The League of Women Voters of NC

Age (optional)

43

Mailing Address

216 DRAYMORE WAY
CARY, NC 27519

 

email address

karen4wake@gmail.com

 

Website

http://www.karen4wake.com

 

Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/karen4wake/

 

Twitter

@karen4wake

YouTube video

Position/philosophy statement

All students, regardless of zip code, must receive a high quality education and rise academically; It's time to Listen, Learn, and Lead.


 

What experience and qualities do you feel you bring to this office? (YouTube link or text, or both)
As an experienced social worker and educator, I have steadfastly advocated for families and children in a variety of roles. As a college student, I held an internship at The Child Advocacy Institute, a non-profit organization that seeks to improve child well-being by bringing together citizens, community leaders, policy makers, business representatives and others to ensure that all children are healthy, safe, well-educated and provided every opportunity for success. This role sparked my desire to dedicate my work to make a difference for children.

 

My approach and priorities in all of my roles, from social worker and community member to WCPSS Special Education Instructional Assistant, have been consistent: Each child deserves fair treatment, have his/her voice heard, & be presented the opportunities to reach full potential.

 

I have been a strong community advocate for the families & children of WCPSS. From helping to find the best solution for my neighborhood regarding reassignment to negotiating changing the bell schedules to helping identify that the placement of a proposed ICE Facility was not in the best interest of ICE or our community, my thoughtful and objective approach has been a big picture outlook and putting the best interest of children first. Most recently, I worked to expose the implementation of the controversial math curriculum, MVP. After filing many records requests, I have learned the truth about staff and board member communication.

 



What do you think is the most important responsibility of a school board member?
The most important responsibility of a school board member is to consistently advocate for what is the best interest of the children in WCPSS. This requires a strong desire to remain educated on issues impacting our schools, families, students, and community. It is imperative to have a big picture approach and honestly evaluate how a decision could possibly impact our students and our ability to ensure students, regardless of zip code, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, receive a sound education and provide the support needed to help maximize their academic performance.

What are the critical state funding needs for this county’s schools and how would you address those needs?
With the every-changing situation with COVID and the NCDHHS and CDC requirements and recommendations for safety measures, it is important to ensure we use funding to secure PPE, cleaning supplies, and other items needed to help maximize our school staff and students' safety. Further, we must continue to monitor our technology needs for staff and students during remote learning so all students have equal access to their educational program whether it is in person or online.

 

I would also advocate for fiscal transparency and accountability as we examine how the state funding is being spent to ensure we are focusing our spending on the aforementioned items and other essential budget items required to provide a sound education and supports needed to help all students reach their full potential.

How would you assess teacher satisfaction in the county and how would you promote professional development?
Although surveys are sent to teachers, many teachers fear retribution for being honest when answering questions. I would work to change the environment of the WCPSS to one truly open to honest feedback without any consequences. This is true, not only for teachers--but all school staff and WCPSS families. I would seek to strengthen my relationship with school staff and have open dialogue with all staff.

 

I would promote professional development for all school staff by inviting them to the table to hear what their needs are and advocate for flexible professional development options. We must work to ensure that all school staff have equitable access to training so we are providing the best environment possible for our students and staff to succeed. 

Pre-Kindergarten is: [Importance scale] :
Very important


Please explain your choice.
Pre-Kindergarten is an important piece to help provide students the opportunity to strengthen their educational foundation so they are better prepared for kindergarten. We also need to use Pre-K to identify any strengths or concerns, which may require more specialized services. This is imperative because early intervention has huge implications for a student's success. Being proactive can help us provide students with a top notch educational experience and maximize their academic performance.

What are the issues in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers?
There are a multitude of factors when considering recruiting and retaining qualified teachers and all school staff. It is imperative that we treat school staff with respect, give them the support they need (such as appropriate professional development based on personalized needs), listen to feedback they have for what is working and what needs improvement, create an environment where staff feels safe to be honest without any ramifications, use funding effectively so all school staff can have a livable wage, and consider how our decisions will impact their roles in our schools.

News and Observer Wake County Board of Education - District 9 Survey

Thank you for completing our candidate questionnaire. Your answers will be published in our voter guide and may be lightly edited for spelling and grammar. Our goal is to help voters understand candidates' views on important policy issues.

Email address *

karen4wake@gmail.com

Name *

Karen Carter

Political party (if applicable) *

N/A

Age as of November 3, 2020 *

43

Campaign website *

www.karen4wake.com

Occupation *

WCPSS Special Education Instructional Assistant

Education *

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Meredith College

Have you run for elected office before? (Please list previous offices sought) *

No

Please list highlights of your civic involvement: *

As an experienced social worker and educator, I have steadfastly advocated for families and children in a variety of roles. My approach and priorities in all of my roles, from social worker and community member to a WCPSS Special Education Instructional Assistant, have been consistent: Each child deserves fair treatment, have his/her voice heard, and be presented the opportunities to reach full potential.

The Wake County school system has long been known for trying to keep schools integrated. Is that a goal still worth pursuing, and how would you try to achieve it as a board member? *

I support integrated schools and classrooms. Our goal as a school system should be ensuring students, regardless of zip code, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, receive a sound education and provide the support needed to help maximize their academic performance. More now than ever, our school system must provide the necessary resources to students for their learning and academic growth. While students are unable to attend school physically, it becomes imperative to have the proper training and resources to keep students engaged. Our current school board has placed the education of our students as a secondary objective. As a WCPSS School Board member, I will place the education of each student as the priority in decisions and policies.

An increasing number of families in Wake County are opting to not send their children to the school system. What, if anything, would you try to do to reverse that trend? *

WCPSS must offer the necessary resources to ensure the quality of education continues in today’s “new normal”. Many families have trepidation in allowing their children to return to school building which is understandable. Through improved collaboration and communication, I will ensure the worries and concerns of families are addressed. Parents need to be part of the solution. If families choose to leave the system, WCPSS should use exit interviews to understand the factors that led them to seek different options. With this feedback, we can identify common threads and implement changes to encourage more families to stay.

The coronavirus pandemic has been called an unprecedented situation. But what do you think of the Wake County school system's response, and how can the district be better prepared in the future? *

As the largest school system in North Carolina, the absence of a long-term emergency plan and clear communication was alarming. While this is an unprecedented situation, WCPSS must have a plan to mitigate the impact on education and on the operation of the system. Even though the State Board of Education's decision to eliminate student accountability impacted timelines, WCPSS did not readily make available the tools and resources required to ensure the students continued to learn. Being proactive and listening to concerns raised by families and staff about the previous semester, will help WCPSS be better prepared. Additionally, providing school staff effective professional development, setting clear expectations, and giving them the support they need in this “new normal” is crucial. As defined in my platform, I will listen, learn, and lead to represent the needs of all students, families, and staff members.

Cary Chamber of Commerce 2020 Voter's Guide Response Form

Thank you for taking time to respond to the Cary Chamber's Voter's Guide questionnaire. All candidates are being asked to respond to the same 3 questions, responses will be published together in our Annual Voter's Guide. The deadline to submit responses is OCTOBER 1, 2020 by 5pm.

 

We are not setting a character limit for your responses, though we ask that you respond as concisely as possible. 

 

If you have any questions please contact Perry Price, Director of Education and Government Relations at pprice@carychamber.com.

The name and photo associated with your Google account will be recorded when you upload files and submit this form. Not karen4wake@gmail.com? Switch account

 

1. Should you be elected to serve, what are your top 3 priorities that you plan to focus on? 

 

My focus as a WCPSS School Board representative will always be on the education, academic success, and what's in the best interest of our students. Today, as we maneuver the pandemic together, my priorities are:

 

1. Ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our students, teachers, and school staff as we return to in-person instruction. Many are eager yet apprehensive to get back to class. As an educator and mother, I understand and recognize the need to implement all necessary safety protocols and procedures and the significant value of in-person instruction.

 

2.  Putting the focus back on education.  Whether online or in person, students must be provided a sound education with any needed academic support to help them rise to reach their maximum potential. This includes defining a structure for their chosen learning environment and clearly communicating expectations to both students and their families. 

 

3. Giving parents, students, community members and school staff a voice.  In our ever-changing environment, it’s important to communicate well and communicate often. Respectful, open dialogue with parents, community members, and staff will encourage collaboration and opportunities to improve learning.  I will work to help find common ground and encourage proactive communication.

 

2. What do you think the function or role of public/private partnerships are? (Ex. Chambers of Commerce, Wake Education Partnership, Regional Transportation Alliance/RTA, etc) 

We all play an important and integral role in education in Wake County. Our students are our future lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, and chamber members. Partnerships with community groups and private entities is important to the foundation of our school system. Ultimately, we both reap the rewards of a collaborative and working relationship.

We are in a year where the importance of Disaster Preparedness and Response has been highlighted. What are your feelings on how we've responded? Would you have done anything differently?

As the largest school system in North Carolina, the absence of a long-term emergency plan and clear communication was alarming. While this is an unprecedented situation, WCPSS must have a plan to mitigate the impact on education and on the operation of the system. Even though the State Board of Education's decision to eliminate student accountability impacted timelines, WCPSS did not readily make available the tools and resources required to ensure the students continued to learn. Being proactive and listening to concerns raised by families and staff about the previous semester will help WCPSS be better prepared. Additionally, providing school staff effective professional development, setting clear expectations, and giving them the support they need in this “new normal” is crucial. Ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our students, teachers, and school staff as we return to in-person instruction is crucial.  As defined in my platform, I will listen, learn, and lead to represent the needs of all students, families, and staff members.

WRAL Questionnaire North Carolina General 2020

Welcome to the WRAL Voter Guide Questionnaire! We appreciate you taking the time to share your views with North Carolina's voters. Please use the email address for your campaign used for official candidate filings or used in your online campaign materials, if possible. If you have any questions, please visit civicengine.com/support.

Email address *

karen4wake@gmail.com

Please enter your name below exactly as it will be shown on the ballot. *

Karen Carter

Please enter your campaign website URL.

https://www.karen4wake.com/

Please select the office you are running for in the upcoming election on November 3rd, 2020. *

Wake County Board of Education

If elected, what are your top 3 priorities?

My focus as a WCPSS School Board representative will always be on the education, academic success, and what's in the best interest of our students. As we maneuver the pandemic, my priorities are: 1. Ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our students, teachers, and school staff as we return to in-person instruction. 2. Putting the focus back on education for both remote learning or in-person instruction. 3. Giving the community a collaborative voice. In this ever-changing environment, it’s important to communicate well and communicate often.

The pandemic forced schools to move online quickly. What changes need to be made to improve remote learning?

While the transition to remote learning was sudden, lessons have been learned. Parents have expressed their concern about the long amounts of screen time, inconsistent communication, and heavy workloads for some students. For many students, remote learning is simply not the best learning environment and we must consider the impact. From adjusting schedules to identifying ways to increase student engagement in online classes, as your School Board rep, I will listen to you and our teachers and commit to creating the best learning environment for our students. Now is not the time to vacillate.

What can be done to prevent existing achievement gaps for minority and low-income students from growing while they are learning remotely?

Remote learning has created another obstacle to helping students who need it most. Sadly, due to the delay in delivering devices, many students did not have the resources they needed to participate in remote learning when school started this year. I believe our school system had ample time and opportunity to address this “digital divide” yet failed. Going forward, we must incorporate initiatives that consider and value all students – minority, low-income, special education, ELL – and what they need for their own academic success.

What can be done to protect funding for schools, which are spending more money in response to the pandemic?

Legislation has passed, which holds school districts harmless in regards to ADM (average daily membership). The Board of Education has the responsibility to act as good stewards of funds that are provided. Adjustments to the budget may need to be made in light of the current situation. We must ensure the best use of the multiple rounds of CARES Act funding, which WCPSS has received, and prioritize our spending with the focus on providing a sound education to all students and ensuring our special education students receive the services required per their IEPs.

Shirley Tang Wake County BOE Election Candidate Questionnaire

Question #1: Would you, as a Board member, vote to adopt an Advocate for Parents Policy that would give parents and students their voice through advocate support? *

For example: The policy would grant parents the right to have an advocate communicate with school officials on behalf of the parent and the student, and/or accompany them to meetings with the officials.

Yes

Optional: Comment for Question #1
I fully support families being advocates for their children. Currently, there are parent advocates allowed to attend special education meetings; however, all families deserve the option to have their concerns expressed through an advocate. I would also support a volunteer advocate network to ensure all families can have access to an advocate who understands how to manage this complex school system.

Question #2: At School Board meetings, parents have often expressed concerns and request answers to different aspects of their children’s education or treatment in WCPSS. As a Board member, should you respond to the parents, especially your constituents, personally afterward? *

For example: Emailing or calling the parents after the public meeting to address their concerns.

Yes

Optional: Comment for Question #2
As a mother of a student in the WCPSS and someone who has spoken at multiple board meetings, I understand what it is like to feel as though no one is listening. I fully support open, respectful dialogue between Board members and members of the community.  If a community member reaches out via email, phone, or public comment, they deserve a response from his/her Board member. It’s time to put the focus back on WHO we are here to serve.

Question #3: As a School Board member, should you address parents' concerns on their children’s disciplinary/academic/equity issues when school administrators fail to resolve them? *

For example: When the parents contact you about adult/peer bullying against their children, after the administrators and the anti-bullying policy offer no effective resolution.

Yes

 

Optional: Comment for Question #3
As a Board Member, I should report concerns to the Area Superintendent and/or Superintendent or any other necessary staff to ensure WCPSS is responding in a swift, appropriate way. All WCPSS students must be protected from all types of bullying (cyber or in person) and quick consequences need to be given to the perpetrators. All too often, students suffer silently due to fear of retribution or previous inaction by WCPSS staff. We must keep every child safe.

Question #4: Should Board members enforce formal and periodic training for all WCPSS employees on policies related to discrimination, harassment, and bullying, including how to file complaints? *

For example: Trainings on WCPSS policies 1710, 1720, and 1730 under this link: https://boardpolicyonline.com/bl/?b=wake_new#&&hs=TOC%3a1

Yes

Optional: Comment for Question #4
We should be provided a report of % of staff completion of training. Additionally we should encourage Principals, Area Superintendents, Superintendent, and appropriate staff to follow up appropriately with staff until the training is completed.

Question #5: Should Board members hold WCPSS employees, including administrators, accountable when they violate district policies or state/federal laws? *

For example: When a WCPSS employee fails to provide a student record within 45 days upon his parents' request for review and, thus, violates a WCPSS Policy 4700 (Student Records) and a federal law (Family Educational Right and Privacy Act).

Yes

Optional: Comment for Question #5

As a Board Member, I, along with all Board Members and district staff, must follow applicable policies. If any policies are violated, swift and appropriate action must be taken. As trusted elected officials, we must all be held accountable for our actions.

Question #6: Should the Superintendent and the Board, at the current racial climate, make equity the #1 priority and collaborate with students, parents, and advocates on their recommendations expeditiously? *

For example: The recommendations from parents and community advocates in 2020 on a) The draft Equity Policy 1150: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XzdtxjVZj1KAj1kifZ1TKvXVelcTlaWa/view?usp=sharing and b) The SRO Memorandum of Understanding [policing agreement] between WCPSS and 11 law enforcement agencies: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IY8sFFwj1GBfX0NR0K8PXfFhTMRD0cxO/view?usp=sharing

No

Optional: Comment for Question #6
My focus as a WCPSS School Board representative will always be on education, academic success, and what's in the best interest of our students. Today, as we maneuver the pandemic together, my priorities are:

1. Ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our students, teachers, and school staff as we return to in-person instruction. Many are eager, yet apprehensive, to get back to class. As an educator and mother, I understand and recognize the need to implement all necessary safety protocols and procedures and the significant value of in-person instruction.

2.  Putting the focus back on education.  Whether online or in person, students must be provided a sound equitable education with any needed academic support to help them rise to reach their maximum potential. This includes defining a structure for their chosen learning environment and clearly communicating expectations to both students and their families. 

3. Giving parents, students, community members and school staff a voice.  In our ever-changing environment, it’s important to communicate well and communicate often. Respectful, open dialogue with parents, community members, and staff will encourage collaboration and opportunities to improve learning.  I will work to help find common ground and encourage proactive communication.

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