Candidates for school board met Monday in Mound Bayou to deliver their platforms for the upcoming school year.
"The purpose of the forum was to introduce candidates for school board in the North Bolivar Consolidated School District. We wanted the community to come out and listen to the various platforms and the future plans of the various candidates. We had seven candidates that attended," said Val Smith, program planning and development chair for the Bolivar County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
The seven candidates in attendance were John Coleman, Evelina George, Anita Smith, Carrie Redding-Gallion, Jacklon Haywood, Tracey Dunn and Frederick King.
Among the many issues and platforms that were presented by the candidates, common core was the primary topic and concern for citizens.
According to school board candidate Evelina George, common core has already been adopted in 45 states and it will be highly beneficial to children in the North Bolivar Consolidated School District.
"Our children need common core. Our children need to be able to compete on a national level and common core will allow them to be able to do this," said George.
According to Mississippi Department of Education, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt.
The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing entry courses in two-year or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.
The standards ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school, and they put students on a level playing field regardless of their ZIP code.
Although most of the candidates seemed to be on one accord about common core, candidate Frederick King rendered opposing views, by reminding Mound Bayou residents about the current state of the North Bolivar School District.
"I went to school in Minnesota, which is one of the states that has not adopted common core. If you are trying to incorporate common core, the question is how do we get there if we are already a failing system? Children don't receive knowledge just by sitting down and reading, you have to give them something. Everything in this area is test, test, test, test, test," said King.
After candidates delivered their platform, the floor was open to the public for questions and comments.
"When a child has a problem, it is our job to try to fix it. I use the holistic approach all the time," said former school board member Amos Pates. "You can teach a child how to pass all of the tests by using common sense or common knowledge but what do you do when you have children who are smart in one area and not another?"
School Board Candidate Anita Smith offered a rebuttal by saying," "We are facing difficult times in the district. Bill 2396, which are common core standards that will combine federal programs, have been set in place to change our school ratings from an F to A. When I am elected, I will ensure that the school district promotes student achievement and I will make sure that our students will be able to compete in the 21st century."
The North Bolivar Consolidated School District election is set for Nov. 5.
The Bolivar Commercial will publish the official results of the elections when they have been confirmed.