09 Oct Lola Brooks
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for Trustee, Clark County School District E
Candidate contact information:
Email address: email@example.com
Phone number: 7023219117
CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE RESPONSES
Please share briefly what inspired you to run for this office and why you feel you’re qualified for the position.
I feel it’s important to have a knowledgable and experienced board, especially while the community deals with the impending financial and academic issues resulting from COVID-19.
What are your views on providing age-appropriate, medically-accurate, culturally-inclusive sex-ed to Nevada’s students?
My sister had a child at 16. I recognize the importance and necessity of sex education.
If elected, what strategies or policies can be implemented to keep racially-based threats and other discriminatory behaviors out of our schools to keep our children safe?
Communities cannot address racial biases by simply excluding students from schools or services. Some of these students come from families who harbor similar attitudes or they learned the behavior outside of their households. There needs to be a balance between punishment and some sort of reform. My concern is that as a society we tend to focus heavily on punishment, while neglecting the obvious fact that punishment alone leaves the offender with the same worldview and biases.
Schools should have a greater focus on social studies. Schools should be funded at a level which allows for smaller class sizes and a greater opportunity for individual engagement with students. Programs to increase diversity in education should be supported in colleges and elsewhere.
What do you believe is the best approach to ensure all of Nevada’s children have access to a quality education?
There is no single approach to address the challenges in education. It would be helpful to have progressive policies to level the playing field for low income families from the start.
Currently, schools are so focused on meeting the basic needs of students and their families that sometimes they don't have enough time or resources to meet the academic needs of students. Schools have accepted this approach out of sheer necessity because they know that students can't otherwise be educated. At some point, this nation should come to terms with the fact that housing, food, healthcare, and income instability should be addressed outside of school walls. An alternative, of course, is to fund schools at significantly greater levels to provide more support in schools, but we aren't doing this either.
What steps should be taken to ensure the safety of Nevada’s children in our schools and communities? How would you specifically address the potential for gun violence in our schools?
I support stricter gun control laws to limit access to firearms. It's also important that these laws exist on the national level to prevent individuals from taking advantage of more lenient laws across state lines. Red flag laws should be leveraged to remove firearms from unstable individuals. These strategies should be used while providing mental health resources to those in need, offering financial support and protection to individuals exiting abusive relationships, and training individuals on responsible gun ownership.
Schools should also be funded at a high enough level to allow more individual attention to students, including lowering student to staff ratios for counselors, social workers, and teachers. Students should have access to mental health resources when they are needed and as soon as the need is identified.
How should Nevada address the ongoing difficulties to effectively and equitably fund public schools across the diverse landscape of the state? How will you use your position to address this issue?
The community should band together and insist that the state focuses on adequately funding education. It's important for Board members to understand school funding mechanisms and financial details enough to explain it to others. Board members should also understand audits and the financial reporting requirements of government entities.
A good first step was to explore options to change the state's funding formula for education. Getting people to understand how education funding works is imperative. Numerous external studies have demonstrated schools in Nevada are not funded appropriately but the existing formula is not transparent enough for people to critically examine funding. Unfortunately, this change did not come with a large increase in base funding, which is crucial if we ever want to address the inequities that exist between schools.
What do you see as the government’s role in providing students with access to different education choices (including magnet programs, charter schools, homeschooling, etc) to meet a variety of unique needs? What standards do you think should apply across schooling options?
My son attends his zoned school and I strongly feel this should be a parent's first choice. I don't think parents should be forced to find other education options beyond their neighborhood school.
With this being said, Clark County is roughly 8000 square miles and there has to be a secondary option available to parents. In addition, some schools offer specialized educational options that aren't available elsewhere. Academic standards should be adopted at the state level and applied to all schools.
What are the biggest issues facing the education community in Nevada, and how do you propose to solve them?
Inequities exist from school to school; our decentralized model currently produces vastly different results for students.
There are many challenges that must be addressed to solve this. In my opinion, the solutions will require an intentional focus and a community-wide commitment. Our biggest obstacle is always getting everyone to focus on the same things, at the same time, and with the same level of commitment.
How can Nevada disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline to ensure that students are not prematurely introduced to the criminal justice system?
Restorative Justice practices show promise but I don't feel the community has embraced this model. I also feel that implementation of such programs is difficult and requires significantly more resources than what was committed. It's important for schools and communities to critically examine why discipline data includes significantly more students of color and to investigate causes with the intent of addressing them holistically.
How should our schools address gender-diverse policies to ensure the safety of all Nevada’s students?
I support inclusive policies for gender-diverse students.
Across Nevada, Spanish speaking parents struggle to receive assistance and attention in their children’s schools because many schools with high Latino student populations fail to provide bilingual front office staff readily available to assist parents. What is your position on passing legislation that would offer schools with significant Latino and ELL (English Language Learner) student populations funding to hire bilingual staff designated for parental engagement in the school’s administrative office?
I am supportive of financial or non-financial strategies to ensure more bilingual staff is available to meet the needs of students and their families.