Priorities, priorities: here are mine (and seven others’ lists)

On March 13, the League of Women Voters held its Candidate Forum for the D214 election.  Due to the number of candidates and the one hour length, each candidate had very little time to answer questions posed, but I want to revisit it nonetheless for the key question asked of each candidate:  what are your priorities?  You can see my response at about the 33 minute mark, as posted on YouTube.

Here are all the responses, by candidate:

Millie Palmer

  1. With the return to in-school, focus on social and emotional learning.
  2. Diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  3. Technology and communication in the district.

Richard Menninga

  1. Open schools — and keeping schools open.
  2. Make up for lost learning-year.
  3. Massive budget issues, due to track closing, unemployment, etc.

Lenny Walker

  1. Safe schools/safe spaces/welcoming and supporting, drug-free.
  2. Social and emotional learning.
  3. DEI plan.
  4. Balanced budget.

Jackie Ryan

  1. Regain in-person instruction as robust and safely as possible for all students.
  2. Equity and safe schools.
  3. Fiscal responsibility/cost savings/reduce administrative costs.

Mark Hineman

  1. Choices available for students and parents for return-to-school, and in general.
  2. Finances are solid.
  3.  No third priority?

Andrea Rauch

  1. Maintaining safety and security of all students using CARES Act money.
  2. Creating inclusive environment for students & staff.
  3. Social and emotional needs, e.g., students not returning to school for economic reasons.

Tony Rosselli

  1. Get schools open and keep them open.
  2. Technology re-evaluation/zoom is not robust.
  3. Re-evaluate the budget.

Elizabeth Bauer — yes, me!

  1. Find means of enabling continuing home learning as needed while eliminating the requirement that teachers divide their time.
  2. Address achievement disparities by demographics.
  3. Evaluate whether there is an appropriate balance between career pathways and fine arts.

Do you, as I do, find it a bit rich that after 14 years of complete control over the School Board, the Supporters of District 214 Slate has now “discovered” their new issue of DEI, which they might have, oh, say, sought to address at any point in the past 14 years?

Do you wonder whether Walker and Hineman have problems with counting to three?

Do you question what the “Slate” candidates have in mind with “social and emotional learning,” particularly since the one school with a “slot” in its school day for this, RMHS with its “Seminar” class, has had it removed?

In any event, I will remind readers that these are, indeed, my concerns outside of the governance and transparency issues so connected  up with the school closings: the short-term concern of getting at-home and in-person learning right, and the longer-term issues of working on achievement disparities plus keeping career pathways and the desire for “top achievement” balanced with students’ other needs, the fine arts, and other programs.

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