Ly, Rambo Discuss Issues at EGUSD Area 6 Forum

Unopposed trustee criticizes charter schools Listen to entire audio forum here . The two candidates vying for the Elk Grove Unified ...

Unopposed trustee criticizes charter schools

Listen to entire audio forum here.

The two candidates vying for the Elk Grove Unified School District Area 6 trustee seat squared off last night at a forum sponsored by the Elk Grove Education Association (EGEA).

Also participating in the discussion was Area 3 trustee Chet Madison Sr. who accepted the invitation to appear even though he is running unopposed.

Although the race is non-partisan, both Ly and Rambo have strong ties to area politicians. Ly, who is sharing offices with Elk Grove Mayoral candidate Gary Davis and is backed by Democrats such as Roger Dickinson while Rambo has the backing of Republicans such as Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.

All three candidates answered an array of questions from the EGEA which is the bargaining unit for district's 3,000 teachers, nurses, counselors, librarians, speech and language therapists and as such, many of the questions focused on labor issues. Last spring labor problems between the district and the EGEA boiled over and resulted in protests aimed at the administration of Supt. Dr. Stephen Ladd.

Although there was common agreement on many general approaches to issues facing the district, there were some nuanced differences in their positions. The area of discussion included this November's School Funding initiative Proposition 30, the No Child Left Behind" program, charter schools and teacher merit pay based on evaluations.

One of the more interesting question to the candidates was if they had five minutes to spend with Dept. of Education Secretary Dr. Arnie Duncan, what would you discuss.

"End no child left behind. End it," Rambo said without hesitation. He went on to say the program should be changed to allow more block grant funding so districts can use their own discretion on how funds are best used.

Rambo also said he would urge Duncan to make the costs of the acquiring a teaching credential lower and easier to obtain so that qualified candidates can pursue a teaching career.

"He needs to spend time in the classroom," Ly said in response. "He needs to know how frustrating it is to be a teacher and not have the resources you need."

For his part Madison said he would discuss funding and would discuss charter schools and went on to express concern about the growing trend of establishing charter schools that are "private-public schools for a few of the elite children around."

When asked about charter schools Rambo noted that by law school districts have to consider charters, but that district's should take those ideas for charters and incorporate then into existing schools. Rambo stressed that charter school must fulfill an unmet need and went on to describe being approached earlier this year by an unnamed Elk Grove City Council member seeking his support to make Harriet Eddy Middle School a charter school.

"You have to have a unmet need. It is not a charter for the sake of charter like one of of our city council members said to me when he asked me to support an actual proposal to close Harriet Eddy Middle School and turn it into a charter school," Rambo said of the conversation. "'We need more charter schools.' Why? 'Because we don't have any.'"

Ly said he does not support using public funds for charter schools and added that many charters are selective in their students and that distorts their test score measurement.

When asked about the growing national trend of having mayors and other elected officials interjecting themselves into school board board matters, all three agreed that other elected officials should not be interfering in school matters.

"It is not within their scope," Ly noted.

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