Name as it appears on the ballot: Debra Goldman
Full legal name, if different: Debra L. Goldman
Date of birth: 5-17-1963
Home address: 505 Nantucket Dr., Cary, NC 27513
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign Web site: www.electdebragoldman.com
Occupation & employer: Parent, Vounteer, Advocate and Candidate
1) What are the specific needs of your school district that you will fight for if election to the board?
I believe strongly in achieving academic excellence, diversity, and a family friendly school environment. I will fight for the application of innovative and creative thinking when it comes to reaching the above goals. I feel that there are many more ideas and concepts that can be applied help all of our children in Wake County to succeed.
2) What is there in your record as a public official or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be effective on the council? This might include career or community service; but please be specific about its relevance to this office.
I have a very long record of volunteerism with public schools. I have worked at public schools for over 18 years. I am the daughter of a teacher and was raised to believe that a strong education is what builds the foundation for life. I have held many offices on PTAs and Home and School Associations. I have engineered programs to help disadvantaged and at-risk students and their families. I have worked tireless hours teaching children to read and to work on math skills, so that nobody would be left out as their classes moved forward. I work hard for what I believe in, something evidenced in my years of volunteer service as a nationally certified firefighter and an EMT. I have personally been able to work with the school board to affect the changes needed in my node and other local nodes. I have proven that I can work with the board on reassignment issues. I have proven to be an effective leader who listens to people and works to make their experiences more positive. I am a parent, who has raised four children. One who is a WCPSS graduate, and two of whom are currently enrolled in the WCPSS.
3) How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
This is a non-partisan election and the most important issue here is doing what is best for our children. I define myself as a moderate conservative. My political philosophy has made itself evident in my strides for fiscal responsibility. There is tremendous waste in the budget of WCPSS. It must be addressed. I am also a very strong advocate for children and for families of all shapes and sizes. I am concerned for our environment, that it will not be suitable for future generations, if we continue as we are today. I am a fund raiser. I have worked for many years to raise money for children, families, schools, community projects, parks and rec, fire companies, etc. I am a public servant, and I have a heart . And that is what is needed in recognizing what must be done for our children in Wake County.
4) Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
I believe in community based schools. In bringing more and better resources into schools and areas that are not reaching their goals.
5. What's your position on the issue of "neighborhood" schools and abandoning, or changing, current assignment policies that seek to balance student populations in every school ("diversity")?
I applaud the concept of diversity. I also applaud the concept of community based schools. I do think there are changes that need to be made to current assignment policies. It is not fair to children to be on a school bus for hours every day! It is not fair that parents are not able to be involved in their child's school because it is too far away! I believe that there are other innovative ideas that can create a diverse AND family friendly school district.
6. To limit reassignments and busing distances, some local officials have advocated either splitting the Wake school district or else creating sub-districts with fixed boundaries within it. What's your reaction to these ideas?
I have mixed feelings. We already have area superintendents, but most of the public is not aware of this. It would be great to see them utilized to a fuller extent. I do not think that splitting the district is feasible.
7. Wake County's graduation rate hovers around 80 percent, meaning that of the students entering high school, about one in five doesn't finish within five years. That's better than the state average, but it isn't great. Should the district be doing more for at-risk students in the earlier grades and if so, what?
Absolutely. There are some amazing software tools that are available that enable teachers and principals to track children's progress as they go through elementary school. This would make it possible to monitor at risk students more closely and more often and would enable the school they attend to employ programs that will help these children earlier and for longer periods of time. We need to refocus more resources to the at-risk students...We need to funnel more money into the classrooms and spend less on a multimillion dollar PR department and a top heavy administration. We should be comparing our graduation rates to the country, not just the state. We have tremendous resources here in Wake County and need to use them to the fullest possible benefit to our children.
8. Are new programs needed to help dropouts return and finish high school?
That's a fantastic concept.
9. Does Wake County have enough schools and enough classrooms? If not, would you advocate speeding up the pace of new buildings and additions, even if tax hikes were required?
I am not a proponent for tax hikes. We are seeing a lot of empty seats in a lot of schools and overcrowding in others. All of this is evidence that our current reassignment strategy is not working. We are an area of growth, and that needs to be addressed more closely with better planning and some better coordination of effort with our community resources.
10. Year-round schools are one way the county's kept school taxes low. Should more schools be made (or built to be) year-round? Should students be assigned to attend them?
Actually, the year round schools have been very costly and are not filled to capacity. This means that they are actually costing more than traditional schools and will not operate effectively unless all tracks are all full. I believe that there are many families that enjoy the year round concept. There are also a lot of families that year round is not feasible for. Families with more than one child, who are attending different schools, whether elementary, middle or high school. -It is not family friendly to have children in one family on different school tracks. Until we learn to operate year round schools in a fiscally responsible pattern, they are costing the tax payers more money than they are saving!
11. Magnet schools are a key element of current diversity policies, but they're expensive—and outlying areas of the county wonder why they can't have them too. What changes, if any, do you support in the way magnets are used?
I think that the magnet schools offer a tremendous choice to the children of Wake County.
12. Does every new high school need a football stadium? A theater? Are shared facilities an approach you'd support to save taxpayers money?
Yes. I have seen it work with great success. Shared swimming pools, a shared planetarium, too!
13. The Wake Education Partnership's recent report, "Suspending Disbelief," describes a 21st century school system—quite unlike anything that exists in the U.S. today—that would equip students to succeed in a global economy. The report calls for a longer school year and far-reaching improvements in curriculum and assessment, none of which would be free. What, if anything, would you take from this report if elected?
Improvements could be implemented without a tax burden to the public. It takes me back to a movement for community schools that is working all over the country. These schools have shared resources with community centers and public and private sectors. I believe that there are much better, and more accurate assessment tools available for the WCPSS to use. Our students are graduating and competing for jobs globally NOW. We need to address the concerns and work towards a higher level of achievement.
14. What question(s) haven't we asked—and what's your answers?
The list of questions that you haven't asked could be never ending! Thank you for taking the time to read the answers that I have included here.