Themacforums – Feb 17, 2023 – District 65 Candidates Speak at Virtual Forum About Education Plans. At a virtual discussion organized by Evanston Live TV on Thursday, candidates for the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education discussed their visions for the organization.
Both Mya Wilkins (Kellogg ’06), a current member of the school board, and Sergio Hernandez, the president of the District 65 board, were present. Likewise, Ndona Muboyayi, John Martin, and Omar Salem were board challengers.
Maleika Gardner, the moderator for Evanston Live TV, and locals posed questions to the candidates, who responded.
Our children haven’t received what they ought to for almost 50 years, Muboyayi claimed. “There have been more and more justifications offered, and the difference in academic achievement has gotten worse.”
Numerous candidates have kids that attend schools in District 65. Apart from Muboyayi and Martin, everyone works in education or is a member of the board.
Salem asserted that his background as a teacher makes him well-suited to promote egalitarian education.
“In education, I’ve done it all,” Salem said. “I’ve been in the classroom as a leader, as an assistant, and I’ve worked with students throughout the spectrum.”
Larry Murphy, an Evanston resident, asked the candidates what they thought inclusive education should look like. Candidates largely concentrated on implementing ethnically diversified curricula in their responses.
Equity, according to Wilkins, extends beyond the textbooks used in a classroom.
The first step, according to Wilkins, is to acknowledge and comprehend why things are the way they are as well as any potential disadvantages people may be experiencing.
More Black male instructors need to be hired, according to Martin.
All of the contenders concurred that history textbooks need to cover more Black history than just slavery. According to them, it should also cover current racial relations, Black culture, the contributions African Americans have made to the nation, and Black people’s experiences both inside and outside the borders of the country.
Black history should not be restricted to particular themes, according to Muboyayi.
Black history, in my opinion, needs to be interwoven into everything that is taught in schools from the very beginning, Muboyayi added.
In order to prevent pupils from starting their schooling behind their peers, all candidates stressed the importance of expanding early childhood education alternatives.
The candidates agreed that measures like patting students down and employing metal detectors can make students feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in schools. They also addressed their ideas for preventing gun violence in schools.
Although making up only 25% of the district’s students, 64% of the suspended students in District 65 in the 2021–22 school year were Black.
All candidates agreed that the district’s disproportionate suspension rates for Black kids were the result of administrative prejudices. Applicants concurred that addressing students’ social, emotional, and intellectual well-being is necessary to address the problem.
Hernandez said that the board established a safety division with supervisors who work with the police and fire departments to organize emergency responses. Every building has a concierge and a house pass system that tracks who enters and exits schools.
When kids are suspended, Hernandez said, “We work extremely hard to do in school and make sure that students are continuing to receive educated. We discourage out-of-school suspensions.”
Martin and Wilkins both spoke about how they will ease students’ transitions from District 65 schools to Evanston Township High School, highlighting the significance of improved communication across the institutions.
Wilkins recommended that students who have successfully made the shift serve as role models for others who are doing so.
All of the contenders agreed that teaching children about issues like Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ rights—which Muboyayi claimed helped students develop good self-images—would be beneficial.
Martin declared, “We should definitely keep pushing forward with the inclusivity and equity that we can demonstrate in our community.