What do you believe is the fundamental role of education?
I believe in the traditional role of education where students are taught reading, writing, arithmetic, history, language skills, science, as well as physical, industrial arts, etc. all to enable an individual to either continue on through college or to immediately step out into society as a productive citizen.
How would you promote rigorous academic instruction and excellence in your school district?
First of all, we have to stop the stuff that's distracting and get back to our basic fundamental roles, as mentioned above. We need to give students opportunities to excel (or sometimes just succeed) and recognize them when they do. We need to provide the infrastructure to all students; the teachers, the proper instruction, classes, hands on experiences, etc. Then we need to build on successes year after year.
Another aspect of this is getting the public excited about our schools. Public enthusiasm seems to permeate the school and its students. While I don't have all the answers, I believe better communication between the school administration and the public would go a long way.
How do you define Critical Race Theory? When implemented in school policies and curriculum, do you think Critical Race Theory differs from simply “teaching history?”
After deciding to run for the school board, I have been looking more into CRT and I really can't define it. In my opinion, CRT is a political stick being used to beat on each other and tear our society apart. When implemented, it may start to teach true history but the intent seems to change to divisionary indoctrination. I believe CRT has no place in the school. Our children need know that they treat everyone with courtesy and respect, period.
Again, CRT is not the right tool nor has a place in schools. It places too much focus on diversity, too much on inequality, too much on the characteristics it denounces. I agree that true history should be taught... the good things that have been done should be recognized. Of course there are bad and some really ugly things that need taught and reminded of too. However, the focus should be more on learning from our collective past, inclusiveness and bringing everyone together vs. dividing them. There are ways to teach truth, without singling out segments of our population and indoctrinating them to believe they are oppressed, maybe not as good as others, and that others owe them. My heart breaks just thinking about how that kind of teaching affects kids.
All children are priceless and I am not seeing that one truth being taught in CRT.
How do you define Social Emotional Learning (SEL)? Would you encourage the implementation of any SEL model in your school district? If so, which model and why?
I think at its core, we are all continually in a state of social emotional learning. Notice I did not capitalize that as it is intended to portray normal human interactions. We are all social creatures that have good and bad days. Some of us have struggles that others don't. No matter our struggles or situations, we need to learn how to get along and engage society in productive manners.
From my understanding of SEL as it is being presented, it is simply a framework to teach social justice and other far left ideas. It is more concerned about equity then truth. In my continuing research on SEL, I have even run across statements arguing that emotionally it may be better to teach 2+2=5. So they argue it is better to lie to and mislead children than to teach them truth? I just can't get behind this kind of thing.
I do not support this type of SEL in the school system as it takes away from what the educators are supposed to be teaching our children and introduces other problems.
How would you respond to the Idaho State Board and Department of Education’s recent dissemination of resources such as the SEL Roadmap for Reopening Schools, which argues that schools should adopt anti-racist practices, focus on social justice, and conduct staff-wide implicit bias trainings? Should teachers be required to attend these kinds of trainings?
At what point do we quit playing games, trying to be and teach new social justice warriors, and get back to doing our job educating our kids. If I am not mistaken, there are already laws concerning and prosecuting racist practices. Teachers do not go into the education system to promote their biases toward children. That would be against their teaching character.
Do I believe there are situations where teachers need a little help with abnormal situations that come up? Absolutely, I do. This is where I believe the teachers may need a little more training. Maybe councilors need to be more involved to help these kids. Maybe the councilors need more training or maybe even to refer the kid to better help. I am not against these kinds of trainings but blanket, staff-wide bias, social justice, and anti-racist trainings... no.
I'm trying to think of examples of teachers and students treating each other with a racial or other bias and I'm coming up blank. It's been my experience that even if there's a small problem, the teachers correct the problem on the spot. I guess what I'm saying is I am not really witnessing these racial inequalities in our local schools, and I'm not going to introduce a system that will introduce the problem that we're trying to stop. I think our students and faculty do a great job of taking care of each other, supporting each other, and treating each other with respect.
Now if some of these issues started to appear and were allowed a starting foothold in our schools, I would probably want to see some remedial training, correcting teachers and students, so they treat each other with the respect we all deserve as human beings.
In the meantime, how many more of these programs are we going to interject into our school systems, disrupting the basic education system. I am not happy with how our schools rate in regards to basic educational topics. We are suppose to be teaching English, Reading, Writing, Math, Science, etc. to give our kids the tools they need to interact with the world ahead of them. SEL as it is being portrayed and CRT, are quite frankly, taking away the resources we need to be teaching our children other correct principles and introducing problematic ideas into our student body.
Should your school district be required to teach a sex education curriculum? If so, should this curriculum include instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity? Should parents and guardians be required to provide consent before their children participate in any sex education curriculum?
For the most part, I do not believe sex education should be a part of the curriculum. I don't believe that sex education curriculums, involving sexual orientation and gender identity, has any place in a school district. That quite frankly, should be between kids and their parents, who know them best.
Parent's should always be notified and required to consent to any sexual education curriculum.
How should school districts respond to the Idaho School Boards Association’s recommendation that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify?
To me this is a safety issue much more than a gender identity issue. We can all name a boy or two in our own histories that would identify as a girl just to be able to get into the girls bathroom for a chance at a peak. This recommendation eliminates that required safe place for all our girls.
Furthermore and sorry to be crude about this, but boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. The penis belongs in the boys room and the vagina belongs in the girls room. In my opinion, anything other than that is not being true to our children and facilitating viewpoints that have and will always cause more harm than good.
Do you support mask mandates in schools as a COVID-19 mitigation strategy? Do you support implementation of any other policies or practices designed to mitigate the effects of COVID-19?
I absolutely do not support mask mandates, I believe there's enough information to prove them ineffective at best. I also do not believe we have seen the true effects these masks have had on our children, whether you're talking the social aspects or the long term medical implications. I fully believe our entire medical industry has failed us when it comes to COVID. There has been no comprehensive, real world, practical methodology as to dealing with COVID. There's been no attempt to help people understand how their immune systems will respond to this and what they can do to stop COVID. All we've been told is 'social distance,' 'wear a mask,' and 'get the vaccine.' We all know that COVID-19 has turned into another political stick to beat people with. Our current responses are not appropriate.
As far as mitigation strategies, I believe in the tried and true. Among other things, get decent rest, get good nutrition and exercise. It's important that people wash their hands with soap and water, use hand sanitizer when soap and water isn't available, and to stay home when one is sick. Those are responsible things to do. We have heard these things our entire lives and they work.
I do know there are other technologies available, that will help mitigate the spread in confined spaces, that are worth looking into.
Add to all this that I am a firm believer in our Constitution and Bill of Rights and other laws that guarantee our individual freedoms. There is no time when it is appropriate for me or anyone else to mandate what another person is to put into or on their bodies. That is their right and decision, period.