- Should there be a mask requirement for children going back to schools in the fall?
There is no compelling evidence that requiring children to wear masks significantly decreases the risk of them contracting COVID-19 (C-19.) In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children have a 99.997% survival rate from C-19 and less than 1 percent of C-19 positive children require hospitalization. And a 40,000 person study by Iceland’s Directorate of Health and deCODE genetics showed that children under 15 were about half as likely as adults to be infected or to transmit C-19.
Additionally, researchers from the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany found there were 24 reported physical, psychological and behavioral health issues associated with children wearing masks, including irritability (60%), headache (53%), difficulty concentrating (50%), less happiness (49%), reluctance to go to school/kindergarten (44%), malaise (42%), impaired learning (38%) and drowsiness or fatigue (37%).
For these and other reasons I do not believe there should be a mask requirement for children to attend school.
- 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).
Research conducted by the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee and Oxford University scholars, respectively, indicates that there is a significant “loss of learning” due to school closures –especially for those children from lower income and less educated households. New Mexico’s public schools did not reopen quickly enough.
- 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?
- Answer: Charter schools are one of several approaches to improving the education of children by allowing teachers more freedom to run their classroom, by increasing incentives for accountability, and offering students and parents in low performing schools more choices for better schools –especially for minority and lower income families. As a Las Cruces Public Schools Board member, I will support charter school development within our district.
- 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 first accountability tool is a comprehensive assessment of how the district is spending its budget to prioritize classroom learning so that teachers are not only fairly compensated but all the materials they need are available so teachers do not have to spend their own money on basic supplies. Another accountability tool is to comprehensively assess whether the curriculum is appropriate and effective –not just theoretical.
I will work with the other board members to use these and other accountability tools to increase parental involvement and student outcomes by reaching out to parents and listening, as well as addressing the needs of teachers and administrators.
- 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?
Although the district’s website, tucked under the Community tab drop-down, does have a “Finance Sunshine Portal” that includes a budget of over 100 pages, there should be a summary of employee salaries, administrator contracts, and other records of interest to the community that is more easily available and prominently displayed.
- In your view, is Critical Race Theory, particularly the oppressor/oppressed dynamics it teaches, appropriate for middle and high school classrooms?
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is, according to one of its founders, Dr. Derrick Bell, “a body of legal scholarship…characterized by frequent use of the first person, storytelling, narrative, allegory, interdisciplinary treatment of law, and the unapologetic use of creativity…inherits…a commitment to being “critical,” which in this sense means also to be ‘radical.’” CRT has been used as trojan horse to inject an extremist political agenda into the public schools. Such an agenda-driven theory, especially its oppressor/oppressed aspects, is not appropriate for K-12 classrooms.
“Who’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory?”. 1995 University of Illinois Law Review.