Les Harper

Buhl School District
Zone 2

Candidate Responses

What do you believe is the fundamental role of education?
The fundamental role of education is to help students think objectively. To teach students how to think not what to think. To prepare students academically to face the challenges they will confront in the workplace. Education should help students develop into an adult who contributes to humanity and thinks for themselves.
How would you promote rigorous academic instruction and excellence in your school district?
Schools need to set academic standards for students and monitor their achievements along the way. Schools need to equip students with the tool to succeed through instructional and supportive methods both at school and at home. Students need to demonstrate their achievements. There needs to be teacher/administration accountability. Schools need to utilize community volunteers along with parents to work with students that need additional help with reading, math, grammar etc.
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?”
CRT is a belief system that teaches that racism is present in everything and that it is systemic. CRT is nothing like teaching the actual history of this country. True History needs to be taught in the schools so students can learn from the past and look to the future. Those espousing CRT want to focus on only the negative aspects of history and not the positives achievements that this great nation has contributed to the world.
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 helps students work on skills such as coping with feelings, resolving conflict and interpersonal skills. I don’t encourage the implementation of SEL in the schools. Parents should be responsible for teaching their children these skills. Schools need to concentrate their efforts on academics and vocational skills.
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 would respond by telling the ISBDE that schools need to focus resources on academic/vocational skills. Teachers should not attend or be required to attend these kinds of training. If necessary they can complete these on line. There are very few, if any, instances where there is widespread anti-racist practices, social injustice or implicit bias on the part of teachers.
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?
Schools should NOT teach sex education in the schools. This is the responsibility of the parents. If taught, the curriculum should not include instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity. Parents and guardians should definitely be required to provide consent, and or accompaniment, before their children participate in any kind of sex education curriculum so they are aware of what their children are being taught.
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?
School districts should inform the ISB’s Association that students will be required to use the bathroom of their biological sex (either male or female) with no exceptions.
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?
Masks have been proven ineffective in stopping the transmission of viruses. I am against mask mandates. I do not support social distancing or any other policies or practices designed to mitigate the effects of covid-19 or any other virus. If an employee, parent or student feels safer wearing a mask they should have that freedom of choice.