For Durham Public Schools, the INDY Endorses Mike Lee, Matt Sears, and Natalie Beyer | Our Endorsements | Indy Week

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For Durham Public Schools, the INDY Endorses Mike Lee, Matt Sears, and Natalie Beyer

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Ilthough students of color make up about three-quarters of the Durham Public Schools population, these students trail their white peers on standardized tests. They're also suspended disproportionately and left behind at under-resourced schools while white families flee to charters. Addressing these disparities is why the school system last year hired its first director of equity affairs. And it's why we believe the incumbents seeking reelection to the Board of Education should get another term.

In District 1, incumbent Mike Lee thinks critically about the problems facing DPS and how to address them with solutions grounded in his experience as a parent. He's advocating for restorative justice practices as an alternative to suspension, more mental health professionals and school nurses, and an "equity calculator" to ensure a just and effective distribution of resources.

Lee's opponent, Pebble Lindsay-Lucas, wants to see more school resource officers, which we think can cause more harm than good. She also dodged questions on our questionnaire about the rising popularity of charter schools is affecting DPS.

We appreciate the District 3 incumbent Matt Sears's background as an award-winning teacher and his emphasis on working conditions for DPS teachers. His opponent, Katie Jones, is also a former educator. We're backing Sears because of his commitment to equity, willingness to hold DPS leadership to account, support for replacing armed officers inside schools with individuals trained in de-escalation and emergency response, and attention to the critical role redistricting will play in the future of Durham Public Schools.

In District 4, we think both candidates are qualified and hold the values we believe are important for DPS to become a more successful, equitable school district. Challenger Antonio Jones has experience in financial management and as a school treasurer. We like his focus on transparency, reversing declining enrollment, and addressing disparities in suspensions. But we believe incumbent Natalie Beyer has more concrete solutions to these problems.

Beyer has long demonstrated a commitment to Durham Public Schools and an ability to stand on her principles. The Durham Association of Educators is supporting her for her attention to detail, tenacity, and willingness to call on white and middle-class families not to abandon public schools. While both candidates would do an admirable job, we endorse Beyer.

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