Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Roger Gerber
Date of Birth: June 17, 1948
Campaign Web Site: gerberNCsenate.com
Occupation & Employer: consultant/wife & daughters
Years lived in North Carolina: 31 years
1) What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
Public Education needs to be dramatically improved. The NC High School dropout rate of 30% (over 50% for African-American males) is unacceptable. It is educational malpractice that destroys lives.
- Remove the public charter school cap. That would provide all parents and students with education options. Currently, only parents and students with enough money can afford to leave failing schools.
- Teachers should be offered the option of trading tenure and a longevity based pay scale for a salary increase of $1,000 per classroom student (would be at least a $20,000 per year starting pay increase). Future salary increases would be based on performance. Many NC Public Charter Schools currently operate on budgets that are at least $1,000 per student lower than traditional county run schools, so more money for teachers is available.
- Support a valid school testing program. NC currently uses a student testing scheme that is created, validated, administered scored and interpreted by the Department of Public Instruction. No other state uses our tesst.
2) Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to that list? How do you propose to address them?
Education (see question one).
Trying to use state revenues to provide advantages for preferred groups in any particular district is at the root of our current economic problems. This is really a form of high level vote buying. If I offer someone ten dollars of my after-tax dollars to vote for me, I have broken the law. However, if via legislation, I spend taxpayers' dollars to favor a group of voters over another group of voters, that action is considered smart politics. When the number of government handouts gets so numerous that no one person can track them, the natural instinct is to make sure that one's group is getting some of the handouts. It does not take long for those handing out the golden eggs to think that they could buy more support by killing the goose and getting all the eggs at once.
3) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the issues you've identified? Please be as specific as possible in relating past accomplishments to current goals.
I have been involved with charter schools for the past 13 years. When Charter Schools became a North Carolina option in 1996, I helped form F.R.E.E. (Financial Reform for Excellence in Education), a non-profit group that sought three charters in the first wave of applications and were granted two. In the second year that charters were granted in North Carolina, F.RE.E. applied for an additional three charters and were awarded all three. In 1998, I became an original member of the Charter School Advisory Committee, which recommended the acceptance of applications for new charters and monitored existing charter schools for the State School Board. Also in 1998, I helped form The League of Charter Schools and assumed the position of executive director for that body. Over the years, I have served as a member of the board for several charter schools and taught a class in computer science at one of the schools.
4) How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
A Classical Liberal as defined by Milton Friedman. Public school choice is a Milton Friedman idea, first expressed by Dr. Friedman over 50 years ago.
5) The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. Please point to a specific position in your platform that would, if achieved, help further that goal.
Our current education system assures that many will become dependent on government. Society is not just when 30% of high school students dropout of school.
6) Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
Breaking up the state run education monopoly does not win popularity points with those defending the status quo or those that think that government run programs are more effective that private enterprise. Probably is not a political plus with readers of the Independent, but it is the right thing to do.