Citizens For Delaware Schools

Challenger: Sarah Starkey

Why are you the best candidate for School Board?

I will push for a program to deal with the disruptive behavior of students in the classroom which significantly impacts the ability of other students to learn. No other candidate has a plan. There are no easy answers to this problem. This program will not be run by the Principal or administrative department; it will be run by the Psychology department. This department will issue a behavior modification program. This will allow students to learn.

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How will you prioritize improvement to student academic achievement, particulary reading and math?

I envision a secondary school curriculum that places greater emphasis on core courses such as reading and math (reducing the number of electives). The goal, enhanced performance and more value for the taxpayer’s money. Lake Forest is currently ranked 10 from the bottom in Delaware (which is ranked 47 out of 50). This is not acceptable. Taxpayers are not getting their moneys worth in educating our children as evidenced by these rankings. I do not believe in offering a wide variety of electives to suit a wide range of abilities and interest. Children will have better opportunities studying the basics.

What steps will you pursue to strengthen the connection between parents and the school system?

As soon as a disruptive behavior occurs, instead of waiting until the student is out of control, contact the parent at the first instance of misbehavior. This avoids the “This is the first I am hearing about this!” response from the shocked parent. Have meetings which include parents from both sides of the aisle – parents of the routinely disruptive students and parents of the students affected by the disruptive behavior.

How will you ensure that parents will be made aware of proposed or new regulations or policies that affect their children?

I would mail and send copies of the new or proposed regulations to each parent. I would have meetings at various times and dates to discuss these regulations. Working in a school system for the past year has given me insight into the needs of all the concerned parties and reinforced my belief that we must expand our efforts to include the community and the parents as equal partners in the education process. I feel that this kind of approach will help guide the educational process to success.

What steps should be taken at schools to create a safer learning environment?

We must have a better behavior system in our schools. The first part of this behavior system is let’s be open about our failures in dealing with disruptive behavior. Disruptive behavior: students pushing, shoving, breaking school property, throwing objects at one another, pushing staff, not doing their work, etc. This is why we need a behavior modification program department. The key element in this program would be if a student is cited for more than 20 incidents of disruptive behavio

What changes should be made, if any, to local and state funding to maximize the amount that goes directly to producing academic achievement?

State and local funding should continue for students who want to learn. You cannot put a price tag on how a student learns and I for one do not mind paying taxes for students who want to learn. However, not for the students who come to school and all they do is cause disruptive behavior issues for the students who want to learn. Maybe it is time for these disruptive students to find a different place to learn. Think about the money you will save the taxpayer. The school system can then put more resources into math and reading classes.

How will you commit to increasing classroom transparency - including but not limited to curriculum - with parents?

I would advocate for cameras in the classroom that can be accessed only if a given situation warranted a review.

How will providing curricula that defines people as oppressors and oppressed based on group identity such as race or sex either help or hinder students in their interactions with the world around them?

Who in the school system is the oppressor! They are the ones who laugh and joke; the ones who are always on their cell phone; the ones who never sit in their assigned seats; the ones who do not listen to classroom instruction; the ones who are eating in class and copying from other’s work; the ones engaged in distracting and disruptive behavior. The oppressed students are the ones who cannot learn as a result of the oppressor’s behavior. Only 32% of Lake Forest students are proficient in Math! We need behavior modification – not identity studies! 

In what circumstances would it be considered acceptable for material that contains visual or written depictions of sexual acts to be presented to students in the classroom or in school libraries?

NONE! Absolutely none. Under no circumstances should visual or written depictions of sexual acts be allowed in school classrooms or libraries. This type of material is best left outside the school system.