Michelle Dover: Candidate promises to protect public education | SteamboatToday.com

Michelle Dover: Candidate promises to protect public education

My name is Michelle Dover. I am a parent of a student in our excellent district, I work at Bud Werner Library and I am running for school board.

These experiences have prepared me to be a tireless advocate for our students and a defender of public education and equal opportunity for all. Public libraries provide free access to information, and I will bring that passion for discourse and intellectual freedom and that commitment to defending educational opportunity to my position as a member of our school board, and I ask that you trust me with that great responsibility.

There are disturbing developments in public education around the state, and I am concerned that those interests are now in Steamboat. Thompson Valley, Douglas County and Jefferson County public schools have been infiltrated by private interest groups who have pushed their political agenda on those districts.

These self-styled “reformer” school boards made national news when they mandated changes to their American history curricula that would require inaccurately teaching only positive aspects of our history, intentionally discouraging critical thinking or questioning on the part of students.

Those school boards have also siphoned public money into private schools, thus privatizing public education at the taxpayers’ expense. Those districts are currently embroiled in expensive litigation, have lost talented teachers and have destroyed the trust of many in those communities.

Public schools have a responsibility to act free of any political or commercial incentives. In Steamboat, we trust our schools, respect our teachers and insist that our school board has only local priorities. Mixing political or commercial interests with public education is a breach of public trust and duty and an unconscionable conflict of interests.

I am running for school board because I am concerned about this problem coming to our Steamboat schools, and I vow to safeguard our schools from outside interests. I will be a leader and champion of public education in Steamboat.

Acting in the best interests of our children requires cooperation among board members, a shared purpose and modeling healthy civic engagement. As a school board member, I will work for every student’s success through collaboration with other board members, community members, educators and students.

I will insist board processes are transparent by speaking directly to the issues and mindfully listening to all voices. Transparency allows the articulation of shared goals and accountability, is essential for trust among all of our constituents and is conducive to action and efficiency as we work together to constantly improve our excellent schools.

I am dedicated to ensuring our award-winning schools continue to provide the best possible education for our students and to provide any support necessary to continue to improve student achievement into the future.

In the more than 20 years that I have been in Steamboat Springs, I have observed the incredible power of public education in this community. My four older children all attended the Steamboat Springs schools and went on to successful collegiate and professional careers, and I attribute much of their success to our public schools and the excellent teachers who guided, encouraged and, most importantly, truly educated them in the process.

Steamboat Springs School District and its community is a nurturing and stimulating nest in which to raise confident, thoughtful, critical thinkers and citizens before they go out into the world. As a member of the Steamboat Springs School Board, I will continue to support, value and protect public education for you and with you, and I humbly ask for your support and for your vote. Thank you.

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