In an interview last week on the Rick & Donna Martinez Show on WPTF, Matson said the biggest difference between her and Martin is their views on "equity from district to district in terms of program offerings." She said "we need to focus on equity across the board, from district to district, so students don't have be to bused to the other side of the county to get something they can not get in their own district."
"Right now If you look at the map and you look at where magnet schools are, and you look at outlying areas, you'll see that certain individuals have to travel a very, very far distance in order too benefit from some of the magnet programs," Matson said.
I have no problem with magnets. My kids have attended magnets. But I do believe that there should be more equity from district to district in terms of what's offered.
So as they come out with this choice plan, are these choices that are fair and equitable from district to district? Is it really right that a school can have five foreign languages when some are just getting their first foreign language this year. I don't believe that is, and I'd like to see more equity across the board for all children."
Matson said another difference between her and Martin is his focus on diversity. Matson, as you guys may recall, was a critic of the diversity policy as far back as a decade ago when she formed Assignment By Choice.
"There needs to be less of a focus on the diversity, the diversity, the diversity," Matson said. "Again as I mentioned earlier, we have more minorities in the system than non-minorities.
We need to focus on how we're going to help these students achieve: what programs we're going to put in place, how we can support these teachers and how we can cut spending in other areas and channel that money into the classroom so that the students are getting the best education they can."
Martin, whose children attend Enloe High, has been an outspoken supporter of the magnet school program and for having a diversity policy.
Also during the interview, Matson talked about how she's finally coming to see to fruition all the changes in student assignment she had fought for many years ago with ABC. She said she wants to be on the board to help implement the changes, saying a lot of work still has to be done.
Matson praised the board majority and Superintendent Tony Tata, pointing to decreases in the dropout rate and increases in test scores.
"I completely support the decisions that have been made by the current administration," Matson said.
Matson said she wants to strengthen vocational programs to help students who aren't destined for college.
Matson also extensively praised the KIPP Schools, saying she's "a huge advocate for the model." She said she wants Wake to be able to brag about the same graduation rates as the KIPP Schools.
Matson closed out the interview touting her endorsement from U.S. Senator Richard Burr, saying she "was very humbled and honored by that."
"We have a lot of similarities in how we feel about education," Matson said of the Republican senator. "We both are strong advocates for vocational technical. We both recognize the demands, just in our region, for more skilled workers, and we're both very concerned about the fiscal health of our economy on a local and national level.
And quite honestly I'd like to emulate him because he's extremely knowledgeable, very approachable and very genuine. And I look to represent the people in a very similar fashion."