Davis for Local Education

Candidate: Mark Bouchard

Office: State School Board, District 5 (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?

A1: Yes

Q2: Do you believe parents should be able to opt a student out of the Core aligned tests and the State Longitudinal Database System?

A2: No

Q3: Do you believe Utah should provide universal pre-K education for children?

A3: Yes

Q4: What are the three (3) most critical education issues in our county?

A4-1: Teacher Development

A4-2: Classroom Sizes (K-6)

A4-3: Testing

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. I believe we need more funding statewide, not only in Davis County, in order to provide teacher development. We also need to give teachers fair increases each year.​

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: Completely eliminating it

Q7: If you want to clarify any of your answers, please do so here.

A7: (Not answered)

Q8: If you want to share a brief position on education issues, please do so here.

A8: I believe there are huge misconceptions about the Common Core and the Utah Core. I believe in high standards for our students. I believe we as parents should have the opportunity to understand what is actually being taught to our children and that our voices should be heard, if only at the local school board level to filter up. I believe parents should have the opportunity to learn the new curriculum if they so choose. I believe teachers should have proper development and training with new curriculum. And I believe that testing should be done once a year at the end of the year. Whew!

Member Opinions

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.:

Laura Collier Belnap. lbelnap@utahonline.org, www.laurabelnap.com

Laura has plenty of experience in education, having taught public school, currently running an on-line school and serving on the board of a state charter school. She believes in allocating existing funds better, rather than raising taxes to acquire more funding. She is comfortable with the Common Core Standards, but feels that teachers need more professional training to implement them better. She is concerned about the diminishing role of family involvement and recognizes that no public program can compensate for that. She believes that technology is a very supportive tool for students. She does not agree with the way our schools are currently being graded. She believes in parental choice for the education of their children and that the funds should follow the student. She does not believe that the governor should be appointing the state superintendent. She feels that school board elections should be non-partisan. She is a Republican. She supports learning at the local level and disagrees with the federal over-reach into our schools. She believes that money cannot be the ruling factor.

Mark Bouchard. mark.bouchard@cbre.com

Mark currently serves as the Chair of the Governors Education Excellence Commission. He was also the founding Chairman of Prosperity 2020. He believes he knows the consequences better than most if our children are not ready for today’s workforce. Mark supports Common Core and believes that they are higher standards, that they present a new and demanding environment and that they prepare students for college and career readiness. He believes our teachers need more professional development. He believes that a financial investment in higher standards will improve education. He believes that we need to hire an independent source to evaluate what our national and global ‘best practices’ should be. He disagrees with the current school grading system. He believes that the state superintendent should continue to be appointed by the state board, but that they should also consult with an outside entity. He believes in the tradition of the governor appointing school board members, although it was recently ruled unconstitutional. He is a Republican. He believes that the mistrust which exists between parents and the school board is due to a teacher morale problem because their work conditions are less than par. He believes that financial investment and earmarks will help alleviate this issue. He believes that renewing the No Child Left Behind Waivers was the right thing to do.

My Comments

This is a very controversial race. There were originally 70 candidates who applied for this position. After the majority had been weeded out and the governor chose the final two contestants, one of the dismissed candidates, Breck England, filed a law suit... and won. The judge ruled that this weeding out process was unconstitutional. However, only Breck England was re-added to the candidate list, not any of the others who had formerly been unconstitutionally dismissed. Within a week after his reinstatement, Breck England dropped out of the race and swayed all of his votes to Mark Bouchard.

When I read Laura Belnap’s questionnaire, I was not overly impressed. I was more impressed, however, after meeting her and listening to her speak. My greatest concern with her is that she is not willing to fight to rid us of the whole Common Core package. However, I believe her heart is in the right place and that she may be willing to listen and learn. Between the two, she is by far the better candidate. I found Mark Bouchard to be an arrogant man with no educational background other than the Governor’s Education Excellence Commission and Prosperity 2020, each of which is more of a business endeavor than an educational one. Nothing he said was remotely related to what benefits our children. All of his remarks were centered around how our children could benefit society.