Raleigh educator Jeanne J. Smoot, a Republican who served in the administration of former President Ronald Reagan, is seeking the office of state Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Smoot seeks to reduce paperwork that is plaguing teachers in North Carolina, and cut down on the constant testing required by state and federal guidelines.
Smoot said President Bushâ€™s No Child Left Behind program has a noble mission with its testing requirements, but North Carolina has its own testing program to administer.
â€œWhat makes it problematic is that teachers are under the weight of two different systems and you have testing, testing, testing.â€
She believes the system needs some adjustment that would cut down on the constant testing.
â€œAt the federal level weâ€™re seeing more flexibility,â€ she said of the recent efforts to relax some of the requirements.
Smoot said the biggest complaint she hears from teachers is about paperwork.
Smoot said she favors allowing the growth of more Charter Schools in North Carolina, which today account for less than 1 percent of the stateâ€™s student enrollment. She said many have shown excellent results.
Smoot will have opposition on the primary ballot from Bill Fletcher, an advertising and marketing consultant who is a member of the Wake County School Board. There are also three Democrats in the race.
Smoot served for some 30 years as a classroom teacher, and was a full professor at North Carolina State Universityâ€™s English Department before retiring.
She served as director of the Office of Academic Programs in the Reagan Administration, supervising a worldwide exchange programs. She also served on the National Humanities Council under Dr. Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Chaney.
She earned her BA degree in Spanish and Literature at Eckerd College (Florida Presbyterian), and her doctorate in Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.
She has been married for 37 years to David Smoot, a Realtor-developer, and is the mother of four children.
Some other points Smoot makes in her campaign.
Â· See that teachers are empowered to teach and that every single child, regardless of educational level, is challenged to learn.
Â· Provide for local control of schools and accountability with reasonable and verifiable testing standards.Establish a standard of discipline and respect in the classroom so that the learning process can proceed without distraction.by Albert Dozier