By Tyanna McCaulsky
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
The comments made at the Worcester School Committee Forum on September 25, 2019, reveal how some in the community are working to protect and improve the education of local children. The event was held at Worcester State University in the Sullivan Auditorium at 6:30 pm. Of the twelve candidates running for Worcester Public School Committee, John Troubaugh, Chantel Bethea, and Jermoh Kamara stood out with their opening statements and responses to the community’s questions.
John Trobaugh is a diversity manager. This will be his second time running for WPS Committee. One of his main reasons for running is to increase communication among parents, teachers, and leaders of the Worcester Public School System. Chantel Bethea, a customer relations specialist, is running to ensure the development and support of educators in Worcester, MA. Lastly, Jermoh Karma, a public health educator, is running with the intention of improving the safety and health of the children in Worcester Public Schools.
“I am a father of two Worcester Public School students and I want to see more communications among the teachers, parents, and leaders of the Worcester Public School System,” said John Trobaugh. “For example, one time there was an issue with the school bus and I didn’t know where my son was. I had to call the bus system, and they said, ‘The bus is not going to that route today.’ So just imagine how I felt, not knowing where my son was. Therefore, I want to help fix this issue because I see the necessity for it. Also, I know that I’m not the only one with this issue.”
Development and support in the educational community of Worcester is one of Chantel Bethea’s main goals in running for the WPS Committee. “We need to overhaul the district’s policies to better support our educators,” she explains.
Chantel Bethea says she is willing to work to incentivize high-performing teachers to teach in the schools that need them the most, providing the training and support they need to become the best educators they can be. In order to do that, she says, “The Worcester Public School System needs a systematic way to recruit, develop, and place highly effective teachers of diverse backgrounds in our schools.”
Not having teachers of one’s own ethnic background can be difficult. Emmanuel Yirenkyi, a senior business administration major at Worcester State University, explains his experience of being a part of WPS: “My transition from Ghana to Worcester, MA, was quite difficult in terms of being in school. Who can I trust to understand and support me if I have teachers who don’t share a similar ethnic background?”
According to recent data, Worcester is home to a population that is 13.23% African American. If elected, Bethea promises to have a huge impact on students in WPS with experiences like those of Emmanuel Yirenkyi.
The health of WPS students is quite important to Jermoh Karma. Her aim is to create innovative initiatives to improve their safety and health. Health is a very important thing in people’s lives, and it is an issue everyone has to deal with, whether in schools or other communities. Personal hygiene, cleanliness of communities, and mental well-being have a lot to do with health. These factors play a vital role in people’s daily lives. Every parent’s dream is to send their children to school so that they can get a good education, and none of them want to fear that their children are unsafe. It is a parent’s nightmare to get a call that their child has to be sent home due to an illness caused by the school’s lack of sanitation. School is like a second home for many students, and cleanliness is important to maintaining a home-like space.
As stated previously, each of these three candidates running for Worcester School Committee—John Troubaugh, Chantel Bethea, and Jermoh Kamara—have their individual goals to improve the education system in Worcester, MA, from pre-k through high school. To recap, those are 1) increasing communication among parents, teachers, and leaders of the Worcester Public School, 2) developing support for the educators of the city, and 3) improving school health and safety, respectively.
The next WPS Committee election is on November 5th 2019.