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Friday, September 24, 2010

Dixie Lee Allen - District 14, Utah State School Board

Each election season Utah Moms Care seeks to educate its readers on the candidates and issues appearing on the ballot. State School Board candidates were asked to simply introduce themselves and answer two questions: What things do you think are crucial to create a quality education system in Utah that serves all children? and What obstacles do we face in improving education, and what solutions do you propose to overcoming those obstacles that are within the realm of your authority on the school board?

Name: Dixie Lee Allen
Office Seeking: State School Board
District: 14

Introduction:
My name is Dixie Lee Allen. I reside in Vernal, Utah which is part of the State School Board Boundaries of Region 14. This Region encompasses fourteen counties and fourteen school districts which are mostly rural in nature. It is my desire to run for the position of State School Board Representative for this area.
I have had the great pleasure over the past seven plus years to serve this region of the state on the State School Board. I found after my first four years on the State School Board that I needed to devote more time to my duties on the Board, so retired at the beginning of my second term on the Board and have greatly valued the time and energy I have been able to provide the districts, communities, students, teachers and parents that I have been privileged to serve.
My desire to continue to serve on the State School Board involves several very important areas of change and improvement the Board has been working on the past few years. I want to continue to serve on the State Board of Education for another four years to finish a job that we have just begun. I believe I can add the necessary time, effort, support and experience to help the State Board continue to move forward to better serve the educational community of the state.

What things do you think are crucial to create a quality education system in Utah that serves all children?

One of the most important improvements for the districts I serve, as well as the rest of the One of the most important improvements for the districts I serve, as well as the rest of the state, is a move to a recommended assessment program that grew out of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Assessment, of which I was privileged to be a member. This assessment recommendation has five pilot districts, with two pilots in my area. The emphasis of this assessment program, which now has the permission of the legislature to expand, is to move to assessment for learning, rather than assessment of learning. However, to continue to address the Federal Guidelines, we are now working on providing the necessary valid data for both purposes.
Another area, which we have been working to address, is the need for high quality instruction in every classroom, in every school in our state. The State Board developed a committee, (on which I served), spent a year with major stakeholders, including business leaders, members of the legislature, teacher and parent organizations. The committee’s purpose was to develop quality indicators of successful classrooms and the instructional process. Now with five pilot schools working on a state funded “differentiated compensation” program of development, we hope to roll out state wide recommendations on how to identify, support and evaluate quality instruction; including administrative, teacher and classroom identifiers.
One of the final “Promises to Keep” that we finalized last year encompasses the promise of establishing curriculum with high standards and relevance for all the children of Utah. Our State Board has recently adopted the “Common Core”, which was created out of research based curriculum, compared to national and international bench marks. In relationship to these student expected exit standards, we need to work to be sure the curriculum supports the exit standards and that we continue to ensure that students leave ours system with both career and college ready skills. As a member of the K-16 Alliance, we have worked diligently to develop a seamless system of expectations for our students as they move from the K-12 programs to post-secondary education, including the trade and technical students served by the Utah College of Applied Technology. Our hope is that having all students ready for post-secondary education, will assure that they will also be ready for entry level jobs in job markets that do not require a post-secondary degree.

What obstacles do we face in improving education, and what solutions do you propose to overcoming those obstacles that are within the realm of your authority on the school board?

Obstacles that we hope to overcome revolves around our ability to work to continue to develop the leadership roll of the State Board of Education. While the Legislature works to provide funding and specific programs, the State Board of Education works to fulfill their constitutional role of “general control and supervision“. Over the past few years, under the current leadership of the Board, on which I am proud to serve, we have developed a quality working relationship with both the Legislature and the Governor and look forward to encompassing all the other educational entities in a common direction.
Other issues that are critical at this point and time is improving some targeted funding for programs that research and practice identify as most helping improve the quality of instruction and student outcomes. Optional all day kindergarten is one such program that shows great improvement, especially for low income and minority students. Other programs that we believe have shown great promise to improve the quality of instruction in classrooms are those programs that provide targeted teacher training, as well as the possibility of increased teacher compensation.
Finally, the State Board has to continue to work with all the stake holders to insure that we are dealing with the issues that are of most importance to students, parents, teachers and communities where they receive their education services.

2 comments:

Laura said...

It sounded like politician talk to me. Just say it clearly and simply. We are smart enough to "get" that if you're talking about it, you were involved with it, without the constant reminder that you were "privileged to serve" in that project. I would prefer the information without the self-hype.

Laura said...

This could have been shorter, less self aggrandizing, and more readable for those who don't serve in government.