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 Meredith Reed’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 is an invaluable element of education and supports the well being of children and adults. Students are all well served in their education, and throughout their lives, by learning and developing skills that help them manage their emotions, develop empathy, make responsible decisions, and achieve their goals. SEL improves academic learning and creates supportive classroom environments for our children and educators. SEL strategies are used by the teachers in our district, and I am especially appreciative of the “healthy lifestyles” educators (school counselors) that we have in our schools in our district that provide additional expertise.
What importance do you attribute to PE and health and how do feel about the cuts made to these subject areas in the past?
We are so fortunate to live in a state that offers a wide variety of outdoor activities; however not all of our students have access to these opportunities. Ideally, our school PE programs would introduce our students to some of these outdoor activities that are options in their communities. I believe that PE in public education curriculum is critical to the health and wellbeing of our students. PE has a positive effect on student learning, confidence, and can help reduce stress. Cuts in funding to PE are detrimental to student heath and can have lifelong negative impact. I do not support funding cuts to PE programs.
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?
Developers in this state do not contribute to support the infrastructure that is needed when new housing units are built. We have experienced strong population growth across our state over recent years. According to census data and the Kem Gardner Policy Institute, that growth is anticipated to continue with the state population nearly doubling over the next thirty years. Our state legislature needs to ensure that policies are in place that require developers to contribute to the costs associated with new housing construction: namely building schools. Utah is also fortunate to have a budget surplus, that surplus should be used to expand early childhood education, and to provide child care for working families across our state, especially rural families, to ensure all children are kindergarten ready. Competitive salaries for teachers is critically important, but along with strong salaries our school districts need collaborative programs that work with the community and municipal organizations to provide solutions to the housing shortage, so that teachers can live and work in the same community. We also need district administrations and boards that demonstrate and communicate to our communities that teachers are our most valuable resource. With all of the challenges facing our educators, our teachers need to be confident that they are fully supported by their administrators. Paying teachers well is absolutely necessary, but so is a positive work environment, having ample support staff in schools, and having a sense of community respect and value.
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 program of study and is not taught in our 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?
I think if parent has objections to a specific book, it is helpful for the teacher or administrator to explain the place of that book within the curriculum and what the goals or outcomes are with regards to including that book. Schools can listen to parents’ concerns, but also communicate the value of the book within the spectrum of materials that are used.
Considering legislation that has been proposed in the last 10 years, how would you vote on voucher/school choice bills?
I believe vouchers and school choice bills erode public education by reducing funding for public education and increase the burden on tax payers. I would vote NO on these bills if I were a member of the legislature.
What are your views on the Summit program or programs like it being implemented in our schools?
I am not familiar with the program nor am I aware of anything similar being used in our district. I need more information to develop an informed opinion.
What ways can we support diversity in our curriculum so that all students see themselves as culturally relevant?
Improving diversity in the classroom helps students feel comfortable and welcome. It is important for our schools to continually look for ways to build curriculum that includes a depth and breadth of cultural experience. This can be accomplished through books, literature, and classroom material, as well as engaging in activities and experiences that represent various cultures and communities.
What have you personally done to support teachers/public education?
I have served as the Chair for the Summit County Democratic Party from 2019 – 2021 and in that capacity worked to elect Utah House and Senate candidates who believe a good education is a basic right of all Utahns. I have showed up for educators at the state capitol and communicated with legislators about the importance of public education. I have worked as a member of the League of Women Voters to support voter registration, voter education, and to gather signatures for the Better Boundaries (Prop 4) ballot initiative to create an independent redistricting commission that would end partisan gerrymandering and lead to a more balanced state legislature with lawmakers who support public education. I have been a classroom volunteer and a long time donor to PTOs and public education non-profits.
How will you show your commitment to public education outside of your role as an elected official?
I am a big believer in community connections, and of the importance of strong relationships between the schools and municipal, civic, state, and non-profit organizations. As a board member, I would work to rebuild trust with our community, to strengthen relationships with city and county government, and will work with our state lawmakers on policies supporting public education for the children in my district and across the state.