Mesa School Board - Candidate Response - Steven Peterson

Steve Hetsler

 

1)     What is the purpose of K-12 Education?

 

My views on the purpose of K-12 education are similar to those posted by the Gates foundation on August 29, 2012 as stated below:

 

“Education fulfills our social obligation, as a people, to transfer the wealth of human knowledge to all our children. The goal of our public system is to allow every child to develop his/her talent, and bring each one of them into full membership in our economic, cultural, and social national community. This includes music, the arts, sports, physical and mental play, communication and expression. We prepare children to become active contributors to our culture and full participants in our democratic institutions.”

 

2)     What are the primary responsibilities of a Board member?

 

The powers and duties of a board member are defined in MPS governing board policy BBA which can be found on the MPS website.

 

3)     What metrics should be used in evaluating teacher performance?

 

As you are aware, various measures can be used to evaluate a teacher’s performance.  Some of the measures include performance in the class room as defined by rubric templates, extra-circular activities, education, leadership roles and student performance.  Student performance is difficult to implement because of the lack data that is consistently measured over a period of time, reliable and adjust for the background of the students.  Therefore, most of the teacher performance evaluation I am aware of exclude student performance. 

 

4)     What changes should the Board, by itself or through the ASBA, seek in Title 15 of the Arizona Revised Statutes?

 

Generally, the Board doesn’t seek to change Title 15.  The vast majority of their efforts are focused on setting policies and hiring a superintendent in order to fulfill the tasks as outlined in Title 15 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

 

Changes to Title 15 are the responsibility of the state elected officials including the state senators and legislators.  The board does provide input primarily through the ASBA, the superintendent and his/her staff.

 

Personally, I would like to see changes in:

  • A set of standards the citizens of Arizona can agree upon
  • A proper funding formula that is sustainable and appropriate at both the district and state level
  • A better school choice solution.  The current delivery model of traditional public schools and charter schools operating in the same geographic area creates waste of tax payer funds and hinders sharing of resources.  The current approach isn’t in the best interest of the standard of giving all children a quality educational opportunity.

 

5)    When does the government’s authority to decide a child’s education outweigh a parent’s right to raise their child as they see fit?

 

This isn’t a school board issue we get to discuss or debate.  The Board receives very specific guidelines regarding the education of the children that live within their geographic boundaries. 

 

Personally, I feel it is the parent’s responsibility to see to the education of their children.  The school they choose is a tool to fulfill this responsibility.

 

6)    What can the Federal Government do for education that the State and Local Districts can’t do for themselves?

 

What the Federal Government can do and what they are doing are two different questions. 

 

What the Federal Government can do if desired by the citizens of the USA:

  • Work with the states to develop consistent standards including college entrance exams.

 

What the Federal Government is doing is well beyond that level of involvement.  Schools receive significant funding from the Federal Government which are tied to various programs, demographics or circumstances.  These issues could be handled at the local and state level including appropriate funding through taxes.

 

7)    How can Mesa Public Schools distinguish itself from charter and private schools, neighboring districts and home schooling?

 

Mesa Public Schools (MPS) continues to distinguish itself from other options through:

  • Comprehensive offerings
  • Schools of excellence
  • School choice
  • Use of technology at an appropriate level
  • Dedicated teachers
  • Efficient support from the District
  • Community programs

 

8)    What unique talents and perspectives will you bring to the Board/Why are you running (closing statement)?

 

I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve on the Board for the past 7 plus years. Through this process, I have gained an understanding of the issues and responsibilities facing the Board during the next 4 years.   Some of the key issues include:

  • Maintaining a focus on supporting teachers and students to enhance student learning.
  • Continuing to implement the use of technology.
  • Renewing the bond override as well as planning for and requesting a capital bond, both in 2018. These bonds are a renewal of existing bonds. Their renewal will be critical to maintaining salaries and wages, facilities, technology, and materials.
  • Supporting student safety.
  • Reviewing other school choice options.

I am a CPA with experience in both the private and the public sectors.  My wife and I have raised 8 children that have attended schools in Colorado, Tennessee, Connecticut, and Arizona.  Six of our children have graduated from MPS.

I am running at the request of various city leaders in order to maintain the experienced leadership the MPS Board has been blessed with for many years.  I would appreciate you vote on November 8, 2016.

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