Name as it appears on the ballot: Eddie Eubanks
Date of Birth: 9/15/45
Campaign Web Site: N/A
Occupation & Employer: Retired after 38 years as Social Worker
1) What do you believe are the three most important issues facing the Orange Co. school system? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues? Education Funding not specifically tied to property tax, increasing academic achievement for all students, reducing/eleminating the achievement gap.
To have the Board look at innovative ways to fund education; more investment by big business, contracts with business that requires payback of tax incentives if business relocates, to be applied to education. To insure that schools teach critical thinking skills, rather than test-taking skills. To look at how other systems have addressed and improved this achievement gap and adopt innovative ways to bring about improvement ie increased tutoring outside of regular school hours and days. Not changing the way we operate means the same results.
2) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the board? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
I have served on community boards as a member and as board presidents. I have been a Social Worker for 38 years, interacting with the medical/social/legal and psychological aspects of children, adults and families. I am familiar with the team concept and consensus building. These are qualities necessary for this position.
3) How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
My political philosophy is that the community should set the stage for how leaders and political parties act as representatives. In many instances, some elected officials forget that they represent others and proceed with their own individual agenda. To receive assistance there are often too many political strings tied to this assistance.
4) How many Orange County Board of Education meetings have you attended in the past two years?
5) Academically and intellectually gifted (AIG) and exceptional children present particular educational challenges to the district. How well is the district meeting the needs of these children? How could the district better meet their needs? What are the obstacles to these goals and how can they be surpassed?
The needs of these two groups of students are often at odds in a school system in that they represent two ends of a spectrum, and often compete for education dollars. We need to look at change and develop more innovative programs before throwing money at the situation.
6) What are your thoughts on the Raising Achievement and Closing the Gap report presented to the Board of Education in November? As a board member, how would you address the achievement gap?
Good intentions for improvement, does not go far enough. Part of the long- standing issue is based on development of a fair redistricting process that addresses school districts based on economics, expected population growth in line with racial considerations to prevent over-representation of groups in particular schools.
Alternate programming should also be considered. You cannot close this gap if new methods of remedial education are not instituted, ie Saturday school with teachers and parents.
7) The Orange County Board of Education recently decided to address an imbalance in economic diversity between Central Elementary and Hillsborough Elementary by setting a cap on the number of students from a given attendance zone who can be enrolled in HES. The board also chose to use federal Title One School Improvement money (available to the district because neither CES nor Efland-Cheeks Elementary made Adequate Yearly Progress in math last year) on pre-K programs. Both decisions have proven controversial. Do you agree with the boards actions?
I do not. Again issues are current for failure to address them earlier. Some tough decisions have to be made so that issues are resolved rather than use of the band-aid approach. Pre-K programs are vital and important, but that does not address the issue on a long term basis.
8) Three Cedar Ridge High School students were sent to an in-school suspension classroom after refusing to take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery in February. That school requires all juniors to take the test; Principal Gary Thornburg was quoted as saying, I dont have a lot of patience with people who refuse to do so. Do you think any Orange County students should be required to take the AFVAB? Should the district make a greater effort to protect the privacy of families who do not want their information made available to military recruiters?
I do not believe that a school should have the authority to determine what test a student must take if it is not in a prescribed grade curriculum, and if parents and students are not in agreement with the test. The school should not be a recruiter for the Armed Services.
9) What method would you use to determine how resources should be allocated within the school system? Do you believe that resources are well now? If not, what would you change?
Resources should be allocated based on program needs. Resources may be adequate, but not distributed in the most efficient manner.
10) In 2005, a report identified inequities between the Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school systems. How well do you believe those inequities have been addressed or remedied in the three years since? What more should be done, and how?
These inequities exist in part because Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools assessed themselves to provide more money for education. This system needs to locate sources of funding not solely tied to property taxes, ie business investment so that more of the population can share the cost, impact fees to also control growth, etc.
11) How would you like to see school funding and other county needs met: Property taxes? Impact fees? Other revenue-raising or cost-cutting methods? Do you personally support the land transfer tax as a county funding option?
12) The Independents mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
I am for fair redistricting of school districts to insure that we do not have the HES/CES issues in this district. Consensus building and team involvement are important tools to take into disussions of tough issues.
13) Identify a principled stand you have taken or would be willing to take if elected, even if you suspect might cost you popularity with voters.
I have been in social work for 38 years and have often taken stands to benefit children or families. In many instances these stands are more beneficial to a client than the standard response to circumstances. I think that every student deserves the best education available in this nation and should not be shortchanged due to political issues.