Education Group Helps Four School Board Members Get Elected
(Memphis) – Helen Belfour took a special interest in school board candidates for the new consolidated district during Tuesday’s election. She has two children in Memphis City Schools.
“You want to make sure we get the right people in office because we want them to get their education,” said Belfour.
However, she is not the only one concerned about the direction of the schools. Stand For Children, an education advocacy group, endorsed and actively campaigned for seven school board candidates.
“We wanted to ensure that we have community advocates in office who are going to put aside partisan politics and also adult interests and do what’s in the best interest of our children,” said Executive Director for Tennessee, Kenya Bradshaw.
Four of those endorsed candidates won including Commissioner Kevin Woods, who beat longtime school board member Kenneth Whalum. Whalum says he disagreed with the group’s position against corporal punishment.
“I literally put them out of my office and that, I am certain that sort of informed their determination to target me and for sure they targeted me,” he said.
Whalum criticizes Stand For Children because he believes its national organization funneled money from outside Tennessee, a claim Bradshaw says is false. In fact, she says the $143,000 the group spent was raised locally.
Bradshaw says, it’s time to get to work, “We have a merger that’s about to take place. We really think this is an opportunity to unify our community and it’s just a pivotal point for us to really think about how to really educate every child in our county.”
The group plans to focus on all aspects of education, including funding. That’s why they say they will be involved in the Shelby County Commission race in 2014.