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Andrew Hayes, Lakeside Union School District Governing Board candidate

Andrew Hayes, Governing Board member, Lakeside Union School District

Why are you running for school board?

California’s education system is broken. For too long Sacramento bureaucrats have worked overtime to remove local control from school districts and erode parents and community members say in their local school districts. Yet, even while student achievement data reveals Sacramento’s complete and utter failure, Sacramento politicians refuse to course correct and support districts like Lakeside’s efforts to invest in the basics of reading, writing, and math. Instead, Sacramento is doubling down on failed public policy with proposals to eliminate traditional grading, eliminate advanced classes starting with mathematics, and emphasize teaching about controversial social issues in the classroom.
As a lifelong resident and product of Lakeside Schools I’m running for re-election to continue to put the students and families of Lakeside first. I’m grateful for the well-rounded and rigorous education that I received as a Lakeside student, and I want to ensure all our students get the same world class education I did. I’m running to continue my work to push back on Sacramento’s failed policies and ensure our school district remains the hidden gem of East County School Districts. I’ll support parents because they deserve to have the final say in their child’s education. I’ll support teachers by ensuring they have the resources they need to teach our kids. I’ll support traditional grading in the classroom. I’ll support advanced mathematics opportunities for our kids. I’ll support preparing students for careers. I’ll support letting kids be kids by not focusing on controversial social issues in the classroom.

What are your top three priorities if elected?

My motto as a member of the board has been the ABC’s. We need to focus on academic excellence, getting back to the basics in the classroom, and being committed to our students’ success.
Academic Excellence – Our job is to ensure our students learn and are prepared to enter the workforce. Academic Excellence requires us to have high standards for student achievement and implement measurable benchmarks for our teachers and administrators to ensure student’s success. To get a job and be competitive in today’s society all students must first be good at the basics.
Back to Basics – While Sacramento encourages local school districts to focus on social commentary and controversial social issues in the classroom, I’m going to continue to ensure the Lakeside Union School District is focused on reading, writing and math to prepare our students for career and college.
Commitment to Students – Being committed to our students means we are committed to their success. That commitment requires us to invest in their future. That is why I am working to implement career education programs and ensure our students are prepared to enter the workforce.

With studies showing students are behind due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would you do on the policy level in ensuring students behind are able to catch up?

We know students learn best when they are in the classroom, so it is not surprising our students are struggling to catch up after Governor Newsom took away school districts local control by forcing schools to close and sending our children home to learn in their bedrooms from zoom. Because I believe in academic excellence I fought to re-open Lakeside Schools and because of my efforts our district opened early along with other East County districts. While we re-opened earlier than most districts, we still need to address the academic gaps our students have. Addressing this challenge is my top priority. That is why our district is investing millions of dollars into long term achievement accountability metrics to ensure that our teachers have the resources and academic supports they need in their classrooms to reach our high standards for success. In addition, our district is making historic investments in support of our students’ mental health so that each day our students show up ready and eager to learn.

Are you a proponent of armed teachers in classrooms as a way of addressing school safety for students, parents, and staff?

I am a strong supporter of the second amendment and the very clear constitutional foundation individuals have to bear arms in our country. California Law, however, prohibits carrying a weapon concealed or otherwise within 1,000 feet of a School Zone.
This is why school districts must address school safety through different channels. School safety has been at the forefront of my mind as a board member since I was elected in 2018. That is why our district has hosted community meetings to hear from parents and district stakeholders on how to improve our campus safety. It is also why our district revisits our School Safety Plans yearly, our staff are trained for active shooter events, we have invested in anonymous reporting systems at our middle schools, and we partner with the Sheriff’s department to evaluate our school sites safety. Furthermore, it is why our district has invested significant resources into supporting our student’s mental health particularly after the isolation that many students experienced because of Governor Newsom’s school shutdowns. I’ll continue to support our student’s safety and explore ways to enhance it particularly through partnerships with local law enforcement.

How can the district support homeless students?

I’m proud of the numerous layers of support our district provides for homeless students and their parents. From access to local government assistance programs to counseling services we ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to achieve.
While homelessness is at the top of mind for many in our community, I believe there are ways school districts can be proactive in solving our homelessness crisis in the long term and to me there is no better way to do this than by implementing workforce development programs where students can be exposed to career opportunities and can enter a pipeline for work in the trades or other industrial sectors of our economy. I’m excited to share that I’ve initiated the early stages of this kind of program in our district.

Under what circumstances is it appropriate to ban books from school classrooms and libraries?

While I am not a supporter of censorship, kids need to be kids and topics particularly related to controversial social issues such as gender identity are simply not appropriate to expose elementary and middle school children to. As a school board member my number one job is to ensure our students can read, write, and do math so that they can be prepared for their career.
The teaching of controversial social issues should not take place in the classroom, library, or even be emphasized in curriculum but rather be discussions around the dinner table with students’ parents and families. I’ll support efforts to ensure that our district’s top focus is to teach our kids the basics, not one-sided social commentary.

What past board efforts would you amplify or grow, and are there any which you would phase out?

Our district has a long track record of success in our academic programs. Most notably our immersion programs and performing arts programs. As many school districts face declining enrollment, it is time for schools to fully support their current programs while also being innovative and meet the needs of their parents and community. That is why I’ve partnered with The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce and The Associated General Contractors to develop a career pathway program where students are exposed to career opportunities in the trades and other industries, while simultaneously learning math and science to prepare them to enter the workforce when they graduate from high school. In addition, I believe we need to continue to expand our science and technology programs such as robotics and computer science, so our students are prepared for tomorrow’s jobs. Lastly, I believe we need to expand and enhance our civic education programs so our students can enter the world understanding the foundations of our republic and government.

What policies or processes would you propose to support student life such as anti-bullying training, efforts to reduce student vaping and drug use, and extracurricular events?

I want every child in the Lakeside School District to be excited about learning and going to school. No student should be bullied in school. That is why our district has implemented layered supports for those students who may be bullied, and we have discipline policies in place for those students who do the bullying. I know that our teachers and administrators have zero tolerance for bullies.
Illegal cannabis shops have been a historic problem for Lakeside. As a result, I introduced and passed a resolution to fight youth access to marijuana and join the County of San Diego in their efforts to eliminate illegal cannabis dispensaries within 1,000 feet of school sites and ensure that these County safety regulations are enforceable.

Lakeside Union is well-known for its multi-language immersion and STEAM programs. Do you feel there is equity to these programs throughout the district, and if not, what would you propose to give all students access to these programs?

The foundation of a successful school district revolves around offering a set of diverse programs. I’m proud of the programs we offer to our community. From performing arts, language immersion to project lead the way and robotics, all of our students have the opportunity to be a part of our rigorous programs.

What is it that makes the Lakeside Union School District special to you, and why?

Lakeside is my home. It is where I grew up and where I attended school and received an excellent education. I want to give back to the community that has given so much to me and my service on the school board is one way to do that. If anyone ever has questions for me, please call me anytime on my cell: 619-922-7208.

Andrew Hayes, Lakeside Union School District Governing Board candidate

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Source: East County Californian

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