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My thoughts on education

Updated: May 28, 2020

I recently received an email asking my views on certain issues and noted that I had not listed any of my views on this webpage. I decided it would be a good idea to just post my response publicly so others can also get a better understanding of who I am and what I believe.

I will start with the topic of educational policies. In regard to educational policies, I would like to do away with standardized testing as I feel it is a poor measurement for one’s knowledge and understanding of a subject. I myself struggled with severe test anxiety and always performed poorly on standardized tests. My oldest son has the same struggles and I remind him that he may always struggle with standardized tests, so it is up to him to maintain a high level of academic performance in the classroom to make up for a low standardized test score. I would prefer the time spent preparing and taking the exam be used studying U.S. and world history. It feels like history is taught but so much of it feels rushed and simplified simply because there is not enough time. I am a strong advocate for teaching all history as I believe kids today need to have a solid understanding of why certain events happened so their generation won’t repeat the same mistakes. I would love to have the teachers be more involved in making their classroom curriculum unique to better enhance their teaching styles. I still remember my 4th grade teacher and her ability to make learning about Shakespeare fun through class performances and having the class elect a president, congress and Supreme Court to give us a better understanding of how the government works.

Overcrowding. Overcrowding is a serious concern for many in northern Peoria but is less of an issue for schools in southern Peoria; many of the south Peoria schools are run down and in desperate need of renovations. Ideally, the school bond will pass this November and the needs of both areas will be met. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world so the board should be prepared to make difficult decisions to find solutions rather than just putting the bond back on the ballot. It has already failed twice and in this current economic climate it could very well fail again. I do not believe the only solution is relying on the taxpayers. The voters have already spoken twice, and their voices will be heard once again in November. I believe the school board needs to create both short- and long-term goals that may require the closing of schools in order to improve existing ones and build new ones. I would like to see the school board really dive deep into where money is being spent. One example is the $1.6 million dollars the school board recently approved for renovations that transform the old Challenger Space Center into the Sunrise Mountain Arts Center. Do I believe art programs are important, yes, but with current school necessities not having funding; that money could have been spent on improving schools in desperate need of renovations.

I believe in competition and incentives. Academic competition between local schools should be encouraged and financial incentives should be given based on both school and teacher performance; I do not mean performance on a standardized test. The better the school performs; the more financial incentive is given with bonuses to top performing teachers.

Finally, why do I feel I am qualified for this position? First, I do not believe one needs to be a teacher in order to add value to the school board. A successful school board requires various experiences and perspectives. I own a medical practice and have learned to manage patient care while juggling government requirements, regulations, restrictions and hassle. My primary patient demographic is the Medicare community. With Medicare, there is zero opportunity for negotiation on reimbursement rates. Each year reimbursement rates decrease while overhead rises. Unlike most commercial companies who simply increase the price of the product when overhead goes up, the medical world has very little flexibility to increase profit. My experience working to keep my medical practice afloat without laying off staff or reducing patient care as given me a unique perspective on ways to cut cost and still compete with my competitors. This perspective would be extremely beneficial for the difficult road ahead. I am also approaching the end of my doctorate education which is focused on leadership. I have spent the last 3 years researching, discussing and writing about assorted topics ranging from mental health among adolescents, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), government agencies, population health, vaccinations, medical ethics and liability, child obesity and drug abuse among teens. Just this week I have been working on creating a detailed advocacy plan for ways to improve of the ACA. I rarely settle for poor outcomes in which I can control. If there is a problem, I am the type to find a solution rather than just accepting defeat. I am very strong in my views, but I am always open to grow. I am willing to work with others and I consider myself reasonable, but I am not the type to lie down easily just to avoid a conflict.

I hope this gives you a better understanding on where I stand with certain issues and the type of leader, I consider myself to be.

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