Name as it appears on the ballot: Dajma Livingston
Party affiliation: Democratic
Campaign website: dlivingston4wake.com
Occupation & employer: Teacher/ DCS
Years lived in the area: 24
1. In 300 words or less, please give us—and our readers—your elevator pitch: Why are you running? Why should voters entrust you with this position? What are your priorities, and what would you want to see the school board do differently or better over the course of your term?
I recognized that there are many issues within the wake county school system , such as inadequate pay for teachers, teacher support, access to necessary academic resources, and lack of community involvement . I have made it my priority to make a difference in my community and to bring back community collectivity and awareness; as are many of my fellow WCPS alumni . I enjoy being involved in my community , spreading knowledge to all people weather it be of general education or political awareness. I , as an educator, am the best candidate to make a difference in WCPSS . Who will change major issues within the system and promote educators to come teach at WCPS.
2. Given the direction of the school district, would you say things are on the right course? If not, for what specific changes will you advocate if elected?
I do believe that the current school board has great ideas, however, struggle to implement those great ideas effectively due to lack of classroom / teaching experience. For example, during school board meetings, there is minimal conversation around Leandro and what needs to take place for this policy to pass. Leandro should be bought up in each bord meeting, and each board member should make it their priority to actively advocate and progressively working forward to the passing of Leandro in every meeting.
3. What are the three main issues that you believe the Wake County Board of Education needs to address in the upcoming year?
*Vocational Education Opportunities:
*Vocational Education Options – Vocational Education is the leading way to academic success and college/ career readiness. Our youth deserve an academic platform that will uplift their skill or craft and assist them in studying such while in k-12 . This is the leading way to economic upliftment.
*Cultural diversity and awareness – Cultural diversity recognition within our schools curriculum and building design is essential to preserving and being proud of our nation, and teaching true American history. Also including vocational education options and real world, problem- based learning experiences for students wanting to reach advanced academic levels. Targeting real world problems within their subject of choice; in efforts to preserving our future and being able to compete academically and on a globalized level
*Teacher Retention- As a teacher myself , It will always be my continuous obligation to advocate for adequate teachers’ pay. Increasing teachers pay will assist in recognizing and uplifting our quality teachers, in efforts to supporting teachers economically and within their areas of focus ; advocating for teacher retention in our schools.
4. Describe something you think the school board should have prioritized differently in the current budget. Do you think the budget supports students from lower income families as well as from affluent families? Does the budget meet the district’s infrastructure needs?
I do not believe there should be a cap or specific dollar on funding education. As our economy evolves, so should we . Each year new and improved AI technology is produced in support of higher education and learning. In order to compete on a globalized level , we must invest in our youth at any cost necessary, with an appropriate dollar amount to support all levels of higher learning and provide a truly equal and equitable educational experience .
5. What is your understanding of what Critical Race Theory is? Is CRT currently taught in K-12 public schools? What are your thoughts on House Bill 324, the bill Gov. Cooper vetoed because he said it “pushes calculated, conspiracy-laden politics into public education?” Would you support such a bill?
To be fully supportive of Critical Race Theory , you must be culturally aware and knowledgeable of historic events that shifted nations. And to be receptive to diverse minority cultures and traditions by being non-oppositional and empathetic to ones economic plight, lineal strife, and social acceptance. Discrimination is systematically developed and maintained, therefore in order to break that system. All teachers of diverse Public School Systems should carry such awareness and be able to practice CRT strategies and be culturally aware throughout their position within the schools; however , all are not aware or divers enough to be lead in this kind of education. Therefore, I support Gov. Coopers decision to veto the bill. We must recognize what is important first, and that is meeting our academic standard, once that is done, we can push in other aspects of higher education.
6. Does the General Assembly have a constitutional obligation to comply with the state Supreme Court order in the Leandro case to fully fund public schools and give every child in North Carolina a sound basic education?
Yes, the general assembly must recognize that the passing of Leandro is crucial to our ability as a school district to provide a sound and basic educational opportunity to all children; in which is not currently being done. We must begin to produce high quality education to compete nationally and globally, and in order to do that , we must have funding that adequately support this pursuit.
7. Orange County’s Board of Education has passed some of the most progressive policies in the state around strengthening racial equity and providing a safe, inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students to learn. Should Wake follow Orange’s lead and implement Gender Support guidelines that create a protocol for students who are transitioning or want to?
Absolutely, I support all children in their transition into adulthood as an educator and will continue to support all children regardless of how that transition might be; Wake County public schools should do the same out of respect and recognition of our scholars.
8. How do you think the current school board handled the COVID-19 pandemic? Please explain your answer.
I believe that the school board did the best that they could do for the moment, however, as we now know, there are more effective ways of going about handling a pandemic in school. The effects of the ongoing pandemic and the lack of support for teachers and scholars has contributed to schools loosing qualified teachers and scholars suffering from learning loss. Scholars and teachers deserve to have access to adequate supplies and support for learning. Online and face to face instructional options should be available throughout the year for all classes extra tutoring opportunities for scholars after school, on weekends and during summer break.
9. Recently, groups of parents with students in WCPSS have mounted efforts to ban certain books from school classrooms and libraries. The school board and school administrators pushed back on these efforts. Did the board and school system handle this controversy appropriately? What more, if anything, should be done to address efforts to ban books in schools?
I as a board member will value the voices of our residents in district 06 and ensure that all books allowed in our schools are appropriate and supportive of learning in all general and elective courses; including Science, History, Economics , Health and English.
10. Do police officers (School Resource Officers) have a role in schools? Do you agree with the way the current board is trying to address the role of SROs in Wake County Schools?
I as a WCPSS alumni respect their presence greatly. I do believe that a well trained and certified SRO can make an impactful difference in all scholars’ academic experience. They know each child and staff member coming in and out of the school daily and is the protector of our school entryways. I suggest one to two highly trained and certified SRO’s presence on school grounds, per the school population.
11. Research has shown an achievement gap for Wake County Schools students based on race and socioeconomic status. What specific policies would you support or what actions would you take to help close the gap so that race and socioeconomic status don’t persist as predictive factors?
I actively push and support Leandro. This is the foundation of providing a sound a basic educational opportunity to all scholars. Once we provide an adequate educational opportunity, we can the focus on uplifting each child’s educational experience by focusing on region and culture to provide equitable education to scholars and uplift them economically.
12. How should WCPSS address its ongoing shortage of educators, support staff, bus drivers, school nurses, mental health professionals, and other key staff?
The primary reason is due to lack of compensation and incentives. There is no question that NC has continuously failed to recognize this issue or listen to teachers who constantly bring up the issue of inadequate pay. Also, teachers are having to be responsible and accountable for the disciplinary issues of their scholars. We must mitigate behavioral issues in which should be handled by a social emotional or behavioral specialist for the safety of scholars and staff while demanding higher pay for teachers and staff; passing Leandro would be a positive way to assist in funding these critical issues. Promoting adults and recent college graduates to help / work for the school system.
13. Is the district currently doing enough to assist disabled students? What more could it do?
No, we are not adequately supporting scholars with learning and physical disabilities. We are all learners and should be recognized as such, therefore, we all deserve a sound a basic learning opportunity, which learners with disabilities are not receiving. We as a school system should focus on providing adequate educational opportunities to all learners, including learners with disabilities for we all live in this region together and have a duty and obligation to provide and be our best to society.
14) If there is anything else you would like to address, please do so here.
Vote for Dajma Livingston, a NC Teacher, Wake County Public School Alumni and advocate for our public schools.
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