Zone 7: Ryan Davis

With election day coming up November 3rd, Ryan Davis is one of the two candidates to represent Zone 7 for our local school board. Candidate Davis, an alum of Central High and former staffer for The Tiger student newspaper, focuses his campaign on five main principles. 

“I am weighted to the idea that schools are the most important commonwealth,” said Davis, inspired by his own Little Rock education. The overall theme of Davis’s goals and platform is ensuring that all students, district-wide, have an equal and quality education. 

Beginning with Davis’s first priority, he aspires to help create a flexible emergency plan to keep schools safe and healthy.

 “One of the things that has come out of this pandemic and the honorable attempts of the district to mitigate these circumstances is the fact that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone,” said Davis. He plans to find a multifaceted solution that can work for everyone including educators, students, parents, and district professionals.

Another one of Davis’s priorities includes enforcing “resource and facility equity for every child in every school.” Davis said examples of resource equity are designating Chromebooks for each student, or having the training necessary for every teacher to be successful in their work. Because Zone 7 includes the highest number of schools at nine and the oldest buildings, Davis includes facility resources as a part of his goals as well. Over the years, he’s noticed teachers complain about the increasingly poor state of their classrooms and buildings in general. Davis plans to improve each school environment by ensuring that campuses are properly being sustained.

Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline is another of Davis’s intentions. 

“There is a certain level of– if not bias aforethought– then bias in action, of how particularly black male students are designated for alternative learning environments, suspensions, and expulsions,” Davis said. 

He believes that the solution to this issue is to rethink and repurpose the roles of school resource officers in order to ensure that school is not a jailhouse or an institution that affects how students end up in the prison system.

Transparency and formal means of a community input make up Davis’s fourth priority.  His concern stems from the school board previously making decisions before turning to the community, suggesting that people outside of the board are perhaps unimportant. 

“From the conversations I’ve had and the things that I’ve witnessed,” Davis said, “folks don’t believe that we’re in a space where we even need to consider raising taxes in a district that operates in secret.” 

If elected, candidate Davis plans to change how community input is formally received in order to ensure that the voters that elect the board are being heard. 

Candidate Davis’ fifth and final priority also lies within representation. He plans to work toward better due process so that teachers can be heard and fairly represented by the LREA in particular. Coming from a family with four generations of teachers, Davis explains that he has a natural respect for educators.

With his own daughters entering the school district, candidate Davis hopes to find solutions to problems that have arisen over time. Davis said he has noticed that while equity has always been an issue, school closures and failing schools have been increasing in recent years, as have conflicts with school zoning as well. 

“I’d like to emphasize that while many things have not changed overall,” said Davis, “many underlying issues have been greatly exacerbated by inaction or actions working further away from solutions.”  

According to candidate Davis, being a part of Central and The Tiger newspaper staff greatly shaped his work and aspirations. After using The Tiger as a creative outlet to focus mainly on editorials and human interest stories, Davis continued journalism in college and briefly gained some experience working with local newspapers. Davis has pride in his high school education and the time he served with The Tiger.