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The Issues

Achievement and Inclusion for All Students

Currently, economically disadvantaged and minority students are still not attaining the strong learning outcomes of other students. I believe the gap, presumed and real, is a reflection of top-down standardized testing, ineffective curriculum and over discipline in our schools. Additionally, these and other families often do not feel comfortable or knowledgeable about navigating our public school system. We need to make all families feel more welcome in our schools by providing more cultural competency training to our teachers and administrators and building this competency into our schools' curriculum. We should also be supporting our teachers in providing more holistic evaluations of our students and reducing the amount of standardized testing. To better serve all students we can be doing more to utilize progressive curriculum focusing on interdisciplinary, project-based work that will help children have access to STEM education without sacrificing their arts, humanities, PE and civics education.

Testing and Performance Data

We need to re-think testing and evaluations of our students and our schools. The focus of testing should not be to determine school funding or to create punitive outcomes for teachers.  Instead we need evaluations that support students and define the right placement/path for individual students and groups of students. There are many evaluative methods – aside from testing – and we should be exploring whether some of these will be helpful in evaluating student performance and schools’ delivery of services. When we do use testing we should ensure that it is developmentally appropriate, culturally competent and delivered in a way that is accessible to children with different challenges and abilities. We should be taking advantage of our teachers in the classrooms to provide relevant assessments of our students.

Teacher Support

Teachers should have what they need – from competitive pay to classroom resources – to provide engaging learning experiences for children. With reductions in standardized testing we can refocus dollars on better professional development for teachers so they can provide higher levels of support to our students.

Charter Schools

Public education is not a business. It is a service. Public services should be transparent and accountable to community oversight. Charter schools are neither. Corporate owned and run charters are businesses that will answer to their investors who expect a financial return. Our children will suffer as the demand for more return on investment grows. Traditional public schools also answer to their investors, the tax payers. We also expect a return on investment. A great education for our children and better citizens for our future communities.

Paid for by Citizens for Andre Helmstetter