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 Rep. Lesser’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?
I define social and emotional learning strategies as those that enhance self awareness, empathy, and mastery of interpersonal skills. These strategies are critical to achieving both personal and collective growth. I regard these strategies as a vital element of the learning environment of the classroom.
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 cuts to PE and health have been a significant error for policy makers. There is abundant research on the benefits of physical exercise in the school setting. The study of health provides a basic understanding that will carry through for the rest of the student’s 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?
I believe that the WPU needs to continue to rise to allow school districts to compensate teachers for their expertise. Tax credits should be given to ALL teachers to reimburse for school supplies, although an alternative is to have each school district have a fund for supplies so that the teacher does not have to pay for supplies out of pocket. I believe that compensation is one part of making teacher retention a priority, but other programs like time off for other commitments would help with retention. I would also suggest spending time with the leaders of the education department at Weber State (in my district!) because the graduates from their teaching program have the highest retention rate in the state according to a recent audit.
How do you define CRT and do you believe it is currently being taught in Utah public schools?
I define Critical Race Theory as a legal theory that is taught in law schools in the US. The point of that legal theory is to consider the impact of systemic racism as a structural barrier. This is not a topic that is 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?
I believe that there should be an established vetting process for all books for which there is an objection. The individuals who would be involved in the vetting process should be librarians and teachers at the particular level under consideration. It is not clear to me that this vetting needs to occur at the district level.
Considering legislation that has been proposed in the last 10 years, how would you vote on voucher/school choice bills?
I oppose voucher/school choice bills and have voted NO on the voucher bill in 2022.
What are your views on the Summit program or programs like it being implemented in our schools?
I have reviewed the Summit learning webpage, but have no direct experience with that program. It is not clear to me what is being promoted as Summit learning is different than any other learning strategy used in classrooms today. I would need to get the opinion of teachers with experience in educational strategy.
What ways can we support diversity in our curriculum so that all students see themselves as culturally relevant?
I believe that using books that have characters who are diverse is one starting point. Another way to have all students see themselves as culturally relevant is to have classroom images reflect the diversity of the world community.
What have you personally done to support teachers/public education?
I have personally met with the education association members for both of the school districts in HD10. Additionally, I have met with all of the teachers in my district who have come to the Capitol. For those who are unable to make the trip, I ALWAYS answer queries from teachers by email/phone/text.
How will you show your commitment to public education outside of your role as an elected official?
I am showing my commitment to public education by supporting the initiatives of the two school foundations in my district.
If you are in Rep. Lesser’s district, we would highly recommend you get involved in her campaign and letting your family and friends know what a great idea it would be to vote for her! Feel free to share this post with them!