Project Education: Candidates vie for Mobile County Superintendent
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) —
It was a full day of scheduled interviews lined up one after the next for the MCPSS superintendent candidates vying for a top seat over the state’s largest school district.
NBC 15 News had cameras rolling as something unplanned happened, revealing the immediate reactions from the three men fighting to lead the state's largest school district.
Parents and adults signed up in advance to confront each candidate and the school board Monday afternoon.
“I am concerned none of the candidates have experience with school districts larger than 7,000 students," parent Kina Andrews said.
These concerns were heard, but not addressed. That was until an unplanned group of community members came forward - students.
“I value my education, and I would like to know why do predominately black schools start AP in 11th grade when other non-predominately black schools start in 9th the grade," 11th grader Marquaris Jones Smith asked.
“That is a good question, and I like that. Thoughtful, too," school board President Dr. William Foster responded.
Student’s personal questions prompted an opportunity for candidates to respond on the spot.
“We have teachers who just don't care. We have students who just don't care. We have parents who just don't care,” Superintendent Candidate Chresal Threadgill said. “We need to have serious conversations to correct these issues and stop trying to fix these issues from the surface level."
“Advanced placement, that’s something you need that opportunity,” Superintendent Candidate John Gunn said, adding, “I believe strongly that in rigorous challenges students rise to the occasion. That would be something I would certainly want to take a look at because I don’t know why that happened, but you certainly need that opportunity.”
Keandre Davis, 12th graders, took the opportunity to bring up how teachers are covering material in his classroom.
“First of all, how do you plan to have teachers educate students because there is a difference between telling a student teaching and educating a student,” Davis asked.
“If selected as superintendent, we are going to work on providing engaging instruction to students,” Superintendent Candidate Walter Fenn said. “Instruction in the form of designing work for students that they find interesting, challenging and satisfying."
Students told NBC 15, they heard all promising answers that they want to see in action as soon as possible.
"They say they are going to look into it and make some changes, but I hope they really do because I’ve heard that before and nothing has been done about it," Jones-Smith said.