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 Phil Graves’ 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?
Social Emotional Learning. I think it is a good program teaching kids how to deal with their emotions through discussions. I think the program has been demonized by the radical right wing to stir up their followers to further undermine public support for public education and public school teachers. With the rise of mental illness in school age kids I think this type of program can only help.
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 is very important. Kids need a physical outlet, and on top of that childhood obesity is a huge problems in this country. PE needs to be prioritized, and PE teachers should be paid at the same level as other teachers. Too many schools have unqualified PE teachers in those positions. PE should be an everyday class.
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?
Stop cutting taxes! The Republican super majority loves giving more money to the wealthiest citizens via tax cuts, and those tax cuts come directly from education funding. It is time to reverse recent tax cuts and send that money to schools! I would fight to have a much more progressive tax structure in Utah.
How do you define CRT and do you believe it is currently being taught in Utah public schools?
CRT is a law school level concept that Race was a major factor in the development every institution and system in the USA. CRT is NOT being taught in public schools. Most public school history teachers are just trying to get through the material let alone dive into a law school level philosophical debate. Once again the radical republicans are using this issue to demonize teachers and the public school system.
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?
There are federal laws that protect books from being censored, and those should be adhered to. Teachers should have an alternative book in case a parent has a concern. However, one parent, or a vocal minority should not have the power to censor books. Censoring books puts us all on the road to Fascism!
Considering legislation that has been proposed in the last 10 years, how would you vote on voucher/school choice bills?
I strongly oppose all forms of vouchers! Vouchers are just a way to slowly bleed public schools to death. The public education systems is one of the great jewels that past generations have given to us, and we must protect it at all cost from those that look to privatize it. We need to strengthen and invest in public schools, not siphon money away.
What are your views on the Summit program or programs like it being implemented in our schools?
It should be a tool in a teacher’s tool box, but it should not be used in place actual in person instruction.
What ways can we support diversity in our curriculum so that all students see themselves as culturally relevant?
Making sure books show diversity, and making sure when history is taught it is taught from different viewpoints.
What have you personally done to support teachers/public education?
I am married to an elementary vice principal in Murray District. I spend many hours a year helping her at her school in various ways. Usually as manual labor.
How will you show your commitment to public education outside of your role as an elected official?
Continuing to volunteer in schools in the district, and working closely with representatives of the UEA.