Knockoff Naomi

A few extra candidate commentaries for Minnesota. I'm no Kritzer, but I'll do what I can.

ISD 194 Minnesota school board election candidates

Table of Contents

According to the Sun, there are 7 candidates running for 4 seats on the ISD 194 Lakeville, Minnesota school board.

I believe voting works like this: ISD 194 Lakeville school district residents will be able to mark up to 4 bubbles on this list of 7 candidates. The 4 candidates with the most total votes each will win. Not sure if there will be a write-in option.

I only had time to skim the Sun questionnaire, but City of Lakeville also has a candidate forum video online.

Carly Anderson

Friends whose judgment and values I trust have told me they're voting for Carly Anderson, Kathy Lewis, and Andy Lundblad.

I like that Carly leads by talking about how academic success is whole-student success, and that school districts can help with both.

I like that she points out that we're still dealing "the effects of a pandemic". That's true no matter how you feel about contagion mitigation policies in late 2022! She reiterates the point when talking about curriculum, giving it a "yes-and" approach acknowledging how professional teachers are, and also not dodging the hard reality (too often used as a talking point to accuse school districts of being horrible) that the pandemic did result in learning-loss. But she approaches it from a "and that's why school boards are there -- to help" perspective. She uses "learning loss" not as a political cudgel, but as an opening to talk about how Lakeville can "recover."

Disagreement: I like her "In the event that my views don't align with other stakeholders, I will request extra feedback and conduct additional research."

Education and inclusion: this one's going to sound funny, because later in this article, I'll say I don't like a candidate for dodging this question by claiming he's completely uninformed "as a parent" (he is running to manage the district, after all, not just continue to be a parent!), but I like what a bridge-builder Carly is by saying she wants to get information out to parents better.

That's two "throw the bums out" talking-points I've seen her flip on their heads in one questionnaire and say, "Great -- I see you're upset about that -- let's deal with that." When Carly Anderson says she'll listen, I believe her, based on this questionnaire.

Kathy Lewis

Friends whose judgment and values I trust have told me they're voting for Carly Anderson, Kathy Lewis, and Andy Lundblad.

She's an incumbent.

I like that her ideas about curriculum are very "yes-and" -- she doesn't criticize people on the core. Just "let's get people new buildings, more individualized teaching, more electives, more apprenticeships, earlier languages."

I like that she said "The board works and speaks as a whole making decisions. And I support board decisions for the district." I can be a rabble-rouser myself and can't stand wagon-circling in politics, but I've found that on school board elections, people who say "even if I voted against it, I'm not going to make a stink about it once it's policy" tend to be good at governance.

Equity & inclusion: again, I like that Kathy Lewis doesn't see this as some sort of hot-button issue to get her back up over, but as a simple idea that communities all do better when they all do better -- naming ideas such as transportation, program offerings, individualized education, pathways to careers and the trades alongside college preparation, etc.

Andy Lundblad

Friends whose judgment and values I trust have told me they're voting for Carly Anderson, Kathy Lewis, and Andy Lundblad.

I really liked that Andy has a holistic view of what it means to be "safe" at school (all the way from crosswalks to internet safety, as well as more conventional issues like bullying and extreme violence), and leads with the idea that safety from all kinds of harms is worth making proactive investments in, using the power of the board.

I also like that he compliments teachers on their skills, training, and work and talks about what he, as a board member, could to support them.

I know everyone's giving wishy-washy "what I'd do if I disagreed" answers, but somehow, his "It's going to happen -- and I value listening to such people so that we can better brainstorm common ground to work on together" answer struck me just a little better than some other respondents' answers as the kind of person I'd like to have on a school board for my kids if I lived in Lakeville.

Andy Lundblad, when talking about equity and inclusion, cements my opinion of him as someone who builds bridges when everyone's a little overstressed -- again, thanking staff members already dedicated to a specialty for their work (which has included outreach to parents and the rest of the community in the form of surveys, which he took the time to read the results of), and then saying, "We can begin by re-framing inclusion as a value for all of us, because the entire community benefits" and putting people at ease that Lakeville isn't under some sort of attack -- this is just another "challenge for all districts, not just Lakeville" that school boards get to help bring together a community to tackle.

Kim Baker

I can't tell what to make of this candidate from the news survey alone.

I don't see any political dog whistles that concern me, but I also don't see a lot of meat on the bones of this candidate's platform.

It's sort of "be nice and like everybody and we'll figure it out as we go" platform.

Which I guess I prefer to "pass rules that are institutionally and structurally cruel to people."

The main thing I saw that mentioned a specific investment in students that the district has made -- or could make -- was a compliment celebrating that Lakeville raised its own taxes and invested in school counselor at every elementary school.

Also uses words like "entrusted" and "well-rounded" and defers to Lakeville's professional staff "teaching and learning department" for issues of curriculum.

I'm cautiously optimistic.

Marilee Jager

I would not vote for this candiate. The quote "The district's specific curriculum should be more transparent for the parents" and the strong focus on things like math standardized test scores seem to me to be a veiled way of saying, "Don't let trained history teachers teach accurate history."

I feel like she kind of avoided implying she wouldn't complain about a board's decision if it didn't vote her way, or implying that she'd really take any feedback she'd heard into consideration when voting.

And on equity and inclusion, her position was basically, "The bare minimum required by the state is enough. Why bother to try to be better than passing?" (Which strikes me as a bit funny, because she was horrified at a slight slip from right-at-the-top-of-the-state on standardized test scores.) And then said she hadn't even yet bothered to read anything about how well Lakeville is doing by bare-minimum state standards.

Bree Schindele

I would not vote for this candidate. Vague answers, but "make sure parents are aware of what's being taught in the classroom" sounds like "Don't let trained history teachers teach accurate history" fearmongering to me.

I also didn't like the way asking if the school district was doing a good job on "equity and inclusion" came down to "boost average test scores and that'll mean we're inclusive."

Brian Thompson

I would not vote for this candiate. I'm not a fan of his "keep politics out of schools and focus on math" rhetoric -- in 2022, it seems to be a veiled way of saying, "Don't let trained history teachers teach accurate history."

He also completely avoided answering the newspaper's question about what he would do if he disagreed with other members of the board or citizens.

And claiming the district hasn't explained "what is equity and inclusion," when I'm sure like every other district in America they probably send out newsletters, publish policies on their website, etc. etc. etc. so as to avoid answering an important question strikes me as absolutely absurd and dismissive of the serious responsibility to take care of all Lakeville residents that a school board member should embrace.

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