We asked all candidates to fill out a survey and our group has chosen to endorse, recommend or not recommend based on their answers. Here are Ada Wilson’s responses that shows that she is a great representative for our teachers, students and parents!
How do you define SEL strategies and what do you believe it does in the classroom?
SEL – Best practices in teaching that support the emotional health and development of the child. I am not a professional educator, but, as a mother, I understand how important it is that standard practice in the classroom validates each child and gives space for identifying emotions and developing self regulation skills.
What importance do you attribute to PE and health and how do feel about the cuts made to these subject areas in the past?
I believe that body motion and exertion builds confidence, releases stress, provides opportunities to learn social skills, reveal physical talents, and enhances learning in ways that are essential for some types of learners.
What ideas have you formulated that will increase public school funding to keep up with growth, fully compensate teachers for their expertise and commitment to teaching, ensure they have the classroom resources they need to be effective educators, and making teacher retention a priority?
I’m grateful for legislators who have promised to fund growth and inflation every year, but we need to hold them to that promise. The #1 threat to our Education Fund (now called Income Tax Fund) is the Hope Scholarship Income Tax Credit bill which I anticipate will be introduced again during the coming legislative session. This bill will create a slow leak that is designed to become larger and larger through the years. The best thing we can do for teachers is to stop legislating against them. Teachers stay when they feel appreciated and successful. They succeed when they have the right supports in place — from trained paras, professional coaches, to freedom to innovate.
How do you define CRT and do you believe it is currently being taught in Utah public schools?
Critical Race Theory is a college-level construct for studying racism in society. It is not taught in our schools, but, as the most Googled acronym out there, I hope our teachers are prepared to answer questions about it in a factual manner. We should not underestimate how smart and engaged our students are, especially those who are approaching the age to vote. NOTE: NO student should be made to feel “less than” for the color of their skin, nor should they be asked to assume blame for past wrongs. There are healthy ways to deal with past wrongs that do not involve shaming.
What vetting process do you support when a parent objects to a book in their child’s school? What actions do you believe school districts should take or not take?
I support a process that assures appropriate materials in our school libraries, a process which includes educators and parents as part of a review committee. The committee should have clear instructions and criteria, which would include current law. I believe that any law which requires governmental removal of materials without a committee review and without being a “taken as a whole” analysis, is unconstitutional and will not stand up in a court of law. That is why I support “wrapping” the law in a procedure that guards the public against government censorship.
Considering legislation that has been proposed in the last 10 years, how would you vote on voucher/school choice bills?
I have been active in opposition to any form of voucher/income tax credit/scholarship bill whose chief end is to siphon money out of the education fund in an unequitable and unaccountable manner. False parameters have been used to disguise the real intent of these bills which is, ultimately, to defund public education. School “choice” bills rob our families and students of the power of a community commitment to fully funding and overseeing excellent and free schools for all children.
What are your views on the Summit program or programs like it being implemented in our schools?
I am not familiar with this program. I am a believer in the importance of face-to-face time with a qualified teacher.
What ways can we support diversity in our curriculum so that all students see themselves as culturally relevant?
We have to devote the resources necessary to 1) evaluate where we currently stand in regards to cultural inclusivity, 2) determine our end-goal and how to measure success, 3) research best practices, and 3) implement into our classrooms and activities, making sure that we bring our communities along with us in this process. Progress in the classroom should be parallel with progress in the community.
What have you personally done to support teachers/public education?
I have been a school volunteer for over 30 years. I have served in positions large and small in the local parent organizations. One thing I particularly enjoy doing is helping others find their place in helping their local schools. As a mother of eight children, I was involved in their education and have held teachers and administrators accountable. My service on the school board for the last four years has been a natural extension of that involvement. I enjoy the policy-making aspect of board work. The framework of good policy both holds educators accountable and protects them. I have particularly enjoyed supporting better compensation for our school employees.
How will you show your commitment to public education outside of your role as an elected official?
I have always paid attention to education issues at the legislative level. Being an advocate and communicating to legislators about what I feel is best for families and children is something I will always do. I also believe in generously supporting local visual and performing arts in area schools, whether it be through attendance or through the local foundation. And I will always be an advocate to taking ownership of our local schools. We must always be vigilant in our responsibility for their oversight and upkeep.