As a former public school educator, I have been interested to read the campaign promises of Mark Jacobs, who is running for a legislative seat in District 19 against Sheryl Allen. Jacobs is an obvious newcomer to Davis County politics. His promises are simplistic and under informed, one of which is that he can cut the state budget at the same time he can reduce class sizes. This is a proposition long ago proven to be impossible. He proposes using volunteer seniors and retirees to staff classrooms. Having worked with volunteers myself, I can relate that the logistics and practicality of using non-professional volunteers is only partially effective: First, volunteers are unable to make themselves consistently available, so teachers have to constantly adjust what they will be doing when volunteers cannot show up. Secondly, most volunteers are only equipped to perform lower level types of projects, things such as running off copies, hanging art work, etc. rather than teaching important concepts to children with one-on-one time.
Even scarier is that Parents for Choice, a group that practices and fosters home schooling, is the primary source of financing for Jacobs' campaign. They believe he will promote private and home school education over public education through vouchers, which will remove funding from public education and give it to parents to pay for private schools or home schooling. My experience with home-schooled children is that kids in that setting are educated very unevenly, with many never having the quality offered in public schools. To foster home schooling through cash donations to parents is very concerning.
Finally, Mr. Jacobs would have us believe he can do a better job for education than Representative Sheryl Allen. Those of us who have watched Representative Allen know that she has been fearless in fighting for public school funding and quality education at the legislature. Her loss to someone like Mark Jacobs would be a devastating blow to Bountiful voters, to public education and to others in the state who appreciate Representative Allen for providing a moderate, experienced, and well-respected voice on the Hill.
As a Legislative District 19 voter I have many concerns about Mr. Jacobs' lack of understanding about the issues involved in quality education. Consequently, my vote goes to Sheryl Allen.
Beth Beck, Bountiful