We asked candidates for state and local office to tell us about their views on public education. Here are their answers.

Our Schools First sent a survey to every candidate for state legislature, Iredell County Commission, and Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education. OS1 does not endorse or recommend candidates in the 2018 Election–we simply wanted to provide the following information to help guide voters in their decision.


Allen Edwards, MD


Qualifications and Experience

I am a medical doctor and a father and have first-hand knowledge of problems in our healthcare system, from the perspective both as a provider and as a consumer. I have run a business as a sole proprietor and know the importance of monitoring and reducing expenses while treating employees fairly and paying them well. I earned my diploma in public school and my degrees from our great state-supported university system, so I know the value of public education. Having grown up on a farm, I know the meaning and value of hard work.


I was born and raised in rural Union County, NC, one of four sons of a farmer-turned-machinist and a high school valedictorian turned mother and homemaker. I attended public school, played football and ran track in high school, and was valedictorian of my high school class in 1972. I studied chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I earned a Phi Beta Kappa key. I studied medicine at the UNC School of Medicine and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. After completing my residency in Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina and returning to my home state, I practiced emergency medicine for about five years before starting my career in occupational medicine. I operated a successful solo practice in Charlotte for about five years. I have been a resident of Iredell County for over 30 years. I have spent the last 18 years providing medical care for the employees of companies in and around Hickory, NC. I have two children, both grown and married, one grandson and one step-granddaughter, and two grown stepdaughters, . My wife, Susan, and I enjoy snow skiing, gardening, paddle boarding, taking care of our two dogs, and DIY projects. Together, we have taken several medical mission trips to Honduras.


OS1 Questions

1. Do you believe that all children in Iredell County, regardless of where they live, are entitled to the same quality of education?

Yes. A child does not choose his/her birthplace nor the economic status of his/her family and should not be deprived of educational opportunities based upon these factors.

2. Do you think that all children in Iredell County are currently receiving the same quality of education?

“Quality of education” is difficult to define and measure, but the large discrepancy in academic outcomes among our schools indicates we are not providing every school what it needs for all of our children to succeed.

3. Do you think that the level of funding for public schools in North Carolina is adequate? If not, do you think it’s the County’s or the State’s responsibility to increase public education funding?

In the 2017-18 school year, per-pupil spending in North Carolina is 39th out of the 50 states. The amount we spend on the student support services is near the bottom. Overall funding is inadequate. It is primarily the State’s responsibility to increase funding.

4. Do you support the proposed Iredell County ¼ cent sales tax increase on the November 6, 2018 ballot?

In principle, I do not support increasing taxes that fall disproportionately on the poor, as do sales taxes. However, given the economic and political realities we face and the importance of increasing funding for student safety, I support the proposed 1/4 cent sales tax increase.

5. If you do support the proposed sales tax increase, do you believe that the local School Boards are best equipped to decide how to use additional sales tax revenue for our schools? If not, who is best equipped to make these decisions?

Local School Boards should decide how to use the additional funds that are generated locally.

6. Are you aware of the recent North Carolina School Report Card which graded all schools in the Iredell County? 

Yes. The unmistakable conclusion from the results of the Report Card is that economically disadvantaged students produce poorer measures of academic achievement. The secondary conclusion is that we are not providing the student support services needed for those children to succeed (see question #3).