Mesa Unified School District
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1. Are you a precinct committeeman? If yes, for how long?
Yes, about 2 years
2. Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you run for school board?
When my daughter was facing the start of kindergarten I was increasingly concerned about the world she was going to grow up in. Who would her friends be and what would the future voters and workers of America be like? Too many children are failing the basic fundamentals of learning and are ignorant about history and the founding principles of this country. I decided to run for school board to be a positive voice and influence for strong academic learning and patriotism.
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?
Schools should not be the institution for all child rearing and social engineering of development, which they have become. However, I understand that there are parents who either don't teach or don't want to teach their children about their bodies and the biological changes of puberty and expect it to be done at school. It should only be opt in and offered before or after school or during free time or lunch so not to take away from the purpose of the school day. Parents should be able to opt out of anything in their school. Minimum age of at least 10 years old.
4. Do you support the idea of parents being the sole stakeholders in their children’s lives?
Yes, not just the idea it is a fundamental right.
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?
We need to remove all agenda driven curriculum and politics out of the classroom. This includes the display of Pride flags. Political display is not allowed by law and the argument can easily be made that such displays are political. We have time tested curriculum available that has a proven track record of success. Such curriculum is used in the "Blue Ribbon" awarded schools from the Dept. of Ed, yet it's not to be found in most public schools. That is simply put, wrong. I am not familiar with Corwin Press. I am opposed to Bloom365 because education is not a social emotional support centers and no curriculum will make a teacher qualified to act as a counselor or mental health professional. These issues should be referred out.
6. Based on the limitations and powers of a school board member, what’s your platform?
The school board duties in the legislation are fairly broad. We need to write policies that bring the balance of power away from administration and back to the elected board. We do not need the NSBA or ASBA. I have curriculum recommendations I will fight for the district to adopt such as Spalding Phonics and the Hillsdale 1776 curriculum. The board does vote on curriculum. We need in person tutoring which we can develop with community volunteers and colleges. The students are too far behind to get caught up in the classroom alone.
7. What do you believe to be the biggest issue impacting K-12 students in Arizona?
It's the learning loss. They are not performing at their assigned grade level. We are losing generations due to illiteracy and inability to problem solve.
8. How do you think the state should support public education? Do you believe in expanding school vouchers?
The state should not remove the Aggregate Expenditure Limit in the AZ Constitution. It should not cost more than half of the state's budget to run education. The state needs to consolidate some of these really small school districts to eliminate administrative roles. I support the new legislation for school choice.
9. Do you have a plan to fund renovations of schools in your area that are run down?
I believe the district should hire an efficiency expert to eliminate redundant roles and make recommendations to reduce waste. That would be a cost up front but would save millions the district could use for building improvements.
10. Do you have a plan to address the shortage of teachers?
Mesa increased the starting salary of teachers to $50,000 which should really help attract teachers. But many teachers aren't leaving because of money, they are frustrated at all the work placed on them. We could change this by removing the SEL and other student assessments that are related to social engineering, let teachers set their own goals for their classroom, bring in community volunteers for special teaching topics, and lastly, the district needs to stop changing the goal posts for lessons so the teachers don't have to spend their time off in training and lesson prep.
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?
Yes, it's not just mass shootings either there are other problems in schools such as students destroying property. Mesa can't even have all the bathrooms open because of the behavior of the students.
12. Please feel free to add any additional information you would like voters to know about your candidacy.
Please visit my website to learn more about me. ElectRachelWalden.com