I am not professing to have all the answers. But I do believe, that when working together, a group of people can make a significant difference. I was privileged to attend a screening of the movie, Waiting for ‘Superman’, a year or so ago. While I don’t remember all of the specifics about the movie, I do remember that educational progress and success was achieved in areas of the country where nothing had ever worked before. Expectations were set, and they were conquered. With local control at these schools, principals were able to inspire students to be all that they could be, and in return, students were truly educated. Local control is one of the keys to educational excellence. It is the people closest to the students that have the best insight on how to invigorate learning.
Classroom management is another key to education’s success. This challenge has existed forever, but seems to be getting worse with each passing year. We live in such a litigious society, that many are afraid to enforce basic rules in the classroom. This burden is shared by both the teachers and their administrators. Too often we compromise the right for 28 children to be educated, because one child is disrupting the learning environment. We need to make it possible for teachers to be able to remove students with inappropriate behavior from their classrooms. Principals will then need the ability to work with parents and these students to make good classroom etiquette the more desirable option. This can be accomplished in a wide variety of ways from parent interventions in the classroom to behavior classes. Some schools in our state have implemented fines for tardies and other classroom infractions. The precise solution should be determined by the principal, as once again, those closest to the students, are the ones most qualified to know their needs.
So how will I help these goals become reality?
- First, I would like to see the members of the Board work together to see that the education opportunities for students in Utah are the best they possibly can be. According to an African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Working together with members of the Board, members of the legislature, principals, parents, and concerned citizens of our community, multiplies the effect that any single individual can render.
- Second, I would want to not only bring my expertise in education to the Board, but also bring the needs, desires, and concerns of those families in my district to light. Being a member of the Board is not just about making important decisions, but it is also about representing the people in your district.
- Third, I really believe that the school system has areas where it can be run more efficiently. There is an old saying: “Creativity is the mother of invention.” I sincerely believe this to be true. As with business, cuts need to be made to improve the bottom line. I don’t think that education is immune to this principle.
I am a firm believer in striving to always do everything to my utmost potential. There are great things happening in our schools, but they can be better. I am committed to bringing “better” things into our schools. You can count on me to represent you, as your next State Board of Education member.