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 Miles Pomeroy’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 a new term for me. I wasn’t familiar with it until this year. I can’t speak to all the variety of ways it may or may not be being taught. I would think that some form of SEL has been taught in schools throughout time. I would define SEL strategies as those lessons that help students learn how to interact well with other students and within the school system. Emotional health is an important factor to ensuring our students can learn effectively. My 4th grader struggles in this area. We work on it at home, but during a recent Parent Teacher Conference I saw how her teacher is really helping her navigate her emotions at school. I really appreciate her efforts that benefit my child personally.
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’m not aware of the cuts being referred to in this question. I do think that PE and health are very important to education. I’m particularly interested in promoting PE programs that encourage teamwork and social engagement. I’m discouraged that my kids often only talk about the Pacer test and running the mile when talking about PE. I think that an overemphasis on testing in PE can defeat its mission of encouraging a lifetime of physical activity in our students. In regards to health, I think Utah education has fallen behind in regards to sex education. I would like to see better, professional, high-quality sex education available in our schools. I understand this is a sensitive subject and would support requiring parental permission.
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 support keeping the state income tax earmarked for education. I don’t support reductions in this tax rate. I am interested in pursuing a progressive tax system for income tax to increase the size of this fund and ensure wealthy Utahns are paying their fair share while reducing the burden on the working class. With the increased funds I would want to substantially increase per pupil funding, giving school districts the freedom to fully compensate teachers within their budgets.
How do you define CRT and do you believe it is currently being taught in Utah public schools?
I’m not sure of the exact definition of CRT. Seems like a hear different things depending on the speaker’s views on it. So I appreciate that you ask for my definition. I have consumed a number of several good resources regarding race over the past few years: “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson, “Lies My Teacher Told Me” by James W. Loewen, the “Seeing White” podcast season on “Scene On Radio”, and the “13th” documentary film. While I don’t remember any of these resources referring specifically to “CRT,” I tend to define CRT by the history of systematic racism they describe. I support enhancing our education materials to include an accurate description of the systematic racism found in American History. I don’t think this in any way violates the current board rule R277-328.
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 resources available to students should be age appropriate. I understand that what one parent views as age appropriate might be widely different than another. I would support a diverse committee of parents and educators at the school board level that would help evaluate specific parent objections. In general, I would think the approval of a parental objection is rare. Boards should make rules regarding appropriate resources with the needs of a wide variety of students and parental views in mind. The burden of proving why it should be excluded should be on those objecting to it with a presumption of including it. As a specific example, I support having age appropriate LGBTQ+ resources in our school libraries because students identifying as queer need access to quality resources to help them understand themselves.
Considering legislation that has been proposed in the last 10 years, how would you vote on voucher/school choice bills?
This question is particularly relevant to my race. This year, my opponent, Candice Pierucci, wrote HB331 Hope Scholarship Program bill. This bill sought to create a program very similar to school vouchers. It had the potential of taking money away from our public school systems and giving it to private organizations without oversight. Fortunately, this bill failed to pass. I would not support this effort or other voucher/school choice bills. In 2007, the ballot included Referendum 1. This initiative sought to veto HB148, a school vouchers bill. The veto passed with 62% of the vote, clearly indicating Utahns dislike of school voucher programs.
What are your views on the Summit program or programs like it being implemented in our schools?
I am not familiar with the Summit program. I tried googling it and I couldn’t find anything that seemed relevant to Utah schools.
What ways can we support diversity in our curriculum so that all students see themselves as culturally relevant?
I support encouraging school boards to have diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging committees that have this as their mission.
What have you personally done to support teachers/public education?
I went to public school and my three children go to public schools. I actively participate with my children and their teachers by attending parent-teacher conferences, listening and communicating with my children’s teachers, and volunteering as I can on field trips and other opportunities. My brother is an elementary school teacher. My grandpa was an assistant superintendent in Mesa Public Schools.
How will you show your commitment to public education outside of your role as an elected official?
I will continue to support my kid’s education and vote for measures that support teachers and students.