Anchorage

Anchorage School Board candidate Q&As: What are your thoughts on how the topic of racism and its history in the United States should be taught in public schools?

Anchorage School District education center board asd

In advance of the April 5 Anchorage municipal election, the Anchorage Daily News asked candidates running for Anchorage School Board a series of issue questions. Read all the Assembly and school board candidates’ responses here.

Q: What are your thoughts on how the topic of racism and its history in the United States should be taught in public schools?

Seat A

Margo Bellamy

We are all a part of America’s history. As such I believe our complete history, including the contributions of all Americans, should be taught in our schools. That means teaching our students both the triumphant AND the ugly truths about our collective past. All our students need to be able to trust that the educational materials they are learning from are historically accurate and up-to-date. They also need to know that they have access to all the learning materials necessary to learn and grow.

Mark Anthony Cox

Declined to answer.

Dan Loring - Did not respond to survey.

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Cliff Murray

We should teach all of history, the good and the bad parts of our history. Our teaching of history should be inclusive of all races, religions, etc.

Seat B

Benjamin Baldwin - Did not respond to survey, suspended campaign.

Dustin Darden

Remember this? Let’s sing it with instruments, record, chop it up, put a beat on it: Jesus loves the little children/ All the children of the world/ red and yellow, black and white/ they’re precious in his sight/ Jesus loves the little children of the world/ Jesus loves the little children/ All the children of the world/ Every color, every race/ All are covered by His grace /Jesus loves the little children of the world/ Jesus loves the little children of the world. I’m a big fan of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, I learned about her in school, she has inspired me to take a stand because discrimination does not end at the color of your skin, it’s vast. in December 2020 I thought of her while our Assembly and mayor shut down our city and were gearing up to start jabbing people.

Kelly Lessens

ASD should give all students age-appropriate opportunities to understand our country’s struggles to form a more perfect union, in order to prepare graduates for a future of civic participation. Students need access to curricular materials and opportunities that develop core bodies of knowledge, help them understand change over time, learn to account for multiple perspectives, develop critical thinking skills, and cultivate a sense of pride or patriotism in how Individuals and groups have struggled for better laws and practices. I would like to see improvements to our state history and civics standards. Other states take more systematic approaches to building students’ knowledge of American history, traditions and institutions than Alaska. These states also emphasize skills essential to informed citizenship, champion key civic dispositions, use elementary and middle schools effectively (and require a year of US history and a semester of civics in high school,) and organize standards well.

Rachel Ries

Unedited history should be taught in schools for every aspect of United States history. History should not be hidden, rewritten or ignored to achieve an agenda.

• • •

Read more Q&As with Anchorage School Board candidates:

What is a short summary of your background?

Why are you running?

What makes you qualified to serve on the Anchorage School Board?

What’s your vision for public education in Anchorage?

What’s the single most important issue facing the Anchorage School District? How would you address it if elected?

If I could change one thing in the Anchorage School District, it would be _____. Explain.

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Do you have areas of concern about student achievement in the Anchorage School District? What are your specific suggestions for improvement?

Do you have ideas for how ASD can improve its career and technical education curriculum?

Are you satisfied with current preschool options? Explain.

Is the Anchorage School District currently doing a good job of retaining quality teachers? What steps, if any, should the school board take to improve teacher retention?

Rate how the Anchorage School District has handled the pandemic, and why? What would you have done differently, if anything?

Many students are struggling due to pandemic-related challenges, both academically and behaviorally. What are some strategies the school district should prioritize to help students recover from that period?

What are your thoughts on how the topic of racism and its history in the United States should be taught in public schools?

What other important issue would you like to discuss?

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