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Many reasons, one theme; parents running for Orange County school seats want to be involved – Orange County Register

From a desire to increase literacy rates to concerns about educational materials, the 120 people running for more than 40 seats on Orange County school boards offer a wide range of reasons to want the job.

For Lisa Wozab, a mother of three who has worked with a variety of nonprofits related to education and youth, her candidacy for the open seat on School District Administrator’s Zone 4 of Fullerton relates to the desire for better communication between school officials and parents.

“The rights, contribution and collaboration of parents are really important. And when we address issues that may not be what parents think are developmentally appropriate, we need to make sure we’re very clear and give parents options to opt out,” Wozab said.

Conservatives have targeted school board elections as opportunities for civic engagement, particularly in recent years, in an effort to push back against what they see as damaging lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic and what they see as cultural and political indoctrination in school curricula.

“Not only were many parents frustrated with the length of time their children were out of school, but many became upset when they had the opportunity to see firsthand what was included in many plans. lessons for their children,” said Dan Schnur, a former campaigner. consultant who teaches political messaging at UC Berkeley and USC.

“A conservative parent might have been vaguely aware that his local school was not teaching in a way he would find acceptable. But during COVID, they got to see it up close.

But others come forward because they support introducing students to a wide range of materials that promote critical thinking.

“Public school students need to develop the ability to research topics from all perspectives, consider all arguments, and reach conclusions independently,” said Irvine Unified School District candidate Katie McEwen. .

“Teachers should also support critical thinking skills by encouraging students to explore a variety of authors and books and by facilitating open and fair discussions. At a time when students often depend on unreliable social media resources for their information, providing students with access to books with diverse viewpoints is more critical than ever. »

AFTER: Discover your candidates in our 2022 Voter’s Guide

The registry administered questionnaires to approximately five dozen school board applicants in Orange County. Many have expressed concerns about age-appropriate books in libraries or the teaching of so-called “critical race theory” in schools.

“With 22 years of experience as a public school counselor, I firmly stand by my position that critical race theory should not be taught to students and will write a board resolution stating so,” said Newport-Mesa candidate Reina Shebesta. Unified School District.

“Curriculum determination is critical and a vital role for the Placentia-Yorba Linda School Board. However, the power should be with the parents,” said Steve Slawson, a Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District candidate. “I am with parents, against critical race theory and in favor of a return to basics such as math, reading and writing.”

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