Autumn Clark

Minidoka County School District
Zone 4
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Candidate Responses

What do you believe is the fundamental role of education?
It is to provide consistent and foundational education in the basics of Math, English, Science, History, Literature, Art, and Music. It should be the goal of educators to provide a firm foundation in the basics and encourage excitement and the ability of each student to learn on their own throughout their life. A successful education is one that provides students with the skills to pursue whatever success or education level they choose throughout their lives.
How would you promote rigorous academic instruction and excellence in your school district?
Rigorous academic instruction consists of three parts. Qualified educators, quality curriculum or access to quality information, and involved and engaged parents in all aspects and stages of education. I believe promoting and encouraging all three of these aspects will produce a student with a strong educational footing for their future.
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?”
Critical Race Theory is the modern version of racism and segregation wrapped up in a false bow of intellectualism. CRT in my opinion should never be implemented in any form in education. It teaches some children, based on their skin color, to think like victims instead of teaching them to be successful overcomers of the challenges that life presents and it teaches other kids, that simply because of their skin color they are evil and don't deserve anything they work for. CRT is designed to cause divide and judgement and it does not teach history in a factual unbiased way. CRT is a political thought process and has no place in any classroom.
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?
SEL is a shallow political way to confuse and obstruct the social construct of the family unit. A child naturally learns how to interact mentally and emotionally with others in a school environment. Putting the teachers in the place of forming the emotional development of their students is not their job. Parents are the ones who should be primarily responsible for the emotional development of their child. Teachers should be encouraged to come along side parents to help foster the development of good emotional health and character development. Any program or educational method that seeks to supplant the role of parents should never be implemented.
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?
I believe that every one of these programs has their base in political activism and actually has nothing to do with the fundamental education of our children. As a mother of a mixed race family I can state with certainty that children do not see race. They see people. The concept of race or deciphering between people based on skin color is something that adults teach to children and it is wrong under any circumstance. We should instead be focused on respecting each individual as a human being and making decisions based on someone's character and not on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Teachers should not be forced to attend any training that is nothing but politicized activism that causes them a crisis of conscience about the best way to teach their students.
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?
I believe that sex education is important but it should primarily be taught in the home and supplemented at school. The curriculum should be scientifically based. The curriculum should state scientific facts such as there are only two genders and sexual orientation should have no place in the discussion. Whenever something having to do with sex, reproduction, and bodily autonomy is part of the educational discourse the parents should be consulted every single time. They should be given full access to what is being taught, how it is being taught, and whether they want their student to be involved.
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?
If these things are going to be forced on a school, then each school should provide four separate bathrooms and locker rooms. One for boys, one for girls, one for boys who identify as girls, and one for girls who identify as boys. This provides a place that is safe and comfortable for each group. Forcing the grouping of all of these groups in circumstances where they feel the most vulnerable is a recipe for disaster. Having a separate bathroom and locker room guarantees that each of these groups are safe and eliminates the potential for physical or emotional harm, and reduces the chances of lawsuits.
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?
There are numerous studies and the CDC has also admitted that face masks do nothing to stop or mitigate the spread of COVID-19. At this point COVID-19 should be treated like the flu. Children should be kept home while they are sick. If parents and teachers feel more comfortable wearing or sending their child to school with a mask on, that is their choice and should be respected but there should be no mask mandates enforced in school. I will not support a vaccine mandate of any kind. When it comes to the health and safety of their children that decision should be left up to the parents and the school should stay completely out of it.