Peter Kriz 2013

05-14-2013

Peter Nicholas Kriz
Candidate - Zone 5 Trustee

Age: 48
City of residence: Sandpoint
Years of residence: Resident of Sandpoint since February 2011
Family: Marital status: Married, three children
Spouse: Rita
Kids: Three
Alessandra (current Freshman, SHS);
Sofia (current 6th grade, Washington Elem.; 2013-14: Stanford Online High School)
Andres (current 1st grade, Washington Elementary)
How can the public contact you: pn.kriz@gmail.com

Qualifications
Education:

- Stanford University, AB Economics & BS Engineering
- Harvard University, Ed.M. Administration, Planning & Social Policy
- University of California, Santa Cruz, Ph.D. International Economics


Recent or pertinent employment history:
- Senior Lecturer & Assistant Professor, Economics, Singapore Management University
- Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Singapore Management University
- Research Consultant, ASEAN+3 Research Group, Singapore
- Director, Data Analysis, The Education Trust-West, Oakland, CA (albeit a brief stint)
- Consulting Budget & Statistics Analyst, San Francisco Unified School District
- Volunteer Teacher, Volunteers-in-Asia, Taiwan


Public offices held: None.


Other volunteer positions: Student Support Associate for Washington/LPOSD, Stanford University Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) Open Enrollment Program.


What particular experiences or skills qualify you to serve on the school board? T
• My work as consultant for the ASEAN+3 Secretariat, my tenure at Singapore Management University both as faculty and as part of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and early work at the Harvard Institute for International Development each gives me a useful perspective on educational institutions and systems that can benefit LPOSD.
• My time as a professor, where I designed nine individual undergraduate and graduate level theoretical and policy courses and the role I have played with my own children over the years gives me a unique perspective of programs and curriculum and their linkages within LPOSD
• My professorship in economics, my experience designing a course in business statistics at the university level and brief stint as the director of data analysis at a major educational non-profit, and budget and statistics consultancies with San Francisco Unified has exposed me to a variety of evaluative methodologies in education
• My teaching experiences with undergraduate and graduate students in economics, statistics and finance, my volunteer teaching overseas, and my efforts with my own children gives me intimate knowledge on just how taxing teaching can be and how profound are its moral responsibilities. I am also familiar with the seemingly contradictory yearnings for both intellectual freedom and a stable institutional structure.
• As a parent of three who have been in a full range of educational institutions: private, public, non-profit, community, international, online and homeschool courses and having been a professor, I have seen schooling in virtually all formats, at all levels, and across several countries.
• Finally, I have experience in economics, planning, statistics, data analysis, political economy, public policy in domestic and international settings, negotiation, teaching, curriculum design, student evaluation, school-to-work transition, and an assortment of soft skills.

Candidate Positions
1. Why are you running for trustee? How much time can you devote to board service?
• I am running for trustee because I want to change the paradigm of discourse from one in which students, parents, and taxpayers defer to the institutional prerogative to one in which institutions are designed to bend to the demands of those same stakeholders. The days of schools delivering a relatively uniform content virtually unchanged year to year are long gone. Today and in the future, schools must cater to a diversity of wants and needs based on a 21st century global economy in which corporate and industrial half-lives can be measured not in terms of decades but often in terms of years or months. The modern public school system must transform to this unfortunate reality or become irrelevant baggage to progress.
• I am running for trustee because I want to see LPOSD (and America for that matter) empower students to succeed in a 21st century economy that is vastly more competitive and brutal than the world I faced as a teenager in the 1970s and 1980s. Pathways to university and the job market have gone from certain rights to uncertain financial risks lined with debt and diluted skills.
• I am running because I think American public education is more 1973 than 2023 and will require vision and sweat to make the transition. It won’t be easy. Why not the 1970s? I think that any public schooling system using public dollars resources must educate a child for the generation into which he or she will have, my affinity for the 70s notwithstanding. This transition is about technology, global market realities, and the cheap availability of data. It is about new paradigms at a time when it is abundantly clear the US is no longer a hegemonic power and Americans had better shed its complacency
.        

2. How frequently have you attended school board meetings? Have you been involved in any other school activities or groups?
• I have never attended school board meetings, not for lack of want, but for lack of time.
• Activities: Last year I began and implemented a process to enroll Washington Elementary in Stanford University’s EPGY (Education Program for Gifted Youth) Open Enrollment Program. This online, self-study program offers English (grades 2-6) & Math (grades K through Intro Algebra) at a 95% discount. To date, we are the only school in the state of Idaho participating in the EPGY program.

3. Do you believe the district is doing a good job or poor job in educating students? Why?
• Without access to longitudinal, student-level data (where one can examine individual student progress over time through the district), and a proper analysis of that data, it would be premature for me to judge the effectiveness of the district on increasing learning, expanding horizons, developing self-awareness and pathways, etc. Garden variety standardized tests and the standard repertoire of LPOSD pronouncements are no substitutes for solid institutional research as they offer only limited understanding of student learning much less any sense of impact on that learning by schools.
• If elected, I would be interested in examining whatever data I could get my hands on—longitudinal, MasterPass scores, AP test scores, etc. Perhaps more important would be to get a hold of Freshman performances in college and university, as well as job market success for those not going directly into higher education. I would enjoy spearheading such an effort, as that data is actuality the true measure of district value-added.
• I would also add that at the younger grades, assessment of District value-added is going to difficult. Many of the children are so young and my experience less concrete. More qualitative measures are needed.

4. What changes, if any, would you seek in the district’s curriculum?
• All these suggestions require considerable effort. The District should find a way to pay for these changes.
• Many of these suggestions are focused on secondary education, particularly the high school. It is then paramount that elementary and middle school curricula follow suit. For even the best-intentioned high schools and teachers can do little if incoming students are ill prepared!
• Computer Science
    - Create a Computer Science Program! Correct me if I am wrong, but there are no computer programming courses formally taught in the LPOSD. No C, no C++, no Python, no Ruby, no Visual Basic, and no Java or Javscript. The applied technology courses, which appear to be quite interesting, are all nonacademic. Also, it is also likely then none of the math or science courses are taught with any programming integrated within them. Which is a shame since that is science is actually heavily dependent on programming. Tragic.
• Eliminate the Social Sciences
    - I am not a fan of social sciences in middle or high schools…and I say this from the perspective of a professional social scientist! First, there are huge opportunity costs. Second, they require more exposure to life to be effective. Third, they introduce specific paradigms and methodologies which are really better suited to university or self-study. Students are better served with increased rigor in mathematics, history and writing.
    - One caveat: a course in game theory, i.e. strategic decision making, would serve the aims of all those students interested in the social sciences. Fun and universally applicable. Statistics would also be invaluable to social science students. Finally, elements of economics, political science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and area studies elements can always be brought into history and English courses as exercises and options.
• Limit quirky courses such like international relations, Real Life, etc.
    - While I think institutions need to offer a few such courses every year for both teachers to express their interests and for students to explore, the opportunity cost can be great. Some of these courses are better taught in university where skills and are more likely to be sufficiently developed.
    - That said, offer this opportunity for faculty to innovate and perhaps generate extra revenue from their curricula.
    - Rotate these offerings rather then root them in the curriculum as permanent fixtures.
    - Another would be to incorporate their best features in the humanities courses, as independent study/directed reading, or as student activities.
• Engineering/Technology
    - Convert the technology education courses into proto-Engineering courses with more math and science and art. Engineering is applied physics combined the specifics of a given scientific discipline and product design. It is the quintessential marriage of art & science. To be effective, engineering courses at the secondary level need to bring in each these elements while allowing for tangible outcomes to excite the young mind.
    - Make LPOSD a polytechnic-friendly district!
• Math:
    - Commit to offering Calculus BC and advanced courses using MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) that are offered for free by the best universities in the world. These can include courses in logic and advanced proof techniques, and multivariable calculus.
    - Integrate such as Sage or Geometer’s sketchpad so that students can integrate programming and formatted technical writing (like LATEX) with embedded mini-programs that can highlight the beauty of dynamic mathematics. 
    - Offer an honors geometry course focused on rigorous proofs (which can be tested with proof testing software). Without such a course, LPOSD risks limiting pathways in math-heavy fields like physics, statistics, quantitative finance, and pure mathematics which all rely heavily on proofs.
    - Offer applied math courses offered to tie into computer science or the sciences. These would be exciting and allow students to see science and math come to life. An example would be a course in numerical methods…again something one can find available through MOOCs.
    - Expand Dual Credit to include more advanced learning. Currently, courses at UI beyond calculus cost $2500+ per course!! Insane!
• Science
    - Commit to developing the entire pathway to AP chemistry and AP physics B & C. Perfect place for MOOCs.
    - Offer a course in genetics for advanced bio/chem students.
    - Offer a course in astronomy/cosmology courses. LOL, how on earth do you begin studying science without a primer on the universe?
    - Science in the 21st century is about genetics, nanotechnology, optics, material science, and unlocking mysteries of the universe. It is about energy and sustainability. It is about mechanism design and financial engineering. The science curriculum should reflect that in an overt and obvious manner. It is increasingly virtual.
    - Ensure that our students are familiar with the latest virtual lab software and dynamic programs that bring science and math to life.
• History:
    - Transform history courses from MCQ focused courses to writing-intensive courses. I cannot emphasize this enough. History is all about critical thinking and critical analysis. Perhaps nothing has destroyed American education more than MCQ exams.
    - Reshuffle the sequencing of history: World History 9th grade should be followed in 10th by European History followed by US History in 11th. One cannot possibly understand American history isolated from European history and thought or from shifting global political economy. European History itself is best understood with an understanding of classical, dark age, medieval and renaissance histories. Embedded in this sequencing then would be a chance to study the formation of Western Culture.
    - History courses should all be taught as AP or AP-equivalent courses with an emphasis on critical thinking and writing. Nothing does a student more of a disservice than to water down a curriculum and require a second course to take the real thing.
    - Introduce a course on monetary and financial history. It would be perhaps the best way to introduce economics, politics and institutions without bothering with the baggage of the social sciences as science.
• English: 
    - Split English education into three components: (a) expository writing & argumentation, (b) literary analysis, and (c) creative writing & poetry. These are distinct forms of writing with only expository writing & argumentation necessary in K-12, a conclusion backed by recent research that tries to explain the atrocious writing of most American students.
    - Before I get burned at the stake, I am not suggesting literature and poetry be removed but rather the required courses be focused squarely on helping students with their analytical and critical writing. 
    - Require the expository writing and argumentation courses but move literary analysis and creative writing courses to electives. Moreover, allow up to two Writing Intensive History courses to count toward the English requirement.
    - Creative Writing and Poetry should be more fully developed and be seen as important as literature courses. These courses are about expression, innovation and creation. These are as active as active learning get. 
    - Elementary Schools must enable graduates to have the basic writing and grammar elements down pat and to be able to construct the basic paragraph.
    - Middle schools must bear the largest burden and move students from the basic paragraph to master the basic three-paragraph essay. Middle school students also need to exit with the ability and expectation to back up assertions with evidence and understand the science of arguments. With well-prepared entering high school, high school English courses can really develop students’ abilities in argumentative and persuasive writing.
    - Common Core: To the extent the common core content can serve the structure above, I am all for it. But I would be against full-blown, long-term commitment to a curriculum that cannot fit within the holistic changes I am proposing. I also believe in the need for local school staff to develop curricula. Put another way, if a school district is unable to develop their own standards and curricula and must import it from outside, it would indicate deeper problems. K-12 curriculum is NOT very difficult. More difficult is dealing with parents, student discipline, politics, etc. of education. When it all said and done, I would put my curriculum ideas up against any I have seen in public schools, though for the best I have ever seen, see the curriculum pathways at http://ohs.stanford.edu/, the gold standard. A final comment on this: if the state curriculum gets in the way of what we can achieve her, let’s find a way around it. I realize they are providing most of the funding, but surely there is always a way to interject some discretion.
• Foreign Languages
    - Should be optional and involve user fees, though subsidized.
    - These are the languages of our biggest trading partners and competitors or of importance in the global community (in parentheses the number of students in the entire state of Idaho who sat for the 2012 AP Exam for each language—incredibly low)
1. Chinese (4)
2. Spanish (94)
3. German (3)
4. Japanese (1)
5. French (6)
• The Arts
    - I would like to see these courses be brought into the mainstream of the core education, as they have much to offer in terms of active learning and reflection.
• Some Comments
    - I really do not like to see students having to complete so many graded assignments particularly at the high school level. Coming from university, I find the number is incredible, excessive, and I think counterproductive not only to student experience in high school but beyond. 
    - Students’ ability to succeed in university, grad school and in much of working world depends on personal responsibility and mastery of their tasks where evaluations are based on longer horizons not hoop jumping. Yes, this does put more responsibility into the hands of students. But they need to take ownership of that responsibility. One can do that reducing the number of graded assignments and increasing the weight on assignments that have import. Make no mistake: overloading students with assignments is emphasizing control over personal responsibility and control over mastery and creativity.
• Most of what I write above has to do with high schools. What about K-8 schools? What I sense anecdotally is that again the feel is more 1973 than 2023. While my experience gives me a warm fuzzy (so many incredibly kind and angelic people), the ability of local high schools to modernize in STEM and the humanities will depend in large part on the ability of K-8 schools to put their students in positions to do well in senior high school.
    - One way to evaluate the K-8 schools is recursively. Start with a 9th grade curriculum with the features I describe above and then examine the 8th grade curriculum and determine whether it adequately prepares students to succeed in that 9th grade. The follow the same procedure for 7th into 8th, 6th into 7th, etc. If preparation is adequate, all doors will remain open. If not, those doors will shut and reopening them may require Herculean efforts. 
    - Middle School:
1. I do not have any data in front of me (ISATs are meaningless here), but I would curious to see how the quality of middle school graduates shape the options open to the high schools in implementing an academically rigorous program.
2. Also, without adequate experience with LPOSD middle schools, I cannot comment on its course content. However, what I see is a virtual carbon copy of my middle school of 1976-79.
3. I know many changes are afoot at Sandpoint Middle—e.g. a revamp of English--so I am hopeful. But until I see evidence of more math, more science and programming at the middle schools, I see the high school having fewer options to pursue.
4. I look forward to learning more about the middle school
    - Elementary School
1. Hard to assess since many of the children are so young and my experience less concrete. Also, I want to address only academic issues that they are easier to discuss than intangibles, though at the younger ages the two are interrelated. Conceptually, I think it is helpful to divide elementary school into two phases, K-3 and 4-6.
a. K-3: I think the environment I have seen at elementary school events (mainly Washington) is quite wonderful. I hope it is elsewhere as well. Academically, I cannot say. Access to student level data would be invaluable. But to measure health of the K-3 years requires a completely different set of criteria, both qualitative and quantitative to consider.
b. 4-6. At these ages, the pathway to middle school starts to come into focus. I think this is where the math, grammar, protowriting, and hands-on programming must begin. To be sure, the ability of the Middle School to adequately prepare students for the high school will depend largely on the success of elementary schools at those grades.
    - The district should aggressively support the Stanford’s EPGY Open Enrollment Program (or something of similar quality) for its K-8 students. It is currently hanging on by a shoe-string at Washington. I think it can play an invaluable role within LPOSD and take tremendous pressure off of teachers, while at the same time ensuring that students can proceed at their pace.
    - Not for K-8: preparing students for the next step should never take the form of mechanical processing. Doing so reflect poorly on any institutions that by design root out the wonderment and curiosity of those early years. Fortunately, we have in this modern age, amazing tools and programs to excite young students and get them involved in the 21st century world around them. Reducing the responsibilities of K-8 to rote preparation would be a tragedy as bad as sticking the head in the sand. 
    - Finally, there is the Forrest Bird Charter School and Charter High School. A few comments.
1. I am a big supporter of the charter school movement, both to offer parents more choice and the role it plays in promoting reflection and innovation in existing public schools. Such schools should be considered an integral part of a healthy school district rather than a drain on resources or reflective of any flaws in existing schools.
2. I think the efforts of FBCS have been noble and inline with the principles of a polytechnic education, something I believe is incredibly important to America’s future.
3. Given the set-up at FBCS, the criteria of evaluation must be different. However, the curriculum principles I mentioned on STEM, the humanities and the social sciences should still apply.
• If students are going to compete successfully in a 21st century economy, I think the district needs to move out of the 1970s, despite its wonderfully warm and familiar feelings. To this aim, the district needs to shift toward more rigor and integration in STEM and the humanities, consider eliminating the social sciences, and rethink the deployment of non-core academic courses.

5. Describe the top three to five issues you believe are facing our school district and your position on these issues.

• Creating 21st century STEM and Polytechnic Programs, transitioning to them, paying for them and training/recruiting teachers to deliver the goods. While STEM is the ideal academic framework for math & science, it is also the ideal framework for the modern polytechnic graduate. The tools of the modern tinkerer are founding in programming and robotics as well as in genetics and virtual labs. They are also found in the vast array of courses offered for free on the internet. Polytechnic students uninterested in pursuing a university education are ideally-suited to a STEM education, particularly one that does not compromise on the math or science.
- If one examines the requirements of a STEM career, the pathways toward such a career and the role to be played by secondary & university education, it is not difficult to identify huge disjoints in how most American public schools are designed. I am not saying they are doing a poor job, but that they are ill-designed for STEM careers in the 21st century, a market landscape which will bring them into direct competition with STEM-focused students in India, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Singapore and elsewhere. 48% of all science & engineering PhDs awarded by US universities are given to foreign students, many of whom remain in the US, biasing the US data considerably upwards as to how healthy our STEM environment actually is. According to the latest 2012 College Board data, only twenty students in the state of Idaho sat for the AP Physics C test in Electricity & Magnetism, only 45 in Physics C: Mechanics and only 39 in Computer Science. Less than 100 Idaho students received superior 4 & 5 marks in the AP Calculus BC and Chemistry tests.  Being central to the 21st economy, these five AP exams offer great benchmarking for LPOSD’s STEM ambitions.
• Eliminating, Reducing, and Modifying Requirements. I invite anyone to try the following exercise. Examine my suggestions for the curriculum. Now map out academic schedules making sure to add on local and state requirements. What you will end up with its an 8-10 class day with summers packed with classes. Of course, what would ensue would be insanity with parents, teachers and students. It should be obvious then that the exercise before us is one of constrained optimization: how to get as much of this curriculum in place given resource constraints. What this means is certain requirements need to be dropped and some combined. Drop the SAT and senior project requirement, in favor of heavy encouragement. Some required courses need to be modified and some moved to electives. To optimize student curricula, students must be free from as many requirements as possible without compromising the essence of the liberal arts education. At the same time, student progress in their respective fields if interest must not be hindered, i.e. LPOSD must always be there to offer the next step. Unless requirements are reworked according to a clear curricular vision, students will pay a hefty price, either as overworked & overstressed caffeine junkies or in terms of reduced future opportunities.
• Curriculum Overhaul. I spell this out in detail in the next question. But without changes LPOSD will look more like 1973 than 2023, with students and parents paying the price for the lack of economic viability.
• Overhaul Course Assessments. 
    - Eliminate group papers and group presentations but encourage shared and cooperative efforts. Along with MCQs, group papers and group presentations are two of the worst pedagogical devices of modern schooling. They are incredibly inefficient devices wherein little intellectual sharing takes place and where free-ridership is rampant. They are time sinks and then some. Presentations are in many cases abrogations of teaching responsibility. These are devices from MBA programs best left to mature adults.

    - Get rid of the archaic 90-80-70 grading system. Widen the B's and C's and add some curve. Much more natural.
    - What I learned from teaching at university is that while students want to learn, they operate on fear and risk aversion. If I require one hundred assignments, they will do those assignments even if it means suspending their interest on the subject. If schools reward courses with overweighting in grades for AP or Honors courses, then students will adopt that valuation system. This kind of social engineering must be limited or eliminated altogether.
    - I think we must dramatically reduce graded assignments and instead emphasize mastery of the elements rather than extreme hoop jumping! To this aim, parents and students should be re-educated on the purpose and responsibilities of public education whereby teachers and schools should not be held accountable for the apathy of parents and students.
    - We need to end the social engineering and get back to teaching good and honest courses without the myriad of weighting schemes. There should be no split between regular and honors courses!
• Shifting the Role of Teachers from dispensers of knowledge to enablers of skills. 
    - We are in the age of MOOCs, of badges, of cloud computing, or mobile apps, or insourcing, outsourcing, global supply chains and virulent global competition. For those of us who grew up in the 1970s or earlier, it is a world that near unthinkable. This brave new world necessarily requires teachers to play a more nimble role that reflects the age of technology we now see. Some of changes need to be followed whether we like it or not. If not, the student will get left behind.
    - Teachers need to retool, reorient, and fully embrace this unfamiliar world. Our children cannot afford ostriches with heads in sand.
    - Teachers in grades 4-8 should receive the most emphasis. They and their courses will be most responsible for how well entering students are able to handle that final phase before college, university or work.
    - I envision a teacher who is less fatigued, less stressed, more current, and better paid.
• Developing strategies on both sides of District finances. Without intimate knowledge of the budget, I list only the things I would like to see. The combination can help save quality public schools for future Sandpointians. 
    - Revenue Side:
1. We should expand the taxpayer base. Renters should pay the same tax as property owners.
2. Business owners should be kept in the equation but with more respect paid to their interests. Here, I would like to the relationship between local businesses strengthened.
3. Teachers should be encouraged to develop curricular material where revenues are split with the District.
4. Would like to see a healthy amount of non-state revenues on the books.
5. I would like to see modest user fees on expensive advanced courses. These are taxing to both the District and teachers and require more resources. Likewise, I would like to see modest user fees on all non-required courses.
    - Cost Side:
1. Eliminate Tenure and Move to a 3-5-5 system, with higher pay and less pension.
a. First Three years: Probation
b. Next Five Years: Next Probation
c. Every Five years after: King of Hill
d. If done well, this system can be a win for all stakeholders. I taught in this system for a contract. Potential abuses should be ironed out with bias in favor of teachers.
2. Accept MOOCs: Free courses form some of the best teachers at our best universities? Are you kidding me? Of course they should be considered.
3. Reduce unnecessary courses, integrate others, rotate the rest. Get lean and mean
.

6. Did you support or oppose the recent $15.7 million supplement levy, which passed March 12?
• Being fairly new to the area, I supported it with my own personal conditionality: if what I learn over the next year and what the district does with the talking points of this Trustee election are in the direction that will transform LPOSD schools into globally-competitive 21st century schools, then I will support future levies. If not, I will support alternate means of delivering education to Bonner County children.

7. What changes, if any, should be made in the district’s budget?
• I not familiar enough with the specifics of the budget to offer any definitive comments on the existing budget. However, when I do, I am hoping to see
    - Non-state revenue streams
    - Partnership with Inland Northwest businesses without overt selling of the soul.
    - Grants from technology companies.
• Additionally, I support two other key aspects to the budget process
    - Replacing tenure with a more sensible and flexible system, one that rewards and respects productive teachers and staff and enhances the quality of their profession
    - Options for teachers and LPOSD to generate additional income from delivering content online.

8. What do you see as the role of technology in education?

• We live in the greatest technological age there has ever been. Schools and the education they deliver must embrace both the opportunities and challenges technology presents or risk irrelevance.
• Many in education have an innate fear of technology, fearful of its potential to undermine what they feel are traditional methods of passing down culture. But what is “technology,” but mechanisms that can increase the efficiency, quality, speed, scope, productivity, and convenience of a given task? Few are willing to give up modern conveniences and pleasures of air-conditioning, cloud-based computing, Netflix, etc. Education and schooling should follow suit.
• The only interesting questions then are: what technologies should be used? How they be used? For what purpose? I think it is most useful to start with the latter.
    - For what purpose? LPOSD should strive to equip students with exposure to the latest technology consistent with the best course and set of courses the district can afford to deliver. Failure to do so is tantamount to engineering obsolescence. Unacceptable.
    - How? I would like to see LPOSD use the most efficient and flexible means at their disposal. LPOSD should support more flipped classes. Math & science courses should use the most popular software to enhance understanding and the latest virtual labs. LPOSD high schools should incorporate popular courses from MOOCs into the curriculum. Younger students must be exposed to technologies in active learning: programming, documents, data, and research tools.
    - What? These should be chosen for their flexibility, time efficiency, and affordability. Fortunately, the latest technologies are incredibly cheap and available through open source downloads or MOOCs. At the same time, LPOSD must guard against big-ticket items, gimmicks, or hardware and software that will be expensive to maintain. One can learn Python and Sage for free. And with the plummeting price of computers and an incredible assortment of freely available software, the technology needed to learn fairly sophisticated tools are as low as they have ever been.
• Caveats
    - As I am sure all parents have felt, technology if not properly monitored at the K-12 level can have a negative impact on learning and social behavior. In some cases, the technology can be easily limited at the teacher level. For example, if supervising a MOOC, the teacher can self-educate on the MOOC and then deliver a more conventional, albeit cutting-edge, course to the students. But as painfully frustrating as it can be, to deny students access to technology in their formative education will only punish them later in life.


9. What, if anything, should our school district do about teaching values? Should our district teach about family life, sex education, AIDS?

• As the transmission of culture, designing, administering, and teaching in an educational system is inescapably moral. My values are present in everything I have ever done in education. While LPOSD should strive to populate its schools with teachers and staff of the highest moral character, I would want any values education to be limited to universal humanist values so that students in the classroom can get along, help one another, be respectful, etc. I would strongly disagree with efforts to politicize values or push religious agenda. Those manifestations of values must remain under the domain of the family and of the individual. I would shudder to think my wife and I would have to do battle with LPOSD over the souls of our children. I would allow for one additional exception: a philosophy or religious studies course on values. However, unless one can find a truly exceptional teacher to teach such a course to mature high school juniors and seniors such a course would be better saved for the university.
• Family life: At the younger grades, it is perhaps unavoidable. Otherwise, I don’t think tax dollars should be spent on family life programming. That said, I think the District should encourage students to express their feelings and thoughts on family life through writing and art.
• Sex Education: Reproduction is a biological phenomenon and should be taught as part of any sensible science curriculum. The realities of teen pregnancy should be taught as part of health education. It can also be the subject of lectures or assignments in any of the humanities (and social studies if they remain). However, sex education (as in technique), no, it should not!
• AIDS Education: Should be an uncontroversial part of Health Education and should be a topic of conversation for classes that are examining contemporary policy issues.