2022 Anchorage School Board Candidate: Rachel Ries

Rachel Ries is running for School Board in the April 2022 election. (Photo provided by candidate)

This Q&A is part of a broader candidate survey by the Anchorage Daily News. View the full survey here.

Rachel Ries | School Board Seat: B | Age: 47 | Occupation: Retired military riesforalaska.com

What’s the single most important issue facing the Anchorage School District? How would you address it if elected?

True education has given way to a one-size-fits-all model that does not work. Return education to the teachers and administrators at each campus. Allow them to develop working, transparent curriculum that addresses the unique needs of each school’s specific student population. Again, make sure CRT and CRT-like products are not taught or used in ASD.

Rate how the Anchorage School District has handled the pandemic, and why.

ASD handled the pandemic abysmally. They used a mandate that affected everyone with one solution. There were “processes” for children with disabilities, religious exemptions, etc. However, none of them were approved. ASD was not an honest broker with its students, parents or staff when it came to meeting community needs, as opposed to the mandated approach. This was driven by the school board time and time again, with no modifications to address parent, staff or student concerns. And finally, in spite of a huge drop in enrollment, ASD increased spending.

Many students are struggling due to pandemic-related challenges, both academically and behaviorally. What are some strategies the school district should prioritize to help students recover from that period?

Focus on education. Return to partnering WITH parents as critical stakeholders in their child(ren)s education. Admit when something is not working and adjust accordingly such as maintaining the masks as a parent/individual CHOICE policy.

Is the Anchorage School District doing a good job of retaining quality teachers?

No, ASD is not doing a good job of retaining quality teachers. The school board should review all policies and listen to teachers and administrators as education professionals. Current policy does not reflect this. Instead it micromanages with unnecessary bureaucracy and micromanagement.

If I could change one thing in the Anchorage School District, it would be _____. Explain.

If I could change one thing in the Anchorage School District, it would be the lack of transparency and accountability demonstrated by the majority of the School Board and certain administrators and staff. The students in ASD are children. They should not be exposed to any ideology, curriculum or program that is not 100% transparent to the parents. Children with involved parents perform better academically, and subsequently have better opportunities in life. The lack of transparency pushes parents out of the classroom. The lack of accountability prevents any meaningful reform if an issue is discovered; intended or unintended.

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