Jen Mangrum, career educator, is running against Phil Berger, North Carolina’s Senate President Pro Tem.

As teacher Justin Parmenter explains here, this is truly a battle of David vs. Goliath. Berger is the most powerful politician in the state.

Berger tried and failed to get Jen kicked off the ballot. She persisted.

Justin says if Jen can upset Berger, it would change the political landscape of the entire state.

Jen is a teacher and a professor of education at UNC-Greensboro.

She took up this challenge knowing that the odds were long, but somebody had to challenge the bully.

Jen was endorsed by the Network for Public Education Action Fund. Here is her website.

In the most recent short session, proponents of public education were eagerly waiting for the General Assembly to take up a proposed $1.9 billion school bond for inclusion on the November general election ballot. The bond would have helped address $8.1 billion in statewide capital needs identified by the Department of Public Instruction in 2015-16. It enjoyed bipartisan rank and file support and sponsorship by chairs of education committees in both the House and the Senate. Again, Phil Berger would not allow the legislation to move forward. It’s incredibly frustrating that one individual who doesn’t share the values most of us have can prevent much-needed progress, but Jen reminded me that voters ultimately decide whether he keeps that power or not.

In terms of her own vision for education in North Carolina, Jen supports paying teachers fairly to demonstrate that we value public education in our state. She would like to see masters pay reinstated as well as the full Teaching Fellows Program which was eliminated by the General Assembly in 2011. She would like to see a reduction in the testing volume which is currently not developmentally appropriate and narrows the curriculum, leaving less time and attention to the arts, the sciences, and social studies in the elementary grades. She supports moves toward determining the success of our schools using multiple measures, trusting teachers as professionals and giving them the creative freedom that they need to do their jobs. Jen wants to see North Carolina known nationally for its birth to pre-K, k-12, and higher education continuum and believes that electing pro-education legislators is the key to seeing that transformation come true.

Call your friends and neighbors if you live in Berger’s district. To save public education and restore it, get to work to elect Jen Mangrum.

If every teacher, every teacher’s spouse, and every parent with a child in public school got out to vote, Berger would be heading for retirement.

Jen is in it to win it.