Ron Bucheger, incumbent Area 3 Trustee in the Bass Lake Joint Union School District and challenger Julie Greenwood fielded questions primarily on Common Core, an education standard adopted by 42 states during a meeting of the Mountain Area’s Tea Party this week.
In a general sense, the Common Core State Standards Initiative, developed in 2009 and adopted by the California State Board of Education in 2010, allows teachers more flexibility in designing curriculum in English and math for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Common Core’s standards have been criticized by some as being too loosely defined, including from around 25 who attended the Tea Party meeting Oct. 19 and asked whether Bucheger or Greenwood supported them.
Both candidates agreed though they’re not experts, Common Core was mandated by the state and as members of a school board, they must follow the law.
“I’m not worried about it because I think in a few years there will be something new that comes out that people will be expected to bend and change to,” Greenwood said. “I think we have great teachers and that’s what’s important, not a set of standards.”
“What we try to do on a school board is use the time and resources we have the best we can to teach them to be ready for the future,” Bucheger added. “So we don’t go tilting a windmill like Common Core, because it’s a law and that’s what kids are being tested on.”
Another issue brought up by the audience was transgendered students and what the district - which includes Oakhurst Elementary School, Wasuma Elementary School, and Oak Creek Intermediate - would do should a young student identify as the opposite sex and choose to use the corresponding bathroom.
“I don’t think this is as big an issue at K-8 schools as it may be for high schools,” Bucheger said. “But of course we’d take public input on these sorts of issues and work out what’s best.”
“I feel like the whole issue could be fixed if we made each door one stall, and modified the bathrooms,” Greenwood said. “But that costs money ... I don’t think I want to squelch what anybody wants to be when they grow up, though. We’re here to support kids and let them figure out what they want to be, not push them into what we want them to be.”
Both candidates were cordial with each other during the evening, in contrast to many state or national political races. They complimented each other on their desire to work hard for students, and said their goals to be elected were a matter of different perspectives, as outlined in the statements they provided to the Sierra Star earlier this month.
The next Oakhurst/Coarsegold/Mountain Area Tea Party meeting is scheduled for the night of the general election, Nov. 8, starting at 6:30 p.m. inside the Republican Party headquarters on Road 426.
Details: John Pero, (408) 893-8348.