Candidate: Thomas Waggoner
Office: Davis School Board, District 6 (2014 General Election)
2014 General Election Survey Questions and Answers
Candidate answers are presented exactly as received, including grammatical and spelling errors.
Q1: Do you believe the Common Core State Standards (also known as the Utah Core) will prepare students to be college and career ready?
Q2: Do you believe parents should be able to opt a student out of the Core aligned tests and the State Longitudinal Database System?
Q3: Do you believe Utah should provide universal pre-K education for children?
Q4: What are the three (3) most critical education issues in our county?
A4-1: Student Safety
A4-3: Class Size
Q5: Do you believe Davis County public schools are adequately funded? If not, please briefly specify changes that should be made to provide appropriate financial support.
A5: No. The legislature needs to give the schools all of the State tax money they are entitled to, according to the State Constitution.
Q6: With regard to the Federal Department of Education, do you support: A) Keeping it as it is, B) Changing it to a small research and advisory organization, C) Completely eliminating it, D) Other (please specify)
A6: Other. I am not a fan of big government, but I don't what good or bad the federal department of education does for Utah education. I would have to study it more.
Q7: If you want to clarify any of your answers, please do so here.
A7: #1 - There is not enough data available to show if the Utah core will prepare students for college or for a career. #3 - We don't have the money to adequately fund the education programs we have now, where are we going to get the money to provide universal pre-K education.
Q8: If you want to share a brief position on education issues, please do so here.
A8: (Did not answer)
Member opinions provided to DLE are shared as a service to our members, but do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the group.
From group member Lonis S.:
Tom believes that the main mission of public education is to prepare students to become active and productive members of society, so that they can make valuable contributions to their future employers, families and to society in general. He would like to continue the fine work that Mr. Larsen accomplished during his time on the Board. Tom is the former mayor of Clearfield City. His educational experience was in conducting a “Lunch With The Mayor” program with elementary schools as a reward for academic achievers. Tom believes that we spend a great deal of time and energy ensuring that our students are being taught what society believes needs to be taught and that teachers need more tools to keep up with the expectations society places upon them. He does not think that it is fair to leave teachers to their own devices to determine what or how material should be taught. He believes that standardized tools and standardized curriculum are the only way to measure performance accurately. He believes that public education is not adequately funded because our representatives are ‘slow to open their pocketbooks.’ He believes that we could get more funding by passing legislation where a large percentage of ANY budget surplus is taken and immediately given to education. He believes that current voucher and tuition tax credit guidelines do a significant disservice to public education. He would not take a position on future legislation without being familiar with the content. Tom supports a fair methodology that measures school success in a clear and concise way. However, the current letter grade system is not fair. Tom believes that technology is an integral part of education, which reoccurring costs leadership must be prepared to manage effectively and commit to spending the funds. Tom supports anything that will give our students the most competitive educational experience possible. He does not believe that Common Core in its current form accomplishes its goals. However, he believes that in time, it will prove to be an effective framework. He believes its rollout was a dismal failure, but that the concept and ideas it represents is truly the blueprint for the future of education. He believes that the political ideologies of the far left and the far right on the issue should be muted and that only then can a workable solution be effectively implemented for the greater good. Tom believes that the school board is not the place to grind axes, to perpetuate a personal political agenda or to go against the grain simply for the purpose of being contradictory.
Mona Andrus is running for the school board because she wants to have an influential voice in her children’s education. She believes that parents, not bureaucrats, have the responsibility to educate their children. She intends to be the voice on the board for parents. She believes that our education system is already adequately funded. Our ‘funding problem’ is that the money is not making it into the classrooms. She intends to find funding inefficiencies and correct them. She believes that a thorough audit, reduced overhead and procedural adjustments could help more dollars make it into the classrooms. Mona knows exactly where Common Core came from and how and why it was implemented. She believes that Common Core is an unconstitutional overreach of the federal government. It’s an attempt by the feds to standardize curriculum, which is prohibited by federal law. She intends to do everything within her power to get the board to pass a resolution asking for the state to opt out of Common Core. She also intends to help protect the rights of parents and students to decide curriculum, testing and other activities in which they choose to participate. She believes that the issues with the most urgency are parental rights, public voice and local control. Mona says that our current FERPA laws have several weaknesses that make us vulnerable to violations of the law and national intrusion. She will present a policy amendment to correct that and strengthen parental rights. She tried to present this to the current board and was shut out. She believes a school board should listen to the people it represents. She supports the idea of vouchers, tuition tax credits and parental choice. She believes that this type of competition makes our public schools and the education our children receive better. She does not support the single letter grade to measure a school’s success. She does not support the state board or the governor selecting the state superintendent. She supports partisan school board elections and that board candidates should be vetted by elected, local delegates. Mona is a Republican. She believes that it was a mistake to renew the No Child Left Behind Waiver because it gives unconstitutional power to the US Department of Education. She says that the NCLB Waiver package will reduce teachers to standards-implementers, test-preppers and data points and the education of their students will suffer.
Mr. Larsen gave us Common Core. If Tom Waggoner would like to continue that work, I’m not okay with that. I think that Tom’s experience with education is lacking. Eating lunch with students does not constitute ‘educational experience.’ His experience looks more to me like it is aligned with the business world and what he can do with our children in the name of education to make reality align with his vision of society. I think his funding ideas are reckless and shortsighted by themselves and detrimental to other areas of legislative responsibility. But without oversight or stipulations in place to determine how these funds are spent, it just becomes a money tree or a cash cow for education, which is also dangerous and irresponsible. Tom’s technology plans will increase overall costs permanently without providing evidence that it is a justifiable cost. I disagree with Tom’s philosophy that education should be a competitive experience. It sounds to me like Tom believes that anyone adamantly opposed to Common Core in its entirety for principle’s sake, is only trying to be contradictory. It does not sound to me like he has any interest in listening to parental concerns. His mind is made up. He supports Common Core.
I cannot say enough good things about Mona Andrus! She was one of only two candidates who ‘get it’ in its entirety. If elected, she would be the only board member with children in each level of the school system which she would serve. This is a huge bonus to me, as she and her family actually live with the consequences of the decisions made by the board! She sees the results of their choices first-hand. Mona spoke about a resolution asking for the state to opt out of Common Core. She tried to present this resolution to the school board as a parent and Tamara Lowe would not allow her to even present it. She was shut out. This is why she is running for a place on the board, so that ‘the board’ cannot shut her out and she can give the rest of us a voice. Truly admirable! Mona Andrus is the most refreshingly informed candidate to come along in a long time. She has my full support!