James Barrett: Candidate for CHCCS Board of Education

Barrett is a one-term incumbent


With one week until election day, The Daily Tar Heel spoke with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education candidates to discuss major issues facing the board. Election day is Nov. 5.

Candidate: James Barrett

Age: 43

Daily Tar Heel: What are the biggest issues facing the school system?

Barrett: Closing the achievement gap is certainly the No. 1 thing people expect from us on the board in Chapel Hill. There certainly are budget challenges ahead of us given where we are as a state, and I also think we could do better with communication. We tend not to be perceived as listening to parents very well.

DTH: Your work with Justice United has made you focus on improving the achievement gap in CHCCS. But in your two years on the board, the achievement gap has remained steady. It seems like many of the efforts the board has tried haven’t been as successful as you’d hope in closing the gap, despite keeping the gap at the same level it was at. Do you have any innovative way to tackling this issue?

Barrett: I’m very supportive of the direction that Dr. Forcella is taking us in. It takes some time to bring the changes, but he’s very focused on improving instruction in every classroom.

We have some consultants we use to train teachers in improving their actual education methods. We also need to make sure that those teachers are reaching every student and are focused on the growth of every student. As a board we need to make sure that were always measuring growth.

DTH: Why are you the best candidate for the job?

Barrett: I think I bring a depth of understanding to the district having grown up here and gone to the schools. That certainly helps provide a long-term perspective.

At the same time I’m not tied to the old way of doing business. I bring some outsider perspective and management experience from my professional life that I think helps move us forward.

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