This Q&A session is part of a larger candidate survey conducted by Anchorage Daily News. See the full survey here.
Rachel Ries | Seat on the school board: B | Age: 47 years old | Occupation: retired soldier | www.riesforalaska.com
What is the most important issue facing the Anchorage School District? How would you fix it if you were elected?
True education has given way to a one-size-fits-all model that doesn’t work. Bringing education back to teachers and administrators on every campus. Allow them to develop a functional and seamless program that meets the unique needs of each school’s specific student population. Again, make sure CRT and similar products are not taught or used in ASDs.
Evaluate how the Anchorage School District handled the pandemic and why.
ASD has handled the pandemic appallingly. They used a mandate that affected everyone with one solution. There were “processes” for children with disabilities, religious exemptions, etc. However, none of them have been approved. ASD was not an honest broker with its students, parents, or staff when it came to meeting community needs, contrary to the mandatory approach. This has been driven by the school board time and time again, with no changes to address parent, staff or student concerns. And finally, despite a huge drop in enrollment, ASD increased spending.
Many students are struggling due to pandemic-related challenges, both academically and behaviorally. What strategies should the school district prioritize to help students recover from this time?
Focus on education. Return to partnership WITH parents as key players in the education of their child(ren). Admit when something is not working and adjust accordingly, such as maintaining masks as a parent/individual CHOICE policy.
Is the Anchorage School District Successful in Retaining Quality Teachers?
No, ASD is not doing a good job of retaining quality teachers. The school board should review all policies and listen to teachers and administrators as education professionals. Current policy does not reflect this. Instead, it micromanages with unnecessary bureaucracy and micromanagement.
If I could change one thing in the Anchorage School District, it would be _____. To explain.
If I could change one thing in the Anchorage School District, it would be the lack of transparency and accountability demonstrated by the majority of the school board and some administrators and staff. ASD students are children. They must not be exposed to any ideology, curriculum or program that is not 100% transparent to parents. Children whose parents are involved do better in school and subsequently have better opportunities in life. Lack of transparency pushes parents out of the classroom. Lack of accountability prevents meaningful reform if a problem is discovered; wanted or not.