By Karen Daniels
Last week the City of Stafford hosted a candidate forum at the Civic Center for the five candidates on the ballot to have the opportunity to present their views. Three panelists asked questions, and in a round-robin format, the candidates responded. One of the panelists, Jaye Ramsey Sutter, a professor of political science at Houston Community College and the University of Houston, asked an interesting question concerning the 83rd Legislative Session. “Legislature is currently redefining education, should schools focus more on quality of life education or should they pursue job preparedness?”
She was referring to House Bill 5, designed to improve public school education by expanding curriculum options and reducing standardized testing. The bill passed the House of Representative in vote of 145-2, after nine hours of debate, and is currently on the intent calendar. The bill also makes changes to the school’s accountability system through a new measurement of academic performance, financial performance, and community and student engagement.
The candidates answered the question by stating that schools need to pursue both quality of life and job preparedness, though each differed slightly on how to go about it.
Greg Holsapple: The role of legislature is not to add more standardized tests. Opening SMSD’s College and Career center will help students decide their path.
Ed Castillo: Wants legislature to bring back the love for learning, not the love for testing. Is all for redefining education.
Auturo Jackson: Create ways to expose students to various opportunities and involve the community business leaders.
Rosemary Garcia: Good teachers and good technology classes. Start Career Week programs earlier in the schools.
Christopher Caldwell: Role of education is vast. It far exceeds academics and preparedness. The role is to help emotionally, mentally, psychologically and socially.
Professor Sutter feels there could be a gap between the collegiate and career track because sometime it’s difficult to know what you want to do at the age of 18. “Some people don’t find themselves until after a few years of college, and then they blossom. Life long learning is going to be the future. Career changes mid-life are happening as people learn new interests.” In a final note she said, “Every community would be fortunate to have the kind of passion and desire for public service that was displayed at the forum by the five candidates.”