Scottsdale Unified School District
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1. Are you a precinct committeeman? If yes, for how long?
Yes. Appointed in 2021 and Elected in 2022
2. Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you run for school board?
I chose to run because I am a mother of six children educated in our district schools. I was not paying attention to our local school board before COVID happened. Like me, most people I talk to in the community had no idea how important and influential school board members are until the pandemic opened our eyes. The disruption to learning during that season opened my eyes to the need for further parental involvement and stronger leadership in our public schools, and that spurred me to run for a seat on the Scottsdale school board. Serving on the board would be an extension of my life mission: to strengthen children, families, education and community. We must elect proven parent leaders who have been invested and involved in our local schools all along and not just during election season.
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?
I believe parents should be the ones to teach sexual education to their children. Parents should have the ability to review the curriculum and opt their child in to any sexual education being taught in schools.
4. Do you support the idea of parents being the sole stakeholders in their children’s lives?
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?
Parents send their children to school to be educated in the core subjects and want to see a refocus on academic excellence in our schools. The classroom is not the place for culture wars, and we must put our efforts into developing and strengthening our students' interests instead of their identities. Our public schools must set high standards and provide quality, ideologically neutral education for all students to thrive. I have not seen curricula or programming from Bloom365 or Corwin Press in our schools yet, but I will continue to be on the lookout for it.
6. Based on the limitations and powers of a school board member, what’s your platform?
Strong communities have strong public schools, and I'm committed to ensuring that our budget and curriculum are focused on giving all of our children opportunities to thrive. Our public schools should be the top education option in the neighborhood and an institution our community can be proud of. Our public schools should focus on educating our children and ensuring they are prepared with the necessary skills to successfully go to college or enter the workforce after graduation. However, it's vital that we look at the recent School Climate survey results, which showed that only 21% of the 6-12th grade students surveyed say they enjoy learning, while only 33% said they like school. We must find ways to reengage our students and provide them opportunities to develop a love for learning and the school communities they are a part of. As your next school board member, I am dedicated to ensuring that every action I take puts the success and well-being of our students first. I'm also committed to cultivating an environment of trust through transparency and accountability. Furthermore, we must fully welcome our parents onto our school campuses and listen to their desires as respected partners in their child's educational experience.
7. What do you believe to be the biggest issue impacting K-12 students in Arizona?
While there are many areas of improvement for the Scottsdale Unified School District, one of the most important is our ability to retain and attract quality educators and students. It’s vital that district leaders do the work to find out the truth of why people at all levels are leaving our schools (or not coming in the first place.). And then we must pivot to create a culture and educational experience people want to be a part of. We can’t have strong public schools unless we support our quality teachers and make sure more money makes it into their pockets and classrooms first. Our teachers have been overwhelmed and many feel forced to go along with policies or ideologies they don’t believe in. We must ensure our teachers are appreciated and adequately supported in educating our children.
8. How do you think the state should support public education? Do you believe in expanding school vouchers?
I believe strong communities have strong public schools. Families shouldn’t have to look elsewhere for the rigorous academics and well-rounded extracurricular experiences they desire for their students. Our two youngest sons have always been eligible for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts since they were adopted from Arizona’s foster care system. As their parents, we are able to take their state educational dollars and educate them how we see fit. Fortunately, we have not needed to utilize an ESA because we have found the schools in our community to be a good fit for each of our children individually and for us as a family too. While my family has had a positive experience, the reality is that many of our community members are choosing other education options over our local public schools. We must support their choice while looking into why this is happening and strive to bring them back. Now is the time to elect school board members that are serious about listening to the community and making our public schools the number option in our local communities.
9. Do you have a plan to fund renovations of schools in your area that are run down?
Our district continues to prioritize financing the renovations of our schools, several of which are underway right now.
10. Do you have a plan to address the shortage of teachers?
As I said, our district's ability to retain and attract educators is a critical area for improvement. Leaders must find out the truth about why people at all levels are leaving our schools and then pivot to create a culture and educational environment that people want to be a part of. We can’t have strong public schools unless we support our quality teachers and make sure more money makes it into their pockets and classrooms first.
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?
School safety must continue to be a priority in Scottsdale Unified. The safety of our students and staff is of utmost concern. I have met with our Superintendent Dr. Scott Menzel to inquire about the district’s plan for continuing to strengthen school safety and have voiced my desire to have School Resource Officers on every campus, including our elementary schools which are currently not staffed. I support and welcome the discussion of bringing in retired military or police officers to staff our schools as well.
12. Please feel free to add any additional information you would like voters to know about your candidacy.
You can learn more about me and my campaign for the Scottsdale Unified School Board at https://amycarneyforsusd.com or on social media channels @amycarney4susd