Stephanie Auran is a candidate for the School Board in ISD 197. She has provided the following answers to our standard 10 questions for candidates.
1. What should be the overall goal of a public school education? Knowing that children have different gifts and needs, how should student achievement be evaluated?
The overall goal of public-school education should be to educate to the children ensuring that they are challenged according to their level. The school should be aware of local resources that they can share with families if additional support is needed. The school should not take the place of a parent/guardian or professionals who are trained to address mental health or other personal subjects. The school should support our children in their education in a respectful, unbiased manner. Bob Reese addressed this by noting the school has no mission statement. A mission statement is required to identify boundaries so educators can perform in their lane and focus on education without getting sidetracked with things that are not directly educating our children. By attempting to take on the role of family/guardians and other professionals, the school is failing at what school is tasked to do… educate the children.
2. How should teacher performance be evaluated? What can be done to improve underachieving teachers ’performance or encourage teachers to continue their own education?
Before teachers can be evaluated, they must be able to teach the subjects they are trained to teach. It is unfair to evaluate a teacher’s performance without first evaluating the performance of the administration and school board and clearly understanding what constraints teachers are forced to work within. I would solicit input from teachers and school administration on how performance is currently evaluated and learn what they believe is the best way to evaluate going forward. I would solicit parental input (questionnaire/survey) on what is going well and what is lacking from their perspective.
3. Do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system? How?
I see myself smack dab in the middle. One group cannot work or be effective without the other. My goal is to strengthen the relationship between the school and the community to best serve our students and support our effective teachers. Part of this is holding the administration and board accountable. They are the school leaders.
4. What would your priorities be for your first year as a board member? Why and how did you choose these issues?
5. What do you think is the greatest challenge in District 197? What are your ideas for addressing this challenge?
I believe the greatest challenge is identifying and removing ideologies and theories that do not directly educate our children in reading, writing, math, civics, history, and foreign language. Anything that creates division has no place in the school.
6. What motivates you to want to become a school board member for district 197?
My children attend school in the district. They along with their friends and peers are our neighbors and future leaders. It is our responsibility to ensure they are given every opportunity to become strong, self-sufficient, and respectable members or our community. Without a solid education, their futures are limited and lead to dependency on others which is a form of slavery. Every child should have the basic means to be free and in control of their future. Discussions and lessons of sexual preference and identity is very personal and have no place in a school.
7. What do you think about vouchers? Tuition tax credits? Charter schools? School choice?
I support a parent/guardians (AKA taxpayers) choice to choose the educational institution that best fits their needs and values. Underperforming schools should not automatically get financial support simply because of their location. There is little incentive to do better or to be good stewards without healthy competition. Competition naturally elevates standards and lets the cream to rise to the top. The education of children is a top priority and a necessity of a healthy and successful society. Schools that are investing in and supporting great teachers and supporting their students by providing a solid education in a non-toxic environment should be rewarded with business. Teachers who are doing well should be rewarded financially. Teachers shouldn’t be compensated according to longevity but on effectiveness and results. The same goes for administration. I wouldn’t patronize a restaurant with low quality food or poor service nor would do business with a company that does not respect my values or has motives that are not in my best interest. Our tax dollars shouldn’t be used this way either.
8. What is your opinion of District 197’s policies toward students with behavior problems and school discipline in general?
I need more information in this area. I believe there should be programs (outside of the classroom) that creates a supportive environment where students can be tutored and/or mentored and get extra help. I have a few ideas and would solicit input of teachers and the administration. Stay tuned.
9. What is your understanding of Critical Race Theory and how does it fit within District 197’s current teacher development program?
Treating anyone differently because of their skin tone is racism. Assuming a child may need special services or a "boost" to keep up with their peers because of their ethnic background is ignorant and insulting. Everyone has the right to feel safe and respected. Implementing programs that challenge kids and support them in reaching their potential will give them and earned confidence and the skills to become self-sufficient adults prepared to support their families and contribute to their community and country. Initiatives that minimize the importance of one child to elevate another are toxic. Continually changing who the school serves and how based on an individual’s traits will be a never-ending quest and one where the only thing we lose is the chance for our children to succeed in life. I don’t believe CRT should be any part of an educational system nor do I believe taxpayer dollars should be spent on teaching our educators how to teach our children to focus on the students’ differences through the lens of race.
10. In what areas are District 197 residents getting value for their money? Are there any in which they are not? What would be an idea for saving the district money?
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