The Spokane Public Schools board of directors will have at least one fresh face after next month’s election; possibly two, depending on the outcome of Rocky Treppiedi’s effort to secure a fourth six-year term.
We will make our endorsement Saturday in Treppiedi’s race against challenger Jerrall Haynes. Today, we recommend district voters support Patricia Kienholz over Paul Schneider.
This is a tough call between two strong candidates for the position, both of whom have children in district schools.
Schneider has taught civics and advanced placement history at University High School for 11 years. Earlier in his 18-year career, he taught one year at Shadle Park High School. His father was a teacher, his mother a counselor.
Education is in his blood, and he speaks with passion about his commitment to kids, the need to more aggressively address the district’s dropout issues, and the value of offering different learning options.
From the perspective of the classroom, he says, “I know what policy feels like.”
But Schneider opposes charter schools because, he says, they are less accountable than other schools. He supports Common Core, but adds that testing is overtaxing students and taxpayers covering the cost of multiple exams.
He would bring in a third party to help eliminate the distrust that has complicated teacher-district collective bargaining. He supported last spring’s one-day walkout, but calls strikes a “gray area.”
Kienholz has been a para-educator at Hutton Settlement Children’s Home and at Spokane Community College, where she taught chemistry. She serves on the board of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, and heads up a foundation she created, The Citizens Law and Safety Research Center, which focuses on creating safe environments for children.
She developed an anti-bullying tool that focuses on helping bully and bullied alike by encouraging each to understand the feelings of the other. She opposes school expulsion.
Kienholz supports charter schools, as well as vouchers that would pay private school costs, but adds vouchers are a state, not local, issue.
She’s also in favor of Common Core, but adds that it is not fair to tie teacher evaluations to test results.
She opposed the teacher walkout, and says Schneider’s membership in the Washington Education Association would compromise his ability to work with other board members during teacher negotiations.
Kienholz, a Ferris High School graduate, earns our endorsement because she brings a deep resume in nonprofit service, particularly child-related research.
Much as we admire Schneider’s experience in the classroom, we prefer the highly intelligent, independent voice and public research and service background Kienholz would bring to the board.
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