Jalyn Powell, a candidate for the Milford school district seat, said Thursday night that board members should be open-minded, that all students should be considered gifted, that critical race theory is not a problem, that charter schools and choice are good, and that the ethnicity of school workers should reflect the community.
Also running for that seat is Matt Bucher, a conservative who declined to participate in a forum sponsored by a coalition of 10 groups that want to increase public participation in elections and school board attendance.
The forum was one of six held in Delaware through May 3.
Powell, a 2014 graduate of Milford High School, has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Delaware State University and a master’s degree in human rights law from Regents School of Law. She is now working on a doctorate. in transformative social change. Powell works with the Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative’s Youth and Young Adult Development Task Force, helping students with mental health, wellness, and peer support.
She said she helps other groups “with strategic translation to ensure that communities and organizations work together in the most comprehensive and effective way possible.”
Powell was asked the same list of questions by moderator Teri Quinn Gray that the Red Clay and Capital district candidates were earlier this week.
The questions were formulated by the 10 sponsoring groups of the forums. They include Delaware NAACP, Network Delaware, ACLU Delaware, and Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence.
She said a school board member should be curious, open, community-minded and committed to transparency and accountability. Board members set the standard for their schools and should be the voice of the community, she said.
“When I say community, I mean parents, students, families, staff and local taxpayers as well,” she said.
“It’s a service post,” she said. “I believe that my commitment to the community and to young people will allow me to serve effectively as a member of the school board.”
Pushing further, she said the school board is the visionary group and it is the superintendent’s job to formulate policies and procedures to make that vision a reality.
Powell said she believes everyone has implicit biases and the board, teachers, staff and students need to be educated about what it is.
She pointed out that to her knowledge, critical race theory had never been taught in the Milford school district and was not intended to be, so it made no sense to talk about it.
But, she said, schools need to teach American history as it is, and that includes black history.
Powell said all students should be considered gifted and talented and not just those taking honors or advanced placement courses.
“We should ensure that our students achieve their best in their respective ways at their individual level, holistically,” she said. The school district can do this by looking at all students’ needs and where they need support, and giving it to them, she said.
For example, she said, viewing English language learners as multicultural and talented can be helpful in changing the perspective of these students.
Powell said she believes unconscious bias drives the discipline of a disproportionate number of black and brown students compared to whites, and that training could help with that.
She thinks school boards should continue to livestream their meetings to help busy family members watch, participate and be informed of what’s happening in schools.
Powell pointed out that she was a program manager for the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence and was in favor of common sense laws, such as storage rules, that kept children safe.
At the same time, it promotes the presence of police officers in schools as resource agents whose role is to advise and support students. She liked the one from her high school, she said.
“Shout out to Officer Melbourne,” she said.
Powell also said she favors more charter schools.
“I have nothing against charter schools, or public schools,” she said. “I believe in the power of choice. I believe in the power of choice. I believe in the power of choice. I believe in the power of choice. I believe we can all learn from each other, whether chartered, public or private.
While pointing out that the Milford school district is one of the most diverse in the state, with 51% of its students belonging to minorities, she said representation was important and more teachers and staff should be people of color.
The forums continue on Monday. Here are the dates and times:
Participants must register. To register, click on one of the districts above.
Betsy Price is a freelance writer from Wilmington with 40 years of experience, including 15 at the News Journal in Delaware.