On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly District 9 and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education District 8. To help inform voters, the Homer News will introduce the candidates, show their answers to a group of questions and give them an opportunity to make their pitch on why you should elect them. This week, we share the candidates’ responses to questions formulated by the Homer News.
Borough School Board, District 8
Current District 8 school board member Mike Illg’s seat also is up for election. He has chosen not to run for re-election.
District 8 includes the city of Homer and Kachemak City. The candidates are:
1. Given the increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and positive cases, do you think the school district should do more in response to the pandemic? What suggestions do you have for addressing the ongoing challenge of the pandemic?
Britny Bradshaw: School age children, parents, and teachers in Alaska have experienced a drastic disruption in the educational process in the last year in the name of public health. Although cases are currently rising, we now have better information and tools we can implement to keep our children safer within the schools themselves. It is now our job and priority to work with these changes to ensure that our children’s educational experience is consistent and positive. This means adapting to common sense measures as the pandemic progresses without sacrificing the academic needs of our school district.
Tim Daugharty: Overall I think the district has done an admirable job in attempting to manage this fluid never experienced phenomenon. With information surfacing daily from many sources, navigating this journey is challenging at best if not nearly impossible. Educators are professional in their field, not necessarily in the medical field. For that information we must trust those who have made their careers in the study of medicine and are guided by their Hippocratic Oath.
I believe that the energy directed toward school administration criticism may be misguided.That energy should be directed toward those who have the power to make the hard decisions with access to accurate unbiased data.
2. In terms of the district’s COVID-19 mitigation plan, what would you change? Keep? What changes would you make if the pandemic gets even worse or if it gets better?
Britny Bradshaw: I believe the district’s mitigation plan is sound, but that parents should be as involved as possible in the decisions that affect the safety and education of their children. As a parent of four children, I recognize that we are in unfamiliar territory where we must balance the health of our children with their equally valuable educational needs. While I hope that we have seen the worst of this pandemic in terms of academic disruption, I feel confident that any changes to district policy should be made with the educational quality and consistency as one of the highest priorities.
Tim Daugharty: Again, it would be hard to be critical of the mitigation plan because much of it is recommended by health care professionals. Our Superintendent’s administration has agreed to take on the development of the plan and I know they work hard everyday to evaluate effectiveness. I know the decisions are difficult and oftentimes stressful but we as the Kenai Peninsula School District are doing as well as most districts in our state. My stand is to get the students in school safely (emotionally, mentally, physically) any way we can. Use the proposed idea to treat all schools in an independent manner and determine the safest methods to protect all students and staff. That takes lots of work, energy, and patience by all the KPBSD constitutes.
3. In American history there have been incidents of racial injustice, such as the Oct. 26, 1882, bombardment by the U.S. Navy of the village of Angoon that killed 13 people, including children, and destroyed much of the village. How should this and other similar historical events be taught in public schools?
Britny Bradshaw: History offers us the opportunity to learn from past mistakes and allows us to study the reasons why people behave the way they do and how our government has evolved, for better or worse. As a result, we are given the opportunity to become more compassionate as people and more impartial as decision makers. I believe the Alaskan educational system should embrace the opportunity to teach all aspects of history as accurately as possible in an environment where kids can ask questions and receive educated, unbiased answers.
Tim Daugharty: For school districts these incidents are evaluated in curriculum review committees and then passed on to teachers for delivery. The curriculum content is developed by review committees with input by administrators, teachers and parents ensuring diversity of opinion. Teachers need to adhere to these guidelines without bias or prejudice while challenging students to critically think and draw their own conclusions on content. All stories are told from a subjective point of view, which means we need to teach multiple perspectives, especially on current and historical events. Bringing personal views or propaganda to the classroom is a violation of the Teachers Professional Practices Commission and can and should be dealt with accordingly.
4. What qualifies you to be elected to the school board?
Britny Bradshaw: What uniquely qualifies me to be elected to the school board is the fact that I am a parent of children within the school system. We are in uncharted waters with this pandemic and the assembly needs members who are personally invested to ensure an effective bridge between the needs of the community and the kids. I have been active in all 4 of my children’s classrooms for 10+ years and have also helped create and chair multiple events that financially benefitted the schools. I am confident that I am an effective voice for the current educational dynamic our district is facing.
Tim Daugharty: 30+ years of experience in education; Taught most curriculums at Homer Middle School; Sat on numerous steering committees and site councils for KPBSD Principal at Nunamiut School, NSBSD; Building Union Steward KPEA; Coach and mentor to hundreds of students during teaching tenure; Life long learner; Community School Coordinator
5. Have you received any of the COVID-19 vaccines? If not, why not?
Britny Bradshaw: I am hesitant to answer this question as I believe the country at large is becoming divisive and falling into vax vs. un-vax, which is not constructive. For the first time in history, personal healthcare choices are being aired as fair game for public judgment when the reality is that there are many factors that make it a personal decision. Neither choice exempts any of us from taking common sense precautions to keep each other as safe as possible. I support every individual’s decision to make sound medical choices for themselves while promoting the general welfare of each other.
Tim Daugharty: Yes.
6. Have you ever been charged with a crime? If so, what was the result?
Britny Bradshaw: I have never been convicted of a crime and I have the highest respect for laws and the ways that they help shape and protect our community. I look forward to serving on the school board and adding my voice to those that are actively working to help our community and our schools navigate the unprecedented issues we are currently facing and ultimately returning to the issues like comparative testing scores and scholastic and arts opportunities.