Tuesday will see the end of the 2006 election season, when either longtime incumbent Carl Johnson or challenger Sharon Webb wins the runoff election for the District 6 Memphis school board position.
In a joint appearance before attendees at Saturday's monthly Dutch Treat Luncheon, the two candidates took markedly different positions on a number of issues.
On discipline in the classroom, for example, Johnson, who finished just short of an absolute majority on November 7th, argued for "temperate" behavior on the part of faculty, maintaining, "If you precipitate a fight, you'll get a fight....Our business is teaching." He saw little use for "reform schools" as such.
Webb saw things totally otherwise, making the case for what she called "alternative boarding schools" because too many students in the Memphis system "don't know discipline."
And, while Johnson insisted that Memphis' was "the best school system in the country," Webb's response was, "If our system is the best in the nation, our nation is in trouble."
Beyond their differences of opinion are other issues. While Johnson has his admirers, he has had occasional clashes with colleagues over the years and is considered inflexible and pedantic by some. Webb, a Whitehaven-based minister and member of the newly elected Charter Commission, has critics who have challenged the validity of her academic credentials and question her commitment to the separation of church and state.