School Board Members Should Pr⁠i⁠or⁠i⁠⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ze S⁠t⁠uden⁠t⁠ Ach⁠i⁠evemen⁠t⁠

January 10, 2024

Kayla Maloney

CALN Project Manager

Group of People Doing Peace Sign

After decades of consistent occupancy on the District 4 School Board seat in Wake County, North Carolina, the past couple of years have seen comparatively heavy turnover. Last week, the now former seated member, Tara Waters, resigned to transfer to an open position on the Wake County Board of Commissioners. She served in that seat for almost two years. 

There is now an active timeline to fill the vacancy of District 4, which spans over much of Southeast Raleigh, by February 20th. The News and Observer has listed the qualifications necessary for consideration of appointment. They are as follows: 

“Applications must be received by 2 p.m. Feb. 2, including submitting proof of residency. Applicants must live in District 4 and be eligible to vote. Candidates should submit: 

▪ A letter of interest, no more than five pages, outlining the candidate’s background and listing three initiatives that can be implemented in the school board’s strategic plan. 

▪ A resume. 

▪ Three letters of recommendation. 

▪ Proof of domicile, including proof of voter registration and a current utility bill.” 

Here at CALN, we cannot help but notice that a vital qualification is excluded from this list. It is imperative for a sitting school board member to have a dedicated and outspoken commitment to improving student outcomes.  

This is too seldom talked about in an open forum, but that is why CALN exists. We will tirelessly advocate for this necessary qualification. Our mission is to prioritize student achievement and reinvigorate academic excellence across the Carolinas. 

The core existential threat to our community, state, and country is an undereducated populace. We want to reverse that trend and that effort must start in our schools. In order to improve our schools, change must start at the hands of our dedicated school board members. 

In North Carolina, student achievement scores on the End-of-Grade tests indicate that over half of students are not proficient in reading and math. In reading, 52 percent of third grade students and 49 percent of eighth grade students are not proficient. In math, 39 percent of third grade students and an overwhelming 72 percent of eighth grade students are not proficient. 

North Carolina is not so different from the rest of the nation. The Washington Examiner writes, 

“Moreover, students in Singapore, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Estonia, Macao, and Canada are out-competing American students in all three core subjects. We rank ninth in reading, 34th in math, and 16th in science. Anyone who wants America to lead in the 21st century should not be satisfied with these results.” 

The current opening on NC District 4’s school board provides an opportunity for a dedicated member who prioritizes student achievement to fill the seat. Here at CALN, we are prepared to be a resource for those who want to learn how they can do so.