Anna Van Hoek
Higley Unified School District
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1. Are you a precinct committeeman? If yes, for how long?
Yes, in LD14 for about 4 or 5 years now.
2. Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you run for school board?
I have been a long time parental right advocate and will do whatever I can to make sure that the main priority is the students. I will also work hard to have school practices and curriculum that will benefit the students and not any political agenda. Last but certainly not least, we need to make sure parental rights are acknowledged in our schools. I have 25+ years of experience in finance, analytics and accounting which I will utilize to ensure that the budget and district spending is transparent to taxpayers and appropriately allocated. I have excellent communication skills and work well as a team. I will utilize these skills to collaborate with the other board members, ask questions instead of rubber stamping everything placed in front of me, make sure the community is informed of the actions being taken by the board and the progresses and challenges the district faces.
3. Do you support sexual education of children in the classroom? At what age do you believe this is appropriate, and do you believe that a parent should have the opportunity to opt out?
Diversity in cultures and values does not allow for a one-size-fits-all sex education. I support health, anatomy, and hygiene instruction, based in biology. Materials should be available to parents, and consent must be required.
4. Do you support the idea of parents being the sole stakeholders in their children’s lives?
Absolutely! We as parents have the primary vested interest in our children. We know them best and know what is best for them. We do not co-parent with anyone in government or in schools.
5. What is your position on critical race theory, social-emotional learning, LGBTQ inclusion, and equity issues in the classroom? What do you know of Bloom365 and Corwin Press and what are your opinions?
I do not support any of these ideologies being promoted or taught in our schools. The primary function of schools is to educate, and schools are failing our children in basic academics. Our focus must return to core subject matters. I like the idea of using the 1776 curriculum and glad that the bill to have schools teach civics passed.
6. Based on the limitations and powers of a school board member, what’s your platform?
Parental Rights and Parent Involvement Academic Accountability Spending and Curriculum Transparency
7. What do you believe to be the biggest issue impacting K-12 students in Arizona?
The pandemic and politics wreaked havoc on our kids and their educations. Most of our students have suffered learning loss, and the existing achievement gaps have become even greater. If you look at the most current HUSD data available (2020-2021), all age groups in math, proficient and highly proficient combined was only 56% and ELA was 58%. These numbers are terrible. It is imperative that we return to our original mission of providing an excellent education and focus on academic rigor. The foundation for future learning requires the ability to read. As required, all HUSD students should be reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Target early literacy: ensure quality professional development for teachers is available, and support literacy coaches.
8. How do you think the state should support public education? Do you believe in expanding school vouchers?
I believe the state needs to ensure the focus of public schools is directed back to education. Academics shouldn’t take a backseat to social issues. Education is the great equalizer. A well-educated populace is vital to our society, but education is not one size fits all. Parents have a right to choose whatever education method is best for their children. ESA forces schools to do better in order to retain the students. I support an ESA For All/Universal ESA program that does not discriminate against any student. All children deserve to have access to the best educational environment for their individual needs, available to them.
9. Do you have a plan to fund renovations of schools in your area that are run down?
Yes, renovations are necessary to make sure the schools are in a safe and appealing condition. I will add that a bond or override should only be requested after exhausting all other budgeting possibilities. If and when the district requires additional funds, we must be transparent with the community and accountable for the funds we’ve spent. Every attempt should be made to live within our means. It is our duty to be good stewards of taxpayer funding. Should we need to go back to our community to ask even more of them, we should present a detailed plan that includes specifics about how the money will be spent, and how we will position the district so that it is not an ongoing, necessary renewal upon expiration. We must be fiscally responsible. Just like our personal budgets, we should remain within what we can afford.
10. Do you have a plan to address the shortage of teachers?
Good teachers are being driven out of the profession (or out of public schools) by teachers’ unions and their woke agenda. The key to retaining good teachers is to get rid of CRT, DEI, SEL and to enforce discipline in the classroom to allow kids to learn and teachers to teach. Teachers will do better if pay is aligned with performance, not seniority. I have no problem with an outstanding teacher being paid well. I have a problem with seniority pay and collective bargaining that removes incentives for performance. The teachers’ unions control public schools, they are to blame for the problems that public schools have. Money is not the issue in HUSD as the staff has received a 40% pay increase since 2018. The unions are the problem. Get rid of the unions, and good teachers will come and stay.
11. Do you support allowing retired military or police officers, who pass background checks, to work or volunteer in our schools to prevent mass shootings?
I believe having SROs in schools is crucial for the safety of students. SRO's also have a positive impact on the lives of the children by building relationships that could last a lifetime. My SRO from High School was instrumental in my life by checking in with me to make sure I was staying on the right path. He did this with all the students. He even helped me 5 years after high school when I decided to join the police force.
12. Please feel free to add any additional information you would like voters to know about your candidacy.
I would like the district to thrive and be very desirable to parents for them to want to bring their children to Higley. I am motivated and am known to go above and beyond to ensure all the students' needs are met in order for them to learn and be successful.