Wake Ed

Common Core critic files for seat on Wake County school board

Gil Pagan filed Wednesday to run against incumbent Jim Martin for the District 6 seat on the Wake County school board.

Pagan, who describes himself on his website as “a successful business owner and local employer with a national reach,” says he’s running on a four-point platform. Pagan says he wants to limit and modify Common Core, have less testing for kids, provide more services for kids with special needs and let kids sleep more by starting school later.

“If you believe Common Core makes no sense, talk to Gil,” Pagan says on a campaign video. “If you believe, our kids are tested too much. talk to Gil.

“If you believe we need more services dedicated to our children with special needs, talk to Gil. And if you believe our kids are getting up too early to go to school, talk to Gil.”

Pagan also has two more points listed on his platform online: less paperwork for teachers and improve job readiness for high school graduates.

Pagan says he’s a first-generation college graduate and transplant from the northeast who came to Wake County 10 years ago.

Pagan is a registered Republican in the officially non-partisan race running against Martin, a registered Democrat. Pagan, both on his campaign website and campaign Facebook page, talks about issues that appeal to Republicans.

For instance, Pagan contends that Common Core should be modified because it requires students to perform at a higher level than their cognitive abilities.

“I believe we need to develop individualized lesson plans for those kids that can’t perform at the higher level,” Pagan says on his campaign page. “A ‘one size’ fits all approach does not work in the K-12 environment.”

On a Facebook post, Pagan expresses his support for providing vouchers for students to attend private schools and creating Achievement School Districts that would allow charter-school operators to take over low-performing traditional public schools.

“The underlying issue is the public school system in certain parts of the state is struggling and these are ideas that are being shared to make them better,” Pagan says on his campaign Facebook page. “All options should be considered for our kids.”

Pagan’s views on Common Core, Opportunity Scholarships and Achievement Districts put him on the opposite side of Martin, who has been highly critical of the Republican-led General Assembly.

Martin, who was elected in 2011, said in his campaign announcement that his “educational and policy expertise have proved invaluable as the Board has become a stable governing body whose focus is high quality education for all students.”

Both men are running in the new lines the General Assembly created for District 6, which includes parts of Garner, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina. The filing period ends July 1.