TUHSD Candidates Forum

Don Hawker during the Tempe Union High School District candidates forum at Mountain Pointe High School on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Age: 60

City: Tempe

Campaign info: drhawker@centurylink.net

Why are you running for Tempe Union High School District’s governing board?

School boards are interfaces between the general community and the district education environment.

The community should have one or more representatives on the board that are not specifically education trained in order to balance more general concerns with specifically education concerns. There are many definitions of what constitutes education and the school board must keep focused through historic insight, not getting sidetracked by the latest cultural tendency or education theory.

I would bring an independent voice and vote to the board.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue in the district and how will you address it if elected?

The issue should be pretty obvious with what the public is being subjected to in the upcoming election, particularly in light of the present school board as well as board candidates who are unwilling to face the fiscal responsibility of working within existing budgets.

All these ballot initiatives, which will increase debt and tax, are held to be “for the children” and anyone who opposes is characterized as lacking in concern for education.

Yet these costs, starting with the $17 trillion federal debt, through the proposed permanent state sales tax increase (Prop. 204) down to the local property tax increases will fall on these very same unwitting young people they are “helping.”

Instead of guarding the gate against one failed and expensive federal program after another, the school board seems more concerned with solar projects, more unaccountable counselors, and what is in the candy machines.

Without getting back to a more traditional model, we will continue the cycle of asking for more money which builds ever increasing administration with few benefits going to teachers (decisions which are often made at the school board level, though blame is directed to state legislators).

Government “investment” has gotten us $17 trillion in the hole. Would we retain any private investment counselor with a record like that?

The launching of Sputnik created a demand for unconstitutional federal intervention in education (based on the false assumption that the reason we hadn’t launched a satellite was that students weren’t learning math and science), which has spawned a bureaucracy which has not just been inefficient, but directly harmful. Would anyone dare say our science education is now better despite these programs and all the technology in the classroom? Does the Washington D.C. district which spends (at least) twice as much as here have better education?

We need to go beyond sound bites and examine the details of curriculum and budgets and get closer to the approximately per-pupil $1,500 spending of 1939, the generation that provided the greatest industrial effort in the history of mankind — supplying the armament for World War II.

What are your qualifications?

I have been a Tempe resident for 29 years, have a B.S. in mathematics, and am a retired computer programmer.

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