I am pleased to be endorsed by the Chamber's Political Action Committee. The endorsement process is one where we are asked to respond to a survey, and interview with the committee members. Apparently it went well. Below is my response to this query:
You are running for office, if elected what do you think is the greatest public policy challenge you will face and how will you work to be a leader on the issue?
The greatest public policy challenge is what will public education look like in the next several years? It never occurred to me when I first became a board member that public education would become so vulnerable to misinformed and potentially destructive policy initiatives. The uncertainty of a budget for the last two years and the potential for disastrous education funding “reform” is tying our districts hands for long term planning.
I have become involved at the County level for the Illinois Association of School Boards because I recognized that this would give our district a stronger voice. Helping to ensure all board members understand the issues and best approaches to education is a vehicle to bringing about an informed public. They have the ear of their legislators. This past fall, I proposed a new format for our Fall Dinner, where we could begin some conversations around "what does good leadership mean?", and "what is our mission as leaders of our local boards of education?". The new format received great praise. This Spring we will be hosting Dr. Schuler from High School District 214 in the Northwest Suburbs, to speak to “Redefining Ready”, an initiative gaining National recognition to reconsider the focus on test scores when we look at a student’s ability to achieve success in college and/or career:
“Our nation’s teachers and school leaders provide students with rigorous academic programs, personalized and career-specific learning experiences, along with social and emotional skills that prepare them to be global citizens in an ever-changing world. Students learn in a variety of ways. Therefore, they should be able to demonstrate readiness in a variety of ways.” www.redefiningready.org
However, as a board member the most significant way we have to influence legislators and congressional representatives is when we hire great superintendents. Superintendents Dr. Birkett and Dr. Sullivan have been the best champions for our district as well as for public education. Dr. Birkett’s approach to develop the relationships in 2009 saved our district from even deeper cuts in funding from the state. She also began to gain notice nationally by extending her leadership in various organizations. Dr. Sullivan has an incredible ability to go deep in explaining issues to legislators and congressional representatives. Not only has she followed in Dr. Birkett’s footsteps, she has established herself as a "go to" person with leaders when they have questions about legislative proposals.