Birmingham BOE District 2 candidates face off - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Birmingham BOE District 2 candidates face off

Posted: Updated:

Over the next few days you will have an opportunity to meet every candidate vying for a seat on the Birmingham Board of Education. The election is set for august 27. In district two, there are two candidates: incumbent Virginia Volker, and challenger, Lyord Watson.

"My mother was an educator for thirty-three years. So when school ended it never really ended for me. And there was a value placed on education, it was very important. And that's really what I want to see the community do for these students," said Watson.

"Having been a teacher at the university of Alabama at Birmingham for thirty years in the department of health sciences. I know that having students come into college being prepared is absolutely critical," said Volker.

Lyord Watson and Virginia Volker each consider education to be a passion. Regardless of who wins, that passion will be needed to tackle the challenges associated with Birmingham's school board.

There are three schools in District two. All three are on Alabama's failing schools list. The schools are Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle, W.E. Putnam Middle, and Robinson Elementary.

"It's unfortunate that students have to go to schools with those labels of being a part of a failing school. And with those schools I believe that we have community members, teachers, and students who are able to learn it's just that we have to focus on the students,"said Watson.

Volker doesn't mince words. She hates the state's new Alabama Accountability Act.

"It's sort of like somebody trying to bring back the second coming of Jim crow. Because what that's about is trying to take money away from public schools. It's trying to define the school systems based on standardized test, which we know does not measure accomplishment," said Volker.

Some say it is the board itself that has little to show in the way of accomplishments. A special review conducted by SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, put the board on a two year accredited probation.

The biggest complaints are the board's attempts to undermine Superintendent Craig Witherspoon, and the appearance of being more interested in individual districts rather than the system as a whole.

"The condition of the school system, the board has to feel responsibility for what's going on right now. I've been to a number of meetings. I was at the meeting where it was an attempt to vote to fire the superintendent. And what I saw was chaos. Chaos on the board," said Watson.

Volker, who often speaks out at school board meetings, says what's happening is  not chaos. Rather, democracy at work.

"I think part of this idea about the dysfunction and bickering on the school board is partly a myth. And you have to ask yourself, who profits from perpetuating a myth like that. I see us as having healthy debates. I see us as sometimes agreeing with each other. And sometimes not agreeing with each other," she said.

Still, Volker admits, there are areas in which the board has fallen short. Both candidates insist they're committed to turning this around.

"I am committed to keeping our schools accredited because it is critical. Particularly when it comes to students graduating and going to college and getting scholarships. We have to do that," said Volker.

"what I can bring to the school system, I call myself a community guy. I like to see problems and issues and then how resources can be used to address those different issues," said Watson.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Lethal injections on hold in Alabama

    Lethal injections on hold in Alabama

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:19:47 GMT
    16 Alabama death row inmates have exhausted their appeals and are waiting to be executed. But, lethal injections will not be performed in the state at least until next spring. Republican state Senator Cam Ward says that will be the earliest lawmakers will be able to pass new legislation that will allow Alabama to get the drugs used for executions.Ward says that pharmaceutical companies are refusing to sell Alabama more drugs until they can get some type of protection or immunity. It's because...More >>
    16 Alabama death row inmates have exhausted their appeals and are waiting to be executed. But, lethal injections will not be performed in the state at least until next spring. Republican state Senator Cam Ward says that will be the earliest lawmakers will be able to pass new legislation that will allow Alabama to get the drugs used for executions.Ward says that pharmaceutical companies are refusing to sell Alabama more drugs until they can get some type of protection or immunity. It's because...More >>
  • Judge delays decision on abortion law

    Judge delays decision on abortion law

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:54 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:54:07 GMT
    A federal judge is delaying his decision on an Alabama law that could close some abortion clinics. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson told attorneys in June that he hoped to rule by the end of July. But Thompson notified attorneys Thursday that he needs extra time and will have a ruling by Monday. Thompson said he needs time to consider a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that blocked a similar Mississippi law. Alabama's law requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit pa...More >>
    A federal judge is delaying his decision on an Alabama law that could close some abortion clinics. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson told attorneys in June that he hoped to rule by the end of July. But Thompson notified attorneys Thursday that he needs extra time and will have a ruling by Monday. Thompson said he needs time to consider a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that blocked a similar Mississippi law. Alabama's law requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit pa...More >>
  • Rainbow City woman, 56, killed in accident on I-59 near Argo Wednesday night

    Rainbow City woman, 56, killed in accident on I-59 near Argo Wednesday night

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:48:12 GMT
    A Rainbow City woman was killed and her husband was injured Wednesday in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 59 near Argo, Alabama State Troopers said.More >>
    A Rainbow City woman was killed and her husband was injured Wednesday in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 59 near Argo, Alabama State Troopers said.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Repairing burst Los Angeles main could take days

    Repairing burst Los Angeles main could take days

    Friday, August 1 2014 3:39 AM EDT2014-08-01 07:39:31 GMT
    Hundreds of cars submerged below murky water. A landmark basketball court, newly refurbished, showing signs of buckling. Soaked and stained carpets. An athletic track coated in mud.More >>
    Repair crews on Thursday were shoring up a giant hole in the middle of Sunset Boulevard caused by a ruptured pipe, as officials at the water-logged University of California, Los Angeles, continued to assess damage from the...More >>
  • Neighbors who rescued plane crash victims: "It's a miracle they survived"

    Neighbors who rescued plane crash victims: "It's a miracle they survived"

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:50 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:50:59 GMT
    A family of four traveling to Tennessee from Florida crash landed their plane in central Alabama. More >>
    A family of four traveling to Tennessee from Florida crash landed their plane in central Alabama. More >>
  • Embattled Homewood hotel forced to close, guests left looking for new accommodations

    Embattled Homewood hotel forced to close, guests left looking for new accommodations

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:50 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:50:02 GMT
    Guests at America's Best Inn Suites packed up and left Thursday. The Homewood hotel lost its business license and an extension to keep it running was denied.More >>
    Guests at America's Best Inn Suites packed up and left Thursday. The Homewood hotel lost its business license and an extension to keep it running was denied.
    More >>
  • Small plane crash in Helena sends 4 to hospital with serious injuries

    Small plane crash in Helena sends 4 to hospital with serious injuries

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:29:14 GMT
    Authorities are investigating a small plane crash in Helena Thursday afternoon, a fire spokesman said.More >>
    Authorities are investigating a small plane crash in Helena Thursday afternoon, a fire spokesman said.More >>
  • Lackey goes from Red Sox to Cards for Kelly, Craig

    Lackey goes from Red Sox to Cards for Kelly, Craig

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:26 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:26:42 GMT
    The Boston Red Sox have traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday's deadline, a person with knowledge of the deal said.More >>
    The Boston Red Sox traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday's deadline.More >>
  • Lethal injections on hold in Alabama

    Lethal injections on hold in Alabama

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:19:47 GMT
    16 Alabama death row inmates have exhausted their appeals and are waiting to be executed. But, lethal injections will not be performed in the state at least until next spring. Republican state Senator Cam Ward says that will be the earliest lawmakers will be able to pass new legislation that will allow Alabama to get the drugs used for executions.Ward says that pharmaceutical companies are refusing to sell Alabama more drugs until they can get some type of protection or immunity. It's because...More >>
    16 Alabama death row inmates have exhausted their appeals and are waiting to be executed. But, lethal injections will not be performed in the state at least until next spring. Republican state Senator Cam Ward says that will be the earliest lawmakers will be able to pass new legislation that will allow Alabama to get the drugs used for executions.Ward says that pharmaceutical companies are refusing to sell Alabama more drugs until they can get some type of protection or immunity. It's because...More >>
  • Another decent start for Woods at Firestone

    Another decent start for Woods at Firestone

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:50 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:50:46 GMT
    Tiger Woods took another step on one of his favorite courses toward showing his game might be turning around.More >>
    Tiger Woods showed signs of a positive recovery Thursday at the Bridgestone Invitational.More >>
  • Alabama gets commitment from 4-star cornerback Rico McGraw

    Alabama gets commitment from 4-star cornerback Rico McGraw

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:47 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:47:50 GMT
    Alabama picked off another school's cornerback recruit. Four-star cornerback Rico McGraw flipped, verbally committing to Alabama after he had been committed to Georgia since January.The 6-foot, 190-pound McGraw is the No. 142 rated recruit according to 247Sports composite. He attends Ensworth High School in Nashville.McGraw is Alabama's 21st commitment for the 2015 class, and the Tide's second verbal of the week. Safety Ronnie Harrison committed to sign with Alabama on Monday.More >>
    Alabama picked off another school's cornerback recruit. Four-star cornerback Rico McGraw flipped, verbally committing to Alabama after he had been committed to Georgia since January.The 6-foot, 190-pound McGraw is the No. 142 rated recruit according to 247Sports composite. He attends Ensworth High School in Nashville.McGraw is Alabama's 21st commitment for the 2015 class, and the Tide's second verbal of the week. Safety Ronnie Harrison committed to sign with Alabama on Monday.More >>