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 Andrew Edtl’s responses that shows that he 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 is key to helping children manage emotions, work through social situations, and prepares them to deal with many of the challenges they will face in everyday life. I’ve recently started my education in what SEL entails as a member of the Canyons School District SEL curriculum parent advisory board, and I look forward to learning more about the subject.
What importance do you attribute to PE and health and how do feel about the cuts made to these subject areas in the past?
PE and health are essential for children to maintain a healthy lifestyle, both today and throughout their lives. While I’m not familiar with the history of cuts made to PE and Health classes in Utah, physical education has played a major role in my life as an adult. Ultimately, healthy students live longer, are more productive, and have more opportunities available to them in life.
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?
First, I’m not an educator, and I don’t claim to have the knowledge necessary to fully understand the issues that our schools face. My goals within the first six months of being elected are to talk with and understand the challenges faced by our educators, administrators, and educational support staff. Only after getting an in-depth education of the challenges can I start to work with our internal and external partners to find a way forward. However, funding is something I can speak on. Our current tax model sets a certain dollar amount based on a tax rate but doesn’t adjust based on changes in inflation or property values. Due to inflation, this reduces the spending power for the district each year. A normalized truth in taxation meeting can help normalize the tax rate and avoid the appearance of tax hikes when the district seeks to rebalance the tax rate years later.
How do you define CRT and do you believe it is currently being taught in Utah public schools?
Critical Race Theory is a graduate level class on the intersection between race and public policy. It is not currently being taught in Utah public schools.
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?
Canyons School District has a robust process in place for challenging books, that includes a review at the school level, a challenge at the school level, and the option for a challenge at the district level. This process allows parents at an affected school to submit their objections to the school for review and provides a clear path for appeals if they believe the book was not adequately reviewed. I support this transparent process as we seek to provide age-appropriate books to our students, while protecting their first amendment rights, and protecting marginalized communities whose books are disproportionately challenged.
Considering legislation that has been proposed in the last 10 years, how would you vote on voucher/school choice bills?
I am opposed to voucher programs. Voucher programs do not provide opportunities for low-income students to attend private schools, and generally benefit only those who can already afford tuition costs for private schools.
What are your views on the Summit program or programs like it being implemented in our schools?
Unfortunately, I don’t have the background knowledge necessary to answer this question. However, I look forward to learning more about how we can best support tomorrow’s students.
What ways can we support diversity in our curriculum so that all students see themselves as culturally relevant?
Unfortunately, I don’t believe that I have the knowledge necessary to answer this question. I have not been involved in curriculum selection and am not an educator myself. However, if elected I intend to work with the subject matter experts to gain an understanding of this process and the challenges associated with it. However, I fully support diversified representation within our education materials. Public education should be a welcoming environment, regardless of family status, employment status, income, race, sexual orientation, identity, disability, or ANYTHING else. Public education exists for the benefit of every single student.
What have you personally done to support teachers/public education?
I’ve been volunteering in schools since my first child entered kindergarten. I served as a PTA President at both the local and council levels and have served as a School Community Council Chair for several terms. During my time in PTA I supported morale events for teachers sponsored by PTA, and worked to improve overall school climate. As a Council President, I worked with District Administration on a regular basis, and encouraged initiatives that supported teachers, and pushed back against book banning initiatives and other burdens that special interest groups sought to place on teachers. As a School Community Council Chair, I’ve consistently supported adequate funding for development stipends, classroom supplies, and other expenditures to support morale in the workplace.
How will you show your commitment to public education outside of your role as an elected official?
As I’ve done for years, I will continue to both publicly and privately support public education. Whether by advocating orally, by writing legislative representatives, or by casting votes. My commitment to public education and ensuring that ALL children can receive a high quality education, will endure long past my time as an elected official.