee to oversee the utilization of resources. Promote equity by educating the consumers of the schools about the laws governing the schools. A program for the mentoring of troubled males should be implemented. I would work with my colleagues to provide an environment conducive to learning in all schools. Encourage the attendance of parents, community and religious leaders to school committee meetings, community meetings and hearings. Allow the superintendent to function without interference from the board. Keep politics out of the schools by not selecting the principals and cabinet of the superintendent. Last but not least, I will always remain drug free!

Edward D. ("Ed") Sargent

4711 Sargent Rd. NE

Age: 32

Public information officer, Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the Mayor, D.C.; editor and publisher, City Images Magazine of Greater Washington (publication date: April 1991); freelance writer, published in The Washington Post, Regardie's magazine, the Washington Informer, and Sisters magazine (published by the National Council of Negro Women); education articles cited in landmark studies and books on black student achievement; education/general assignment reporter, The Washington Post 1979-1986; volunteer, Independent Living Center Program for foster children; board member, National Association for Ex-Offenders; board member, Washington Association for Black Journalists, 1986; board member, 1820 Clydesdale Place Cooperative 1990.

A: We who love and deeply care about the children of the District must do whatever is necessary to achieve the level of excellence in our public schools that will ensure that all students graduate and are self-confident, self-disciplined, productive and competitive now and throughout the 21st century. As an at-large board member, I could and would work with my colleagues to improve our students' chances for success by demanding and encouraging competent and accountable leadership by the superintendent, higher levels of performance by teachers and students and greater involvement by parents and volunteers. I would also promote and support: teacher testing/recertification; longer school days; after-school programs; anti-drug education; Committee on Public Education report recommendations; teamwork among teachers; higher test scores; bilingual education; requiring more foreign language study; modifying curriculum for cultural and learning style differences; mainstreaming disabled students; expanding vocational education; and holding more community meetings.

Jay Silberman

4801 Chesapeake St. NW

Age: 42

Lawyer and business manager, Alliance Management Corp.; 11-year record of parent advocacy for better schools, including three-terms as co-president of Parents United for the D.C. Public Schools, 1987-1990, a 137-school citywide advocacy group; active member, D.C. Committee on Public Education, which drafted the plan for D.C. schools, "Our Children, Our Future"; president, PTA; committee chairman, Drug-Free School Zone Task Force; member, Mayor's Advisory Budget Committee; father of three D.C. schoolchildren; former congressional counsel; former writer, Education Daily; graduate, George Washington University and American University Law School.

A: I would bring proven skills, as a successful parent-advocate, for solving real problems with real results. Looking toward professionalizing board and superintendent relations, my first priority would be selecting a strong superintendent with a record as both a capable administrator and an educational innovator. Having coauthored the D.C. Committee on Public Education report, "Our Children, Our Future," I would apply performance standards assuring that our many important recommendations are implemented, including programs for 3-year-olds and before/after-school programs in all elementary schools. I would ensure that schools serve the "whole child," providing a full range of course options and extracurricular activities. "School-based management" -- concentrating resources and decision-making at the local school level -- will be implemented fully. To prepare graduates for work and college, I would create partnerships with local colleges and employers in every high school; implement proven "Service Corps" work/study techniques to recapture dropouts; and place D.C. social services for children and their families directly in schools.