1. What knowledge and skills do you think kids need to succeed in the 21st century? What can you do as a legislator to make sure local schools deliver these outcomes?
⦁ Enhanced technology skills
⦁ Positive self-talk with consistent mentor-ship
⦁ Adaptability to fast-changing environments
⦁ Ability to work well with multiple personality styles
⦁ KNOW THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
2. What can the state legislature do to ensure districts can attract and retain good teachers, meet accreditation standards and federal mandates, and prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century?
First, eliminate accreditation standards centered on licensure and focus on finding skilled teachers within specific subject matters.
Second, eliminate federal mandates. The Department of Education is among the worst use of our tax dollars. They deliver few benefits and have only muddied the waters of what education truly consists of.
Third, clean up the politically surged teacher unions.
3. What priority will you place as a legislator on providing appropriate educational programs for students with disability and other special populations such as gifted students, at-risk students and students in poverty?
I would make sure that the money that is set aside for such students is actually used to the fullest advantage. Misuse of funds and other failures to meet IDEA laws should result in loss of that funding. As far as providing programming, I would like to see an increase in effective social skills curriculum, as well as better access to higher education opportunities.
4. Given the risk of school shootings and other violent acts committed on school properties, what can and should our elected officials do to ensure the safety of the students and teachers in our schools?
The best resource we can use are those teachers and staff members who wish to protect themselves and their students by any means necessary. Teachers are still citizens who have the constitutional right to bear arms for protection, and that should not be limited to the world outside the walls of our public schools. Other forms could include strategically placed metal detectors, as well as persistent emergency drills. A well-prepared school is a protected school.
5. What is your position on school choice and vouchers or tax credits for private and parochial schools in Montana?
School choice should be of upmost importance to the taxpaying parents within our communities. Parents should be able to choose which school is best for their child to attend, despite the boundaries they live in. If a child has an interest they want to pursue, they should be able to attend a school that can and will foster that interest. If a parent wishes to educate their child in a setting specific to the needs of the child, that should be an option for them.
6. How should the state contribute to much-needed funding for aging school facilities, infrastructure, and outdated technology needs in our schools?
Stop paying for other things that we don’t need. The state needs to reprioritize where money is going, and if the receiving programs are working or not. Unfortunately, the way to alleviate this issue is to start cutting programs that are not effective. We need to consolidate our elementary schools, sell the properties, and put it back into the school system. It’s going to take some tough decision making, but with some grit and spit, we can clean up the schools and our community as a whole quite nicely. But the waste has got to go.
7. Currently the school district takes advantage of funding provided by non-school district sources to provide food programs for hungry students and affordable and convenient access to health care. Do you support such programs? Why or why not?
Yes, the school district does take advantage of such programs. Almost overzealously. Of course, I support programs that ensure our children are fed and taken care of medically. But, this question cannot be fully answered without looking at the full picture of poverty in our community. The cycle of poverty is vicious and without incentives to overcome that poverty, the issue – an EXPENSIVE issue- will plague citizens until it is rectified.