Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tammy Covil, candidate for NH County Board of Education, on the issues

Tammy Covil for Board of Education

When running for public office, candidates are often asked to answer questions
regarding their position on issues that relate to the office they seek.  Many times
there are limits placed on the number of words or character strokes that can be used
in response.  Due to the weighty nature of the issues at hand and the context needed
 to adequately express a position, this can present a serious challenge.  Therefore,
 in the interest of full disclosure, I thought you would like to read the full context
of my answers for the Star News Voter Guide.

Please share this information with your family and friends.

Don’t forget - early voting begins October 18th!

Tammy Covil

How do you feel about the salary increase teachers are getting this fall?  
Should it be more?  Should it be permanent? 

Good teachers are the backbone of our school system.  As a parent whose
children attend New Hanover County public schools, I am fortunate to know
some of our best and brightest educators because many of them have taught
my own children. They deserve our respect and to be paid a fair wage
for their service.  Unfortunately, teachers and teaching assistants are usually
the first to experience pay cuts and layoffs.  In my view, the classroom is
the LAST place cuts should be made.  Therefore, I believe that if we combine
and/or eliminate some of the redundant and costly administrative positions at
the state level, we will then be able to pay teachers more competitively and
put resources back into the classroom where they will best serve the needs
of our students.

Two new charter schools could open in Wilmington by fall of 2013. What’s 
your take on charter schools and their public-funding model?

One of the greatest benefits of living in New Hanover County is the
availability of school choice.  If a school fails to meet a child’s academic
needs, parents have access to options.  For this reason, I am a staunch
supporter of all schools of choice: charter schools, neighborhood schools,
year-round schools, and magnet schools.  By definition, a charter school is
a public school in that it is funded with taxpayer dollars.  I am not opposed
to this funding model because I am confident in our public school system’s
ability to compete for enrollment.  As a member of the New Hanover County
Board of Education, I will work to expand school choice options for families
because I firmly believe the resulting competition will raise the quality of
our education system.

Under new federal testing measures, different subgroups of students have 
different testing targets in an effort to close the achievement gap.  How do 
you feel about this?
When referring to the achievement gap, we are specifically addressing the
academic disparity between primarily low-income, minority students and their
white counterparts.  Lowering academic standards based on race and/or
socioeconomic status to give the appearance of increasing achievement
is absurd.  Not only does a policy such as this shortchange the students it’s
purporting to help, it gives those in control of funding an excuse to funnel
more taxpayer money toward these subgroups.  I don’t subscribe to the
“soft bigotry of low expectations” because I believe ALL students are capable
of high achievement, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.  Adjusting
testing targets for students with diagnosed learning disabilities, however,
is appropriate.

What do you think about the state legislature’s new school calendar law, 
which will go into effect for 2013-2014, requiring students to attend a 
minimum of hours or days?

Local education agencies should have the ability to schedule the school
yearbased upon their unique circumstances, including geographical location
and the needs of their respective communities.   Some areas in North
Carolina experience extreme weather conditions that may require more
flexibility when rescheduling missed days: for example, the coastal areas
vulnerable to tropical storms and the mountainous regions that experience
significant snowfall in the winter.  As long as the district is fully completing
the required course curriculum, adherence to arbitrarily set dates should
not be a priority. 

What do you uniquely bring to the board of education?
All four of my children attend New Hanover County Schools. I have spent
countless hours tutoring, reading with students, volunteering in the library,
and assisting teachers in the classroom.  I have also served for many years
in leadership positions on various education-related boards, including PTAs
and School Improvement Teams.  Additionally, my husband and I are small
business owners.  My business experience, coupled with the fact that as a
parent I am a true stakeholder of public education, qualifies me to serve as
a member of the board of education.  Having first-hand knowledge of the
challenges facing teachers and students gives me a unique perspective that
will be invaluable in my service to families of New Hanover County.

Copyright © 2012 Covil for Board of Education, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have expressed an interest in supporting my campaign.
Our mailing address is:
Covil for Board of Education
1108 Sheffield Court
Wilmington, NC 28411