Pebble Lindsay-Lucas—DPS Board of Education, District 1 | Candidate Questionnaires - Durham County | Indy Week

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Pebble Lindsay-Lucas—DPS Board of Education, District 1



1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing the Board of Education? What are your top three priorities in addressing these issues?

The most important issues facing the Board of Education is safety, retention of top-notched teachers, and the academic performance of the schools in district one who made ‘Fs” on their report cards. I would like to increase the presence of more SRO officers in the schools, upgrade our current monitoring systems, and have all students/parents telephone numbers placed into the DPS emergency monitoring system. All parents and students would be notified of any impending emergencies.

2. What in your record as a public officer or other experience demonstrates your ability to be an effective Board of Education member? This might include career community service, be specific about its relevance to this office.

I have experience with working on several boards in the community. I served on the Department of Social Services Advisory Board, YMCA Board of Directors, President of Durham Congregations in Action, President of Swann’s Mill HOA Board, Board Member End Homelessness, PTA President ( Fayetteville Street & Hillside New Tech), Board Member for the North Carolina Council of Churches Project Jubilee, Board Member of the First Chronicles Community Church, Board Member for the Youth Inspirational Leaders at Union Baptist Church, Board Member of Project Jubilee, and received the Governors award in 2000 for my strong commitment of families and businesses throughout the state. Also, I am the director of the First Chronicles 5-star daycare center in Durham. My staff and I equip children ages 1-5 with educational instructional skills to prepare them for kindergarten. Our combined staff has over 35 years of experience teaching, bachelors, and master’s degrees. We are certified by the State of North Carolina Rules and Regulations to provide high quality care to children. Also, I have worked the past two years as a youth minister, where I all youth in the program from homeless children, low income children, middle class children, and privileged children. My experience shows my ability to be an effective leader and identify the appropriate persons/disciplines needed to formulate appropriate outcomes. In addition, it demonstrates my ability and capacity to work with oppositions as well as advocates.

3. If you are challenging an incumbent, what decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with?

The current incumbent is chair of the board of education and the district leader for District 1. He bears the responsibility for making sure all children receive a high-quality education. The Department of Public Instruction reported that the schools in District one is felling. We can do better! We need to improve the schools in District 1 scores on the report card, and Durham county schools rank 95 out of 100 counties on the end of grade test. This means there are only five schools in North Carolina that scored lower. We can do better! Durham Public Schools detention rates have increased among minority students, and there is disparity in black students identified for Advanced and Intellectually Gifted programs. Research states the reading proficiency of black students from elementary to middle grade is 35% compared to 80% for white students. Racial equity is a hindrance to the success of minority students. We can do better! I would encourage the board to call countywide summit to address these issues. Also, I would reach out to parents, educators, faith-based partners, mentoring groups, as well as businesses and community partners to draft a five-year plan to implement short and long-range goals. I have served as a volunteer and a PTA President for Fayetteville Street Elementary School, and Hillside New Tech. These wonderful experiences encouraged me to go back to school and earn a Master of Education in Early Childhood Leadership, Advocacy and Policy from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. I am committed to education and respect education. I have an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education, Bachelors of Social Work & Bachelor of Arts from North Carolina Central University, and earned a Masters Degree from Duke University Divinity School.

4. Research, including a new report from the NC Justice Center, suggests that North Carolina’s schools are becoming more segregated by race and economic status. What do you think is driving this trend, and do you think is an issue DPS needs to address? Please explain your answer.

This is an issue that needs to be addressed in the school system. If segregation results in depleting the quality of education for the remaining students then the BOE has the responsibility to address the issue, if it is just a matter of choice without economic impact on the quality of education rendered, the BOE should remain neutral.

Children spend at least seven hours each day at school. I work from a philosophy that all children have an ability to learn but no child educates himself or herself. As educators we have a responsibility to see that every child has a fair and equitable education regardless of race, economics, or lack of exposure to resources. When children are suspended or expelled from school and are idol all day; then the schools contribute to the criminal justice system. This is not the only factor, but it assists. Also, if children do not learn the basics in reading and math, then they miss the opportunity to work, provide for their families, and become successful parents or contributing citizens in the community. A good education leads to a good and informed citizenship. There are exceptions to this statement, but for most of us in the 21st century, a good education leads to a good life.

5. What effects do you believe the popularity of character schools in having on the school system? Is it exacerbating segregation or draining resources from neighborhood schools, as some critics contend?

6. In the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, what do you think should be done to make schools safer? Do you see preventing such shooting as a “school safety” issue?

Prevention is always better than second guessing in everything from health care to school safety. I believe there may be a need for some cooperation between schools and law enforcement officers. School, administrators, staff, parents, and students may benefit with education by law enforcement who were trained and worked in security and preventive measures to keep all staff and children safe. I believe that it takes a village to protect and serve our children.

7. In a similar vein, do you support the placement of school resource officers in Durham schools? If so, what do you think their role should be? If not, what do you propose as an alternative?

I support the placement of school resource officers in Durham Public Schools. However, it is important to me that all SRO officers understand their role, and boundaries in the Durham Public Schools System. The role of the SRO officer should be to speak with the student or students who has broken the Code of Conduct policies and explain the consequences to the student. Also, I believe another role of the SRO officers is to listen to the students and help them deescalate. If a student fails to listen to the SRO officers the officer should be responsible for writing a report. Finally, I believe that it is important for SRO officers to build relationships with the staff/students, be trained in student culture diversity, and the DPS discipline policies.

8. On the most recent Durham City and County Resident Survey, respondents rated DPS poorly in terms of community engagement quality of education, budget management, transparency, and quality of leadership. Do you think this is a fair assessment? Why or why not? What do you think should be done to improve the system’s image?

The citizens to responded to the questions that were asked of them from the Durham City and County Resident Survey. It is my understanding that this tool used by Durham Public Schools to receive feedback from the residents. Whether it is a fair assessment or not is subjective. A survey will most often render subjective responses because of how they are composed. The issue is that the people engaging the survey says the image is a problem; therefore, there is a problem. If this assessment reflects the current BOE effort it suggests the people are ready for change. Improve the image requires changing the course of actions the people addressed, This means fresh leadership and qualified board members who have a history of positive accomplishment in varied venues that benefit the community,

In order to improve the system’s image, we need to increase our test scores, hire and retain highly qualified teachers, provide great working conditions for teachers, seek for the best leaders to represent our schools, focus on detention rates for minority students, work on disparity among black students in the AIG programs, and provide additional resources to help children with reading deficiencies, and bring the community and the community partners back into the school system.

9. According to the most recent data, DPS’s four-year graduation rate is 81.4 percent, which is significantly lower than other Triangle counties’ graduation rates, as well as the state average. To what do you attribute this? And what steps can DPS take to increase its four-year graduation rate?  

This is a multi-faceted issue with no “Aha!” However, 81.4 suggest deficit engagement, environment, and implementation. The educational process must be reviewed and a in-depth comparison analysis of neighboring systems. Also, it is imperative to know if the other systems formally experience similar trends. We might not have to reinvent the wheel. Let us take the advantage of similar resources.

10. Three-quarters of DPS students are black or Hispanic, yet students of color are trailing their white peers in grade-level proficiency. Why isn’t DPS doing a better job of reaching students of color? What should be done to close this achievement gap?

Perhaps more diversity training is needed for the staff. Teachers are the driving force for their students. I believe that if a student knows his or her teacher believes in them they will succeed. On the other hand, If your attitude is that this child is an underachiever because of race, economics, etc. then we have a problem. If this is a systematic problem we are in serious trouble. However, there are so many factors to consider. The easiest answer it to blame it all on social biases. This will not address the issue, although some form of community education might very well be needed to find a solution. It seems to me that it requires multiple disciplines including educators to address and resolve the issue. The Board of Education SHOULD NOT HESITATE TO INITIALIZE SUCH A Board of Multi-discipline associates. It is an issue that requires a holistic intervention by the community. Closing the gap necessitates encourages the student citizen to seek educational opportunities with vigor. The adult community is responsible for this inspiration, not just the education machinery.

11. What do you think the system could do to keep down suspension rates in Durham County schools?

Diverse cultural educations. It is difficult to engage a problem without understanding the mechanics of the problems. There are reasons for high suspensions rates; the need for suspensions in a community providing a free education does not divest that community from providing the education across the board (Hint: Charter Schools and Alternative School. Diverse cultural educations. It is difficult to engage a problem without understanding the mechanics of the problems. There are reasons for high suspensions rates; the need for suspensions in a community providing a free education does not divest that community from providing the education across the board (Hint: Charter Schools and Alternative School.

Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some points with voters.

It is imperative that the community engage in the whole persons of the students. A multidiscipline approach might seem outside the purview of the Board of Education, but isn’t the whole village responsible for the future?

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