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Pre-school teacher says she has the energy needed to shake up school board

By Candace Bennett
On October 7, 2004

Orleans Parish schools suffer from lack of parental and community commitment to assist in enhancing education in failing schools. That is why Cynthia Cade, a candidate for the Orleans Parish School Board, District 2, believes she has the drive, strength and dedication to ensure that the Orleans Parish School system becomes a success.

Cade said she is outraged at the New Orleans area educational system’s “down hill” movement. She believes that she can reroute these problems by strengthening student achievement and accountability, enforcing administration accountability and creating parental partnerships.

“Without theses three, you will always have a lapse in student learning,” said Cade.

These goals have not been met, she said, due to the lack of complete accountability of parents, faculty and administration. Since many schools that are located within Orleans parish are elementary schools, parental partnership is essential.

Growing up in the New Orleans area, Cade has always been interested in educating young people. She attended Joseph F. Clark Senior High School, and continued her education at Southern University in New Orleans. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and is currently matriculating at the University of New Orleans in pursuit of her master’s degree in counseling and guidance.

Cade has been the director and administrator for her own business, Angel’s Academy Preschool and Infant Care Center for 24 years. She educates and teaches preschool children on the basics such as numbers and the alphabet and always gives them homework assignments such as reading the newspaper with their parents everyday.

“I have always had the desire to work with children in their preschool years. I saw the need for a day care center because the New Orleans area lacks money,” said Cade. Preparing children for the challenges they will endure, she said, gives her pleasure as she can contribute to their progress to higher levels of learning.

Cade has experience with fundraising events for nonprofit organizations and political leaders, and she has also generated support for causes that increase community interest and involvement.
Cade implemented child assessment programs to help parents and teachers identify skills and behaviors that the child has developed, and to plan learning experiences that facilitates growth.

She has created and maintained a quality instructional program as well as conducted quarterly parent/teacher organizational meetings. She continuously counsels and motivates parents to recognize and understand the needs and problems of children, while working in conjunction with social workers from various programs.

While dedicating her services and working with her day care center, she finds time in her schedule to give back to her community through various community service organizations. Cade participates with the Women on the Move for Change, The Women’s Network for Concerned Citizens and Child Care Association of Greater New Orleans, Southern University at New Orleans Alumni Association, the Young Women’s Christian Association, and the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee.

For Cade, a major issue that is affecting the school system is the L. E. A. P. exam. Many students are failing this standardized examination due to the lack of commitment from parents, teachers and the community, she said. Even though the L.E.A.P. tests students to determine the skills that students have retained over the years, Cade does not think that the LEAP test is necessary.

“There should be some form of measurement but not a punishment,” said Cade. “It should be a challenge as well as a joyous task to learn.”

“We’re different individuals and we learn differently. The L.E.A.P. is proven injustice because we are all different and its one way to be administered,” she said.

Even though the L.E.A.P. testing is the primary issue affecting the school systems, according to Cade, there are several more issues that she believes need to be rapidly addressed.

Cade said the Orleans Parish School Board office is located in the middle of the community, but it does not address the problems directly.

“The School Board should not be used as a corporate office between 8 a.m.-3 p.m. It should be there in the community to help parents and children in the community,” siad Cade.

“Many years ago, the School Board strived to push the ‘open arms’ motto but it has not been enforced for a long period of time.”

Many changes need to be made, she said, to upgrade the method for training qualified employees.

“There needs to be more in-service training for staff and even an in-service training for parents,” siad Cade.

In most schools, there is a shortage of resources for children and teachers to adequately use in the classrooms. Due to these issues, she said, New Orleans is ranked last under the Mississippi area. The education factor is poor and disadvantaged.

“My definition of education is the complete awakening and the empowerment of the people of the community,” said Cade.

Who is to blame? “Those who don’t get involved and the communities not coming together as one is the total blame,” according to Cade. “It is uncomfortable for me to see the school system fall under like this.”

Her feelings towards her opponent are fairly positive except she said she embodies the qualifications and skills needed to fulfill the task.

“I think that he’s a wonderful doctor and person. He had the opportunity to ensure a job well done, but now its time for a new vision,” siad Cade. “I know by pulling individuals together, I will be better suited for the job.”

“Ready to Reform Our Schools and Ready to Fight For Our Kids,” is what Cade plans to stand by if elected for the position.

“It is my desire to work with the community and give a keen ear to the problems while acting as a liaison to the superintendent to see that the policies are properly implemented,” said Cade.

It’s almost like we are stealing from the poor when these children cannot get the proper education they really need,” Cade said. “This is all we have and I say it may be broken so let’s fix it for the best interest of our children.”


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