Candidate Profile: John Nels Anderson, Seat 4, Soldotna

NCLB data should be tool, not mandate

Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Residence: 303 Diane Lane, Soldotna, AK 99669

Mail address: Same

Contacts: 262-3280, home; 262-4164, office

Age: 59

Years in the borough: 25

Family: Wife, Carla, and seven children

Occupation: Doctor

Education: Bachelor's and master's degrees in biochemistry, doctor of medicine, residency in family practice, fellowship in obstetrics and gynecology

Previous elected office: School board (1993-present)

Organizations: Boy Scouts, American Fertility Society, race marshal for Tustumena 200 sled dog race

1. What are the three biggest challenges facing the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District?

I suspect the issues that will occupy the most time are:

a. Funding including healthcare, retirement and equalization of the area cost differential,

b. Contract negotiations,

c. Investigating the competency based advancement of students.

2. How will you address these challenges?

a. I and the other board members continue to work for fair and equitable funding

b. I hope negotiations are cooperative and short

c. I favor competency rather than seat time advancement, but this is an issue the board will discuss at length with the public to see if this is a community desire.

3. What will you do to ensure the district is funded equitably by the state?

In honesty the board has limited ability to affect funding period.

Judging by the responses I have received, my article in the Anchorage Daily News has brought the fairness issue to the legislature. I commend representative Mike Chenault and other local politicians for putting their careers on the line to spearhead the issue.

4. For the third year Alaska reported schools that did and did not meet adequate yearly progress targets. Twelve KPBSD schools did not meet AYP, eight of those for the first time. How will you help schools meet these targets?

Everyone wants accountability and everyone supports providing the opportunity for every child to reach his maximum potential. However, the NCLB legislation based on the nonexistent "Houston Miracle" was a well-intended mistake by both political parties. It is both theoretically and practically impossible to reach the 2012 goals. All schools will fail by then. I am not particularly concerned if a school is deficient in one or two of the 31 requirements required by NCLB to pass. I believe we should use the NCLB data to help identify real deficiencies and correct them. A discussion of any individual schools failings would require more space than is available.

5. How does your role as a school board member benefit the people of your district, including students, families, teachers and others?

With all board action, I try and ask "Is it good for kids". Hopefully this will encourage policy, which is in everyone's best interest. The board does not and should not interfere in the internal operations of the schools. We do however help individuals to contact the appropriate person to help them with individual problems. I suspect knowing the board is aware of a problem may facilitate resolution of the problem. Personally, I am always happy to talk with anyone about school questions or philosophy.

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