As a former member of the Salt Lake City School Board, I consistently supported reasonable decisions of our neighborhood local schools even if I didn't agree with them. Under state law, local School Community Councils have legislative power to speak on behalf of their schools. In order to improve our schools, teachers and parents need more choices in our public school system.
All of our children deserve a quality education! North Davis students, low-income students, and minority students need community leaders who will fight for resources to help them become educated citizens not wards of the state. We cannot afford to allow our children to lag behind the rest of the world while students from other countries take away better paying jobs. Residents have demanded better education for years. We have waited too long for real educational reform. VOTE NOW FOR CHANGE!
Our parents and students deserve greater choices in education.
Public education must change to meet the individual needs of our children. We need parent and teacher-driven schools in the second largest school district in Utah. Our district is too big to be operated from the top-down. Through existing state law, our local school community councils can easily become powerful voices at our local schools for change. We can allow our elementary schools to decide how to assess their own students. Then by having practical uniform testing of students in middle or junior high schools, school districts will be able to look for both weaknesses and strengths in the different approaches that various local elementary schools undertake to address individual student needs. As a former School Board member in Salt Lake City, I have a track record of supporting local school decision-making. For instance even though I personally disliked the architectual design that East High had submitted to the School Board for their new building for approval, I supported their decision because it was their decision, not a District decision. Of course, Hollywood also disagreed with me and used the new East High School building for their set location in High School Musical (2006).
Teachers and parents working together making their own decisions will enable our children to get the quality education they deserve and better able to qualify for, obtain, and enjoy better paying jobs. By having State statutory law authorizing local school community councils exclusive power of the use of School Trust Land funds allocated to local schools, teachers and parents can begin to influence real substantive decisions as to how crucial resources are to be directed to improve the quality of education for their students. One day, local school community councils may even be entrusted with the authority to hire and fire its own school principal. Local school decision-making directs responsibility back to teachers and parents giving them more personal investment and incentive to increase their personal involvement in schools and make better decisions that are unique to the individual needs of students in their schools.
Our children deserve a real-world educational schedule and life experience
Develop a pilot demonstration project enabling several high schools and their feeder schools to have year-round schooling to improve academic outcomes that fit better with parents’ year-round, real world work schedule. Students will have a better likelihood to succeed in school without the loss of knowledge that often occurs when students are out of school for three months. Many parents will be better able to schedule vacation time with their families with a school schedule that is more in line with their own work schedule. Utah can begin to transform our schools into better used public education community resource centers for students and residents throughout the year instead of letting them sit idle, wasting taxpayer money during the summer. By providing incentive grants to local schools to design schools for the entire community using modular designs, school buildings can be transformed with flexible building pods allowing various rooms to house various programs to meet the unique needs of changing neighborhoods. The sight of ugly detached add-on mobile rooms can be eliminated. Areas for private and public contractors to provide for childcare or even social services to residents, the elderly can be made available. Libraries can be consolidated. Community education facilities can be used by adults throughout the year and into the evening hours in all our schools and decreasing the opportunities for our public school buildings to be vandalized and making better use of your taxpayer dollars.
Our teenagers deserve help in getting the best jobs possible. By increasing the academic and real-world rigor of our school curriculum, all high school seniors in their final year of high school could receive on-the-job training through real world education-business partnerships. We can introduce business and professional mentors for one-on-one assessment and support. Instead of depending solely on letter grades to evaluate how our students are doing, using naturalistic evaluation methods such as narrative evaluations by local business people and professionals in the real world, both students and prospective employers can truly begin to understand each individuals' strengths and weaknesses such as those used by New College, Sarasota Florida where I went to school. I want to explore the possibility of developing paid internships or apprenticeships with local business and be able for the State to invest in its students by extending free college educational opportunities if students commit to working in Utah.
OUR SCHOOLS DESERVE SPECIAL EDUCATION
& MENTAL HEALTH
All our children and teachers deserve help. Too many teachers and students have to contend with other students who have emotional and behavioral problems. Parents are forced to wait years for psychological testing of their children. Instead students before entering into our public schools need to be offered free psychological and mental health screenings (with parental opt out options available) so that needed individualized educational plans and services can be identified and provided as required by law. Our schools need more mental health and special education personnel to work with these students so our teachers will actually be able to teach. These additional personnel can provide the services to help these students learn and perform better. Additionally, more mental health resources will afford an opportunity to spot for trouble that a student may be having, such as students at risk for suicide or acting out in a violent way. All our children deserve a better education.