Candidate views: John Nels Anderson, Seat 4, Soldotna

Board should consider kids first

Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I would like to talk about my philosophy of school board service. I believe board members should represent all students and not an area. I believe the basis for board decisions should be, "Is it good for kids?" I also believe that political philosophies should be left outside board discussions and decisions. It is my belief that each board member should read their prepared information and present pertinent questions to the administration enough in advance to allow for them to prepare before board work sessions or meetings.

I believe each board member should be humble enough to learn how to become a good board member by listening to those with experience and by taking training offered by the Alaska Association of School Boards. I also believe experienced board members are always continuing to learn and adapt to new situations. I believe board members should be able to work cooperatively with each other and with administration.

If we end up appointing new members to the school board these will be among my main criteria for selection. I believe those currently running for election should show the public how they have or will follow these principles.

In saying the board should be as apolitical as possible, I do not mean to imply that board members should not have causes or ideas they champion. Personally I am very hopeful, improved distance delivery will allow our best teachers to teach kids all over the Kenai Peninsula. I am concerned that a lot of the young people I deal with read poorly in-spite of our great attention to that issue. (Part of this may be societal with parents who do not read with their children or perhaps competition with TV and computers for reading time.) I am interested in what the community feels about competency-based advancement in schools. I have a real concern that nowhere in our curriculum logic and ethics are specifically taught. The anarchy in New Orleans is only one example of why they are needed.

I am concerned about the recruiting of athletes in the central peninsula area. Outside of the local board, I have concerns that some home school students are not being educated. I believe each parent has the right to determine how their children are schooled, but I do not believe that parents have the right to not educate their children. There are enough exceptions to the usual fine schooling given by home school parents that some mechanism is needed to assure that all students are learning.

Lastly, I commend to all, Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat. He has raised the need for much improved Science and Technology education if we hope to keep our advantage in manufacturing and ideas. This may help to keep from outsourcing all our jobs to places like India and China.

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