Q&A with Board of Education Candidate: Tami Carlone | #Education

Tami Carlone is a Repub­lican can­didate running for Michigan State Board of Edu­cation. Courtesy | Facebook

What is your idea of the role of gov­ernment in edu­cation?

That is a sweeping question because there are so many aspects to the dif­ferent parts of what goes on in edu­cation and the gov­ern­ment’s varying involvement in them. In short, my views all stem around the fact that having children is a gift from God to the parents and it is the parents’ God-given duty to educate their children. The gov­ernment at every level, and our courts, have solid­ified that reality.  Our local school dis­tricts are one of many tools for parents to use to accom­plish their duty.   

The gov­ernment can be involved, in my view, when stu­dents are not being well served in the current structure. For example, setting uprights and pro­gramming for special needs children.

When my own children were going through the public school system, I dis­agreed with some of the cur­riculum choices. On some points, the material wasn’t as chal­lenging as it needed to be; on others, it was inap­pro­priate for young stu­dents. Some of the material being pre­sented was more of a political agenda than an excellent edu­cation based in truth. 

The gov­ernment should be responsive to parents because parents have the ultimate respon­si­bility over edu­cating their children. The gov­ernment must not create a monopoly so that we have a one size fits all edu­cation system. Parents must have real choices in edu­cation and each choice should not have the same stan­dards, cur­riculum, and reg­u­la­tions. If, for example, gov­ernment funds go to private schools, that should not mean Common Core and more testing should follow. Com­pe­tition breeds excel­lence, and we do not want gov­ern­mental strings breaking apart what is working. Parents will choose what’s best for their children, and it is in our best interest as a society to have a well-edu­cated pop­u­lation. 

Lastly, our local school dis­tricts must be responsive to the parents in the com­munity on what material the children should learn as well. Hurtful, biased, and inap­pro­priate things should not be pre­sented to our children. As an edu­cation advocate, I’ve worked for twenty years to maintain local control and the power of parents in edu­cation.

What are some changes you’d institute into schools with COVID reg­u­la­tions? Any things you’d do dif­fer­ently or new things you’d institute if you’re elected?

We need to do what is nec­essary to keep children safe. The data shows that children have an extremely low risk of serious harm from con­tracting COVID-19, but we must protect each child. We can’t let the cure become worse than the disease, and I would work to institute stan­dards on the Board of Edu­cation that reflect that. We must provide all stu­dents with an excellent edu­cation. What we are doing now is not coming any­where close to that. Many stu­dents have lost about a year of their K‑12 edu­cation. K‑12 does not get a do-over. We must be teaching face-to-face. If children or staff are at high risk, they need to stay home. The neg­ative ram­i­fi­ca­tions of what has been going on extend well beyond poor aca­demic fall out as well. We have seen abuse, anxiety, depression, and suicide rates sky­rocket. Stu­dents are not getting enough exercise or social­ization. Young people are being asked to do things they are not capable of doing. Special needs children are getting the short end of the stick. The list goes on. Let’s give an online option for those who want or need it, but let’s get what we are paying for and what our children deserve — a com­plete edu­cation. We are devel­oping young minds. Imagine what this is doing for them. Remember, cases were not the reason for the lockdown — it was deaths. We never adjusted to reality, espe­cially for children. 

What are your biggest goals if elected?

Return aca­demic excel­lence to Michigan schools. After a large funding increase for edu­cation to fix derelict school buildings in Detroit passed, I went to the buildings in question to check on the improve­ments. The buildings had not been repaired. I went to my state rep­re­sen­tative to ask about account­ability, and he admitted there wasn’t any account­ability for how the money had been spent. We spend so much money on edu­cating our children, but they won’t benefit fully if it’s not spent well. As a cer­tified public accountant, I will bring account­ability to the edu­cation system. 

My other main goal is to bring balance to our state school stan­dards. The College, Career, and Civic Life Social Studies stan­dards adopted in 2019, for example, took school stan­dards from biased to hostile to con­ser­v­ative values. As I cam­paign across the state, I hear from tearful parents and grand­parents who say their children won’t talk to them anymore. School systems hold our children for 13 years and over 12,000 hours. When only one per­spective is taught, many children can come to see their fam­ilies as regressive. This hurts our com­mu­nities and goes against the mission of edu­cation.

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