ELEVEN PEOPLE are running in next Tuesday's election for the single seat available on the school board. Is there one clearly preferable candidate them? Yes. His name is Eugene Kinlow.
From campaign materials, candidate forums and voter's guide questionnaires, it is plain that roughly 100 percent of the candidates favor some improved relationship between board members, administrators, teachers, parents and maybe even the children. That, plus a stock salute to something called "accountability" (of what, by what or to what is not clear) tells you absolutely nothing. But after a long teachers strike-and with these negotiations still unsettled-the seat should be filed by someone who might help to heal wounds and pave the way for Superintendent Vincent Reed and the teachers to improve what goes on in the classroom. It is on this score, and judging from an impressive list of supporters from all parts of the city, that Eugene Kinlow stands out as the best prospect.
Mr. Kinlow, a deputy director at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and chairman of the Anacostia Community School Board, was a diligent cochairman of Mayor Barry's Transition Task Force on Public Education. While agreeing with the board's proper desire to regain additional authority over teacher hiring and evaluation. Mr. Kinlow is rightly critical of the board's strategy.He would extend the teachers' contract until 1980, when the law will permit the board to bargain pay as well as those contract changes it seeks. During and beyond this "cooling-off period," Mr. Kinlow would emphasize standardized tests as measure of teacher performance, along with teachers' involvement in curriculum development; and he would tie a part of teachers' pay to their performance, and offer extra pay to superior teachers who volunteered to teach extended days. Also, Mr. Kinlow accurately pinpoints the principals as a critical person in each school, whose performance should be closely monitored.
It is refreshing, too, to hear some concern expressed about the students themselves. Mr. Kinlow believes that they should meet citywide performance standards before they are promoted and graduated. He also stresses the need to prepare students for jobs, pointing out, for example, that students may be taught typing, but not enough spelling, grammar, sentence construction and punctuation.
Betty Ann Kane, who left the school board after several years of distinguished work there and won a seat on the District Council, is among a broad range of citizens who actively support Mr. Kinlow. So are former board prsident Therman Evans and past members James Coates, Julius Hobson Jr. and Virginia Morris. Needless to say, the addition of one good member to a 10-member board won't turn everything around for the better. But Washington's school board needs all the help it can get-and next Tuesday there's chance to start providing it.