Krassner, 62, now is campaigning to defend her
Tauchnitz is a political newcomer and has never worked in education, yet as a PTA member at
School board races, because they are nonpartisan, will be decided in the primary election and are open to all registered voters.
Tauchnitz decided to run for school board
"Each year there are thousands of students on the waiting list for fundamental seats," Tauchnitz said. "We need to give parents what they want, otherwise they're just going to go to private or charter schools."
Tauchnitz's goal is to increase parental involvement and spread fundamental schools, which set high academic expectations for students, as well as requirements for parent participation, he said.
Krassner said adding fundamental schools would create silos of high performing students. Instead, the school district should continue expanding its career academies and magnet programs, like the technology magnet opening at
"When you can find what is really going to keep our students motivated to stay in school, and you're letting them know what's out there in the real world, it's an incredibly exciting thing," Krassner said. "Programs like these get students excited about their education and create diverse environments in our schools. They aren't all gifted students."
Yet opening more of these programs doesn't address the issue of parental involvement, Tauchnitz said, and could create "two-tiered" schools where magnet and non-magnet students don't mingle.
"As a parent, I can tell you it's not exactly inviting to come into our classrooms. It's a bit intimidating if you aren't in the education system," he said. "At the end of the day, the first educator in any child's life is a parent and, until we get those parents involved, we aren't going to change anything."
Now that all schools are close to home schools, it should be easier to reach parents through school events that could benefit the entire family, like a "literacy night" for kids scheduled with a "job fair night" for adults, Tauchnitz said. The school district also could take measures like absorbing the
The Oldsmar Elementary PTA claims more than half of the school's parents as members, and regularly hosts family nights and other events to get "parent's engaged early on" and "eliminate the fear factor," Tauchnitz said.
In the four years Krassner has been on the school board, she said she has seen principals make huge strides in reaching out to families. Staff at schools such as
"I was a principal in a Title 1 school in
Krassner has gained endorsements from the
"We know we're not where we need to be yet, but we're putting more and more in place each year and you can't do it all in one year," Krassner said.
For Tauchnitz, there already are too many educators on the board, with five of the seven current members having an education background. The board needs a parent's insight on the issues that affect their children, he said.
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