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Atlanta Board of Education Member, District 7 At Large

The School Board is the elected governing body of a school district. The School Board provides funds for the operation and maintenance of the system, adopts courses of study, prescribes standards for operation and improvement of the schools, provides for planning, expansion and improvements of facilities, employs personnel, approves the budget, financial reports and major expenditures, and appoints and evaluates the school superintendent
  • Patricia "Granny P" Crayton

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    Kandis Wood Jackson Attorney

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Biographical Information

What experience do you bring to the job and what is your motivation to serve as a school board member?

If elected, what would be your two top policy priorities and how would you work to achieve results?

What are the most significant challenges to quality public education in your school district? List two and explain how you will pursue them.

Which educational reform idea do you believe has the most promise for your school system?

What efforts do you support to raise the student achievement in each of the schools in the local school district and increase graduation rates?

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Campaign Phone (404) 556-7474
My experience includes: teaching Sixth Grade Social Studies in a Title I school in West Atlanta from 2008-2010. My experience as a teacher in an almost all-Black school where most of my students received free or reduced lunch formed by believe that various social, political, and economic factors can often undermine the community-wide goal of providing quality public education to every student. I am running for the Board to address these challenges. My experience also includes my legal studies at Harvard Law School and my current litigation experience as an attorney at Alston & Bird LLP.

I am motivated to serve as a school board member because education is the most powerful tool we can provide our children to ensure their future success and, for that reason, all children deserve excellent public schools. As a former teacher and a current corporate attorney, I have the right legal training, business acumen, classroom experience, and passion for education to help make the promise of excellence for every child a reality in APS.
I will prioritize five Ls: Leadership, Literacy, Learning, Life, and Love. For purposes of this response, I will focus on the first two: Leadership and Literacy.

As to Leadership, I will prioritize working within the budget to recruit and retain effective, entrepreneurial, excellence-driven leaders -- from the top down. This includes principals and school leaders, administrators, staff, and the superintendent. I will work to make sure that every classroom has a quality teacher in it, and that every school has an effective leader managing it. This is imperative to student success.

As to Literacy, I will invest in strategies that are proven to increase literacy rates, both in reading and math. According to a recent study, only 40% of third graders in Metro Atlanta were proficient in reading in the 2014-2015 school-year. Research shows that, if children are behind in reading in the third grade, they generally stay behind for the rest of their schooling. Moreover, only 38% of eighth graders are meeting state math standards. This is unacceptable. On the Board, I will work within our budget and with the Superintendent to implement strategies known to improve these numbers.
(1) Equity across the district. Although all students in this city deserve high-quality public education, there are wide disparities in the school system that, unfortunately, tend to trend along racial, geographic, and socioeconomic lines. There are zip codes within APS with incredibly low “child scores,” according to recent data from the United Way of Greater Atlanta. This is unacceptable to me. We cannot teach in a vacuum; it is much more difficult for a child who is hungry, hurting, or homeless to learn.

To bring equity to these neighborhoods, I will invest in the 5 L's outlined above. More specifically, and as to the "Learning" prong, I will focus on minimizing external impediments to a child's ability to learn. I know that experiences occurring outside the classroom can have a big impact on a child’s ability to learn inside the classroom. I will work with other Board Members to build community partnerships and offer wraparound services to students and their parents. These will include nutritional, mental health, family support, and other key services.

(2) Earning the respect and trust of our communities. All parents deserve to be able to send their child to their local public school and feel confident that, in doing so, their child will receive a high-quality education. Parents and the broader Atlanta community should be able to sincerely believe that the City prioritizes our children's education in the same way they do. I will bring this spirit to the Board.
I support any initiative that is kids-focused, excellence-driven, and results-oriented. The reality is that the next Board will need to continue the purpose of the Turnaround Plan -- that is, to provide additional critical support to our lowest performing schools. There is still much work to do in this regard, and we must operate with a sense of urgency and purpose because our kids can't wait. At the same time, the Board will need to address the many valid concerns raised with this plan (such as its potential violation of teachers' due process rights, e.g.) while simultaneously earning the respect and trust of the communities that the plan impacts the most.
Among other things, I will support the goals of the five Ls outlined above. In addition to Leadership, Literacy, and Learning (which I've already touched on), this will include:

- Life: preparing students from cradle to college and career. This includes focusing on early learning and college readiness, based on recent research showing that both early education and college readiness are critical to life-long success.

- Love: approaching students, teachers, and schools with love. We need to focus on social emotional learning, restorative justice, and alternative discipline in our schools. We also need to consider how immigration enforcement, the political and cultural climate, criminal injustices, human rights violations, racism, sexism, trauma, mental health, the school-to-prison pipeline, and other issues affect our students' learning process. logo


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