Artesia Public Schools

Ben Harvey

  • Should there be a mask requirement for children going back to schools in the fall?
    • No, there should not be a mask requirement. Local school districts and ultimately parents should decide what is best for their child’s health. We now have plenty of data that shows children are neither at significant risk from covid 19 nor do they transmit it to others at significant rates.
  • Do you believe that the State and your district returned students to their classrooms: Too Early, At the right time, or Not quickly enough? (pick one).
    • Not quickly enough. NM schools are already last or very close to last in all categories of education. Keeping our kids out of school for a whole year was the worst thing we could ever have done for our kids. Last year without school, did the most damage to the kids that are already struggling, putting them even further behind.
  • Districts are one potential charter school authorizer in the State of New Mexico. Could you offer a brief sentence or two regarding your feelings on charter schools and your support/opposition in your district?
    • I generally think that charter schools can be a good thing as they give parents and students more options and they increase competition amongst schools that eventually makes all schools better.  They may not be the best for small school districts such as ours though as human and capital resources are already spread thin.
  • What kind of accountability tools do you believe should be implemented at the district level to improve student outcomes? How would you work within your school board to improve student outcomes? 
    • The key to improving student outcomes is parent/family involvement and student and family accountability. The school should provide the best possible teachers, resources, and opportunities. The rest is up to the individual student and their family. As a school board member, I will work to provide each individual with the best teachers, resources, and opportunities.
  • If it does not already do so, would you support creating an online transparency portal to include annual budget information, employee salaries, administrator contracts, and other public records?
    • Our public schools are public institutions. All information should be available to the public.
  • In your view, is Critical Race Theory, particularly the oppressor/oppressed dynamics it teaches, appropriate for middle and high school classrooms? 
    • Critical race theory does not belong anywhere in our society let alone middle and high school classrooms.  Among other things, it defines people in groups based on race, gender, and other factors rather than as individuals.  America has worked hard to get past oppressor/oppressed dynamics. Teaching our kids in the classroom that they still fit into one of these groups only divides us and moves us backwards.