|By G. Michael Dobbs|
SPRINGFIELD – Calvin McFadden, Ph.D., has not been a Springfield resident all his life, but in the three and half years he and his family have lived here, he has been involved with educational efforts. He now wants to deepen that commitment by becoming a member of the School Committee.
McFadden is the pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church and is running for an at-large seat on the School Committee.
This is his first run for public office and McFadden said that he and his wife are “pleased with the [Margaret C.] Ells School [attended by their children but], we’re not pleased overall.”
McFadden graduated from Bethune-Cookman University with Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Interdenominational Theological Center with a Master of Divinity in Sociology of Religion and earned a Ph.D in Family and Child Sciences/Sociology from Florida State.
In Springfield, he has served as an adjunct instructor at both Springfield College and at American International College as well as a participant in the Read Aloud program and a member of the community advisory team for the William N. Deberry School.
He said he supports Superintendent Daniel Warwick’s programs to improve student performance and said if elected he would concentrate on several main issues.
Although McFadden acknowledged an increase in the graduation rate to 56 percent, he said, “We can’t rest on our laurels. Fifty-six percent is still a failure.”
He would advocate for early childhood education efforts, which have been shown to improve graduation rates. Although there has been an on-going campaign to make sure all third grade students read at grade level, McFadden said, “It has to start even before then.”
He said studies have shown that better early childhood education will not only improve reading skills but also science and math prowess as well.
He is also committed to closing the achievement gap and would seek that all schools throughout the city receive similar funding.
“A zip code certainly shouldn’t determine our success,” he said.
McFadden cited the success of the Alfred G. Zanetti Montessori School going from being a Level 4 school to a Level 1 school and said the School Committee should “go outside the box.”
He explained, “Whatever Zanetti did, let’s replicate it on other schools, implementing that in other schools that are struggling.”
Preparing students to enter either college or the workforce is also a principal concern. McFadden has stated that increasing community collaboration is one of his goals. McFadden cited his concern about an issue at Roger L. Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy involving an employer offering assistance to a vocational program was discouraged by the lack of availability of resources.
“If we don’t jump on that, we are failing our young people,” he said.
For more information on his campaign, go to www.cjmcfadden.com.
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