After several years of personal frustration with our local schools and the failure of the Board of Education to respond to our issues, I'm left with no choice but to run for the board myself. Here's what I would like the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to do:
Cooperate: There is an increasingly diverse number of education programs available on the peninsula. Each building or program administrator, and KPBSD in general, should cooperate, eagerly and wholeheartedly, with each of these educational opportunities. Some examples: When the new charter school asks the established middle school if they can use the library, the middle school administrator should respond "Why sure, we can rearrange our schedule easily, after all we're here all the time. Would you like to check out our wet lab too?"
When a group from a tutoring center decides to transfer to the high school, that school's principal should make every effort to find an appropriate class schedule for them, not
Occupation: Homemaker, handyman
Family: spouse, Tamara; children, Iris (9) and Rye (7)
Residency in Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula Borough: 15 years
Education: High school grad (1970) odd bits of college and tech schools
Service organization memberships: Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies Board of Directors since 2000
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question the validity of their transcripts. When a Bush district develops a home-school support program that actually works and enrolls thousands in their first year of operation, our district should seek to cooperate with them, share resources, funnel some funds their way, maybe even contract with them to administer our distance delivery program, not go sniveling to the state about out-of-district funding.
Diversify: The Board of Education and district administration should encourage the greatest possible diversity among the various program units in the district. Sites should set their own focus. Teachers should choose their own curriculum. Parents should choose where and when to enroll an individual student. Charters should be encouraged and the charter process should be simplified. Charter schools should be allowed to engage in competitive enrollment. Existing sites might be encouraged to write a charter. McNeil Canyon Elementary School, for instance, would be an ideal candidate for a K-12 open classroom, every child with an Independent Learning Plan (ILP) charter school. The folks at Chapman Elementary may want to consider chartering their unique take on appropriate teaching style. I'm sure there are other examples all across the peninsula that I haven't had the opportunity to become familiar with. The "standard curriculum" should be put on the shelf.
Privatize: KPBSD needs to find a mechanism for funding private tutoring programs. We could reimburse parents for the cost of each course needed to fulfill an Individual Learning Plan, more or less on Galena's I.D.E.A. model, but with more funds available, and without restrictions on "establishing schools." Or we may need to consider a flat voucher for a complete program from a single provider. District interference into alternative programs should be kept to a minimum.
I believe I'm the only candidate who's interested in making significant changes in the way publicly funded education is delivered on the Kenai Peninsula and in Alaska. If any of these ideas is appealing to you, please vote for me on Oct. 2.
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