What do you believe is the fundamental role of education?
Proficiency in core subject… reading, writing, math, along with the sciences, art, music, P.E., and civics.
I believe our education system should prepare students for real life. Whether it is college, starting their own business, or the vocation of their choosing.
I am a strong supporter of extracurricular actives of any kind that promote teamwork, fitness, or exceling in talents or skills. Communities may also be a source for these activities.
How would you promote rigorous academic instruction and excellence in your school district?
The Covid challenges we face have changed things temporarily. Normally, a curriculum would be based upon what was learned the previous year, but with the significant loss of learning, we need to find where students currently are and move forward from there. Teachers need to be able to tailor lessons based on needs of students, regardless of standards or curriculum for that current grade level. Concepts cannot be skipped or passed over quickly.
My hope is that by being mindful of where students currently are instead of presenting instruction based upon current grade level standards, we will help students make up for lost time learning and they will progress more quickly with fewer gaps in their educational journey. We need to make sure our students move quickly to catch up from Covid learning loss with no “holes” in their learning.
One other issue I see is severely overcrowded classes. I recently spoke with my daughter’s middle school teacher who has 29 students in a class period with only 59 minutes a day for instruction. She is struggling to keep up and is doing her best to help individually but is unable to offer personalized instruction to the extent she would like based on sheer numbers. I believe it is unacceptable and absolutely much be a first priority.
I heard an interview recently of a teacher who felt hampered by district policy. Her frustration stems from her inability to prepare students for what it will be like in the “real world of hard knocks”. She was concerned about time to teach content and maintain a vigorous academic environment. I want to look into what policies teachers feel are effective and what ones have not been shown to be effective. I want to hear the voices of teachers. Over all, I have heard many teachers say that they are afraid to speak out for fear of repercussions. I do not mind differences in opinion, I welcome input, and feel teachers need not worry to have their voices heard. I would like to change policy based on teacher input in order to become more effective and rigorous at a national level. I recently spoke to my brother-in-law who works for a company and handles billions of dollars. He said recent graduates complain about having to show up every day and feel they need more time to themselves for exercise, studying for extra certifications, and for recreation. These employees have a great job, but will not keep their job if they are unable to do the work and perform duties meeting expectation. I believe this is what the teacher being interview was referring to. Our students need to be prepared to compete.
I would like to look at curriculum and testing. I want to be sure we research to be sure our curriculum is effective. Testing should target students’ needs and help teachers intervene in a timely way (before the end of the year). Testing should take hours, not days.
There are other issues for sure that are equally important, but these are a few I have recently hear concerns about.
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 (CRT) is a philosophy or ideology that is based upon the idea that the founding of our country was not based upon a desire for freedom. Instead, it was based upon a desire to protect the slave trade. It is a theory that teaches that even now in our country, black people are oppressed because of their skin color and white people are the oppressors because of their skin color. The founders of CRT believe all American institutions created by our founders are based on white supremacy and should be dismantled. Some examples of American institutions include the Constitution, our justice system (including the police-as we have already witnessed...), and Judeo Christian religions, and values and so much more.
The 1619 Project is closely related to Critical Race Theory. This ideology subscribes to the belief that our country was not founded in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Instead, the belief is that The United States of America was founded in 1619 when the first slaves arrived in America.
There is so much more to Critical Race and other related ideologies than just this. It becomes easier to understand how parts of the ideology are put into children’s books and have infiltrated curriculums when the basis for the theories is understood.
Critical Race Theory is an ideology, not history. It is a belief system that teaches young children to judge based on the color of a person’s skin, and has an anti-America bias. Why would we as Americans preach anti-American ideologies? It not only does not belong in a classroom, adults need to be aware of the divisive nature of the ideology. We need to find things we have in common, judge people based on the “content of their hearts” and support the culture of America or we will lose it.
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 have several thoughts on SEL. I am still learning about this, but here is what I have found.
I love the Danielson Model of teaching. The most important thing in the Danielson Model is developing a relationship with your students. I whole heartedly agree with this concept. SEL is not developing a relationship, it crosses the line into counseling children.
I read the curriculum as it appears on the SD 25 website. It seems like there are so many empowering lessons for children who may be struggling. However, teachers are not trained counselors and should not be encouraged to replace family or counseling. Not only do they not have time to counsel along with teaching content, counseling is not their educational background. I talked to two counselors about this and they agreed with the danger in having an untrained teacher be forced to teach concepts that may trigger children in a classroom setting.
The family is taken out of the equation for the child when dealing with difficult things in life. Parents are made to seem as if they are not capable of understanding, manipulative, or unqualified to help.This is taking the most important foundation a child has for success away.
SEL lends itself to other things. In the additional materials online, there is an Anti-racism/Bias link. This is Critical Race. The SEL curriculum in my sister’s children’s school in Texas promotes gender fluidity.
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?
The governor has issues a ban on Critical Race being forced onto our students. Anti-racism is CRT. Implicit bias training is CRT. Our school boards need to comply with this mandate.
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?
No school districts should not be required to teach sex education. This is a local decision. I think science, anatomy, and body function should be taught in science, but sex education is different from this. If there is a lesson or course with sex education involved, parents should always be aware and give permission for any teaching of sensitive topics such as this. Parents need access to the curriculum as well.
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?
The governor has issued a decision on this as well. He has said that transgender students need to be allowed to use a separate transgender bathroom. I support this decision.
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?
Teachers and students who choose to wear a mask for health, personal or religious reasons need to have that choice respected. Likewise, teachers and students that choose not to wear a mask should be regarded with equal deference.
I listened to many people at the last board meeting about masks who expressed deep concerns about the welfare of children. I have talked to moms who have expressed concern regarding children who have been bullied over wearing masks, who have serious concerns for the health of their family and want nothing more than to protect family members at risk. I have also talked to moms and dads who have serious concerns about the negative effects upon their children from constantly wearing masks. I have personally talked to my doctor about both the physical and the mental issues having to do with COVID and masks and received his advice. I’ve listened to parents talk about depression, suicidal thoughts and the dramatic increase in suicide among pre-teens. I've visited with a mom who watched her kindergartner struggle with a life threatening health problem exacerbated by wearing a mask, and those, including my own family, who have lost a family member to COVID. My sweet mother and father-in-law are currently struggling in the hospital with COVID. This is a divisive topic and I have people I love on both sides of the conversation. There is no definite consensus among doctors, professionals, and parents. We need to show love and respect to people regardless of their personal or medical opinions on masks. I stand by my statement from Moms for Liberty. We do not co-parent with the government.
Since the coronavirus can be transmitted through aerosolized virus, as well as touch, mitigation strategies having to do with ventilation and sanitation of surfaces are important. The virus is too small for regular masks to be effective, and are only effective with body fluids. When children touch the mask and then touch a surface, they are spreading the germs from their body fluids onto everything they touch. Distancing is important, but ventilation and sanitation are key.