Charles Blanchard (Albany)
My children attended Albany schools from grades K through 12 (AHS classes of 2004 and 2008). I served as chair or co-chair of the Cornell, AMS, and Albany Council PTAs and the Cornell school site council. I have been a member of multiple AUSD advisory committees, pertaining to budget, facilities, and curriculum. I was a member of the Board of Education between 2004 and 2008, serving as Board president in 2006 and 2008 and as vice-president in 2005 and 2007. I contributed to the renovation of Cougar Field and the construction of the new Albany Pool. Since stepping down from the Board at the end of 2008, I have served on the Albany Unified School District Strategic Plan Committee, the Albany Pool Sustainability Committee, and the City of Albany Golden Gate Fields Task Force (representing AUSD). I am currently a member of the City of Albany Sustainability Committee.
– What do you think is the biggest challenge facing your School District and how would you tackle it?
Budget is the biggest challenge. Without adequate resources, school districts cannot serve their students. It’s true that state funding levels are increasing – but it’s also true that the state is shifting more responsibilities onto local school districts. On a state level, funding inequities among districts are a serious problem.
– Do you believe there are systemic problems with racial/sexual/gender-based or other discrimination in your district’s schools? How would you tackle them?
We heard no cases involving any forms of discrimination when I previously served on the AUSD Board from 2004-2008. Such problems do not go away by ignoring them, though. The best way for the Board to approach them is by working with staff.
– Do you support school dress codes? Specify.
I see no reason for dress codes, with the exception of creating a culture that develops and respects standards of reasonable decency and hygiene. Requiring shoes is reasonable. If clothing is a distraction to education, open dialogue is needed.
– Do you believe religious texts, practices or songs should be part of the school’s curricula? If yes, please specify how.
Religious texts, practices, or songs are not part of a public-school curriculum. Religion is a component of culture and can be studied as such.