Home Education Video: Arlington County Democratic Committee School Board Debate

Video: Arlington County Democratic Committee School Board Debate

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Here’s some video of last night’s School Board debate at the Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) meeting. The candidates are Barbara Kanninen, Nancy Van Doren and Greg Greeley, all of whom I’ve interviewed extensive and all of whom I find highly impressive (including at last night’s debate, where all three did an excellent job). As far as I can determine, no matter which one of these candidates wins next Saturday, Arlington will be in good hands. This is, frankly, the kind of problem we want to have!

With that, check out the video below in which the candidates respond to a question on bullying, and in the comments section for opening and closing statements plus responses to more questions.

  • Children Are “More Than Test Scores,” Says SB Candidate Barbara Kanninen

    Kanninen has strong showing in debate one week before Election Day

    At the Wednesday night candidates’ debate organized by the Arlington County Democratic Committee, School Board candidate Barbara Kanninen spoke extensively about the need to ensure that every child in Arlington’s schools has the opportunity to develop his or her skills, talents, and interests.

    One of Kanninen’s priorities is to reduce the emphasis on standardized testing when it is not needed to improve teaching and learning. “Let’s create more opportunities for students in all grades and across all schools to develop their technical skills, critical thinking skills, creative skills, and job skills,” she said.

    Another key priority for Kanninen is ensuring that students have adult mentors. Students should know, she said, that “there is at least one adult in the building who knows them on a personal level, and who believes in them, exactly as they are.”

    Issues of capacity came up several times at the forum. Kanninen noted that Arlington’s schools simply do not have the space for the anticipated school population. Coping with the influx of students will require communicating actively with Arlington parents, teachers, staff, and citizens.

    “We need leaders who are ready to engage the community in constructive, positive ways, know our community’s history, can tackle the numbers, models, and finances, and, at the end of the day, always put children and classroom learning first,” she said.

    One question to the candidates concerned alternative schedules for students, which could play a role in helping alleviate capacity constraints. Kanninen pointed out that Langston and Arlington Mill already offer alternative programs that provide flexible arrangements for some students. She argued that such options should be extended to other students who might have various reasons for preferring alternative.

    “We need to make these kinds of choices available so that the people who would be served can use them,” she said.

    Based on her conversations with citizens and voters, Kanninen sees several areas in which Arlington schools have room to improve, including prevention of bullying and assignment of developmentally appropriate homework. At the elementary level, she said, families are often seeking greater challenges for their children, whereas families of high school students are stressed by workloads. She also called for retaining aides who assist in the middle school and high school autism programs, for which funding is threatened.

    Kanninen emphasized the broad background and experience she would bring to the School Board, including more than 20 years of volunteering in schools and long service on School Board and County Board committees and in Democratic politics. She is also a Ph.D. economist and a children’s book author.

    Noting that she has canvassed in all 52 Arlington precincts, she described herself as a “candidate in hiking shoes.” “In everything I do,” she said, “I bring that grassroots, hiking shoes, sensibility.”

    In her closing remarks Kanninen concluded, “I know that together we can build a better, stronger Arlington, and more progressive Arlington Public Schools.”

    Voting takes place next week over the course of two days in the Arlington County Democratic Endorsement Caucus. Voters can cast ballots on either, Thursday, May 15th from  7:00 to 9:00 P.M. at Drew Model School (3500 23rd  Street South) and Saturday, May 17th at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N Stafford Street).