1. Please briefly describe your background (education, family, occupation, etc).
I am a proud father of 8 children; one in college, six in the public education system, and the last still at home (4 years old). My father was a coach at a Jr. high and taught a number classes. I am an entrepreneur and accountant. I have a Masters Degree in International Finance and a BS in Finance. I am a landlord and business owner. I have spent the last 5 years learning and watching the Utah public education system. I attend most board meetings and have helped to found a couple public charter schools. Red Apple Financial, one of the companies I own, provides back office support to a handful of public charter schools. I believe in parents and I believe in teachers.
2. Why did you decide to run for school board, and what do you hope to accomplish if elected?
I am running to be the spokesperson of parents and teachers in Weber County. I intend to be a public servant, not a professional politician. Far too many times I have entered the Polls only to find a number of school board candidates running unopposed. This is important to me and it is important to my children. We need to get this right.
3. If elected, would you support adopting Texas' new state history standards with slight modifications to include important Utah facts?
I am very supportive of this standard. If love of country is to be learned, it must be learned at an early age. But remember, the battle must be taken to the classroom. That's where all the action is. Changing standards may make a political statement, but it will be meaningless to our kids if it doesn't get to the classroom. There's lots of amazing teachers in Utah who, if given the chance, would love to be teaching these kinds of standards. However, too many restrictions, too much programming, too many district rules, too many politically correct textbooks and way too much bureaucracy make their job really tough. That being said, I would be a loud advocate for this standard, especially if you want me to be. Elected reps should be the voice.
4. How would you handle a problem with an administrator, i.e. an administrator is engaging in unethical behavior, or lying to a parent, etc.
This is really a sad question. I believe we all know the answer. The reason it is rarely handled correctly is because there is a fear of being sued or of experiencing some opposition from groups with political ambitions. We need to have the courage to do what's best for students, come what may. I watched the superintendant of Washington DC Schools stand up against such pressure when she fired a group of teachers who needed to go; and she did it for the students. Legal counsel and well meaning Educators discouraged her, but she did it anyway. In the end, the voice of reason gave way and there was no reprisal. In short, administrators engaging in unethical behavior need to be redirected to another field of work, regardless of legal consequences. Of course, I am interested in knowing why you have asked that question and would be happy to express any opinions you may have to the State School Board.
5. If elected, would you support replacing Utah's current math standards, or only slightly adjusting from, the standards of an international leader like Singapore or Japan or even one of the top math states in America like Massachusetts? See http://www.utahsmathfuture.com/
Please continue to send me your opinions on these important issues. I am very supportive of Singapore Math. Along with passing new standards, lets provide the way to train teachers and get this down to the classroom level.
6. How would you encourage and support more parental involvement in the schools and with the board itself?
I'm not sure. I have been asking myself the same question. Wouldn't it be neat if parents in a school district knew the issues being voted on and expressed their opinion on a regular basis to their representative? Perhaps a blog, website or email group could facilitate this dialogue. Maybe town meetings with teachers and parents would work. I am still working on this question and would love to hear your ideas. It's a definite need.
7. Are you interested in taking a class on the US Constitution and would you encourage the teaching of the Constitution in the schools in the words of our Founding Fathers?
You know these questions are pretty telling about your group. In my opinion, and it sounds like yours as well, this amazing and inspired document is rarely looked at in its proper light in public schools. This needs to be more than a standard, it needs to be a culture. I would love to take a class on the US Constitution and would highly encourage the teaching of the Constitution in the schools.
8. When you take your oath of office as a school board member, you swear to protect the constitution from domestic enemies. What type of domestic enemy do you see as possibly affecting our educational system?
Domestic enemies tend to emerge while we are sleeping and unawares. As parents have shifted the responsibility of educating their children to the state more and more, well meaning policy makers and guardians of the institution itself become domestic enemies. Those who would take away our freedoms, and the freedom of our kids to learn the truth in public school in the name of protecting funding or their own job are domestic enemies. Forgive me if I have been too harsh. This is not a time in history when we have the luxury of beating around the bush. You and I have a lot of work to do. And yes, I think public ed is the best place to start.