Subj: DFT response
Date: 8/6/99 6:48:57 PM W. Europe Daylight Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mary Cameron)
Name: Mary L. Cameron Spouse: N/A (divorced)
Children, Age, School he/she attends:
Tiffani L. Cooper, age 17, Duluth Central (12th grade)
Chad H.L. Jackson, age 24, graduated from Duluth East and Augsburg
Kenya E. Jackson, age 28, graduated from Duluth Central and North
Central Bible College
Education: While working full time at UMD, and attending school part
time, I obtained an Associate of Arts degree in 1987, a Bachelor of Arts
degree in 1991 (Communication major, Philosophy minor), and a Master of
Social Work degree in 1997.
Occupation: I am employed at the University of Minnesota as the
Director of Student Employment/Employee Relations Specialist.
District 709 resident since: I grew up in Duluth since the age of 4,
attending Nettleton, Washington, and graduating from Duluth Central in
1969. I married and moved away in 1971 returning in 1985.
Please share a brief description of your education beliefs and your
involvement with District No. 709 (100 words or less).
I believe in public education and I believe that every child should
the opportunity to receive a quality and equitable education. I believe
that education is the key to success and a tool that assist in
eliminating gang activities, teenage pregnancy, drug use and illiteracy.
Some studies show that the most accurate predictor of a student's
achievement is not income or social status, but the extent to which a
family creates a home environment that encourages learning, expresses
hight but not unrealistic expectations about their children's
achievement and future careers, and becomes involved in their children's
education. Unfortunately, the emergence of single-parent and one-income
households as well as the problem of alcohol, drugs, and adult
illiteracy, inhibit rather than reinforce parental involvement in the
education process. Given this, teachers are challenged at not only
doing their job of "teaching" but also performing some of the duties
that parents don't. While I was, and am a single parent, I was very
active with the education of my children. I encouraged them to always
do the best that they could, ask for help when they needed it, and to
respectful toward their teachers. I realize that in order for teachers
to educate students successfully, they must keep pace with changing
content standards by receiving ongoing course work in their disciplines
while continuing to teach their subjects. I am a product of this
district and realize that had it not been for one teacher that I had in
the 8th grade, I probably would not be the person that I am today. I
was active in the lives of my sons who played basketball and football at
their respective schools, both have graduated from college. My daughter
is active in music and softball at Duluth Central. I have assisted with
different activities at Chester Park School and have participated each
year in "I Love to Read Month."
1. What issues cause you to run for the School Board and what are your
strengths or qualifications?
Four years ago when I ran for an at-large seat on the Duluth School
Board, I was both honored and surprised when elected. I received local
endorsements from the DFT, DFL, AFSCME, and Duluth AFL-CIO Central Labor
Body. One of the big issues then was Charter Schools, and today, it
still is. I was asked by each endorsing organization if I agreed with
the concept of Charter Schools. I did some research and learned that
Charter Schools can operate independently from Unions, allowing them to
set longer school days and years. I also learned that the idea of
creating a Charter School in Duluth was parent driven. I was also
informed that both teachers from ISD #709 and UMD were considering
submitting a Charter School proposal. Once the idea was adopted, and
proposals submitted, Edison was chosen (by me) because of the programs
that it offered. Why would I not support a school that was offering
music and Spanish to EVERY CHILD starting in kindergarten? I supported
"parental choice and the programs." Today, I find myself again dealing
with the Edison issue. I fear that if we shut Edison down because of
it's "for-profit" status, they will appeal to the State, be funded, and
we will loose all local control.
I also seek re-election because I enjoy setting policy that is in
best INTEREST of ALL children. I am employed at UMD and enjoy combining
my role as Director of Student Employment and School Board member by
creating programs that benefit both UMD students and ISD#709 students.
I implemented the America Reads Tutoring Program, placing "trained" UMD
students into our public schools to help children learn to read.
Beginning this fall, the America Counts Program will begin.
My strenghts and qualifications include the education that I have
obtained from UMD, and the four years that I have had on the Board. I
believe that Board members should be at the negotiating table and am
furthering my education by taking courses such as: Public Organization
and Management, Non-Profit Leadership and Management; Dispute Resolution
for Public Managers; Reflective Practitioner-Consulting, Conflict and
Change in Organizational Settings; and Education Policy and Finance to
better prepare me to be an effective Board member.
2. How do you feel about using public funds for private businesses to
run or manage schools or services?
I assume this question is related to Edison and will respond first
saying that Edison, although is operated by a "for-profit" organization
is a PUBLIC school. I do not support the idea of using public funds for
private businesses or to manage schools or services.
Charter schools are promoted by the State and as I stated in my response
to question number 1, I am fearful that if the local school board is not
involved, they will be funed and there will not be any local control.
3. As a member of the school board what class size would you be
committed to for children in the following grades?
K-5 (15-18). 6-8 (20-22) 9-12(23-25).
4. What basic staffing, programs and resources should be available in
each school building?
Elementary (specifically address all-day, everyday kindergarten):
I believe that not every school needs to look alike. I believe in
providing necessary service where they are needed. Schools have
different needs because they have different propulations. While I would
like to see our elementary schools provide this service to those parents
that want it, I realize that there is research that shows that some
children at this age, aren't ready to be in school all-day. I would
like an assessment performed to determine the need.
I believe that the earlier you start educating children, the better
educated they will be, and that they will love to read, enjoy math, etc.
I believe that if the day was structured in such a way that the teacher
performed his/her teaching functions, then possibly have an assistant
available for other types of activities, as well as utillizing more
college students for assistants, it would work.
Middle School: A computer for every child, teaching assistants,
adequate books and supplies for every child, second language, music,
art, and physical education
Senior High: Adequate computers, teaching assistants, adequate books
and supplies for every child, continued second language, music, art,
5. What is your position with regard to "prevailing wages" included in
the bid specs on all new and remodel construction projects?
I believe that it should be included in the specs. I don't
like the fact of out-of-towners coming in under bidding and
under-cutting local contractors. I believe in the "prevailing
wages"...people need to be paid enough to live.
6. Comment on employee contract negotiations in the school district,
specifically addressing the concept of a public review of the contract
prior to settlement.
I supported the 'full disclosure' resolution. I believe that tax
have a right to know what impact a proposed contract settlement may have
on our schools and our community.
Negotiations Code of Ethics state: "The School Board and administration
will make every reasonable effort to provide accurate and complete
information to employees and the general public through in-house
publications, news media (printed and electronic) and other appropriate
I also believe in and have had training in Interest-Based Collective
Bargaining. I believe that Board members need to be at the table.
7. How do you think decisions should be made in the school district
that affect curriculum, assessment, staffing and school management?
Role of Teachers: I believe that teachers should be in the position
make recommendations in reference to curriculum, sit on curriculum
committees, be involved in assessing their own job performance as well
as that of their superior, be involved with staffing and school
Role of Site Council: First, this needs to be defined, and the Board is
looking into this. It appears that "different" sites have "different"
definitions. I personally believe in the concept of site councils, and
site based management. I believe that they should be representative of
the neighborhood, and should be in positions to give input into hiring,
and how funds are allocated.
Role of School Board: The board sets policy based on recommendations
from administration and standing committees. The various standing
committees: Education, Human and Community Resources and Relations
Committee and the Business Services Committee each meet to consider
matters pertaining to their respective area. Materials are
presented,discussion takes place, input is received from community
members, and recommendations are submitted for full board approval.
Submitted by Mary L. Cameron - seeking re-election to School Board
Mary L. Cameron
UMD Human Resources/Student Employment
255 Darland Administration Building