My thoughts on a Website...
I’m working on a story tonight. Some concerned parents shared the website below with me.
They believe it’s very deceptive and biased toward certain candidates. Do you have any comment on this website created by an outside group that could influence the school board race?
Scripps Media, Inc., certifies that its advertising sales agreements do not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity. All advertising sales agreements contain nondiscrimination clauses.
[Message clipped] View entire messageLori Long <firstname.lastname@example.org>Wed, Oct 19, 8:20 PM (2 days ago)
Thank you for reaching out to me to ask my opinion! I do think this is quite deceptive to the voters. It has been modified to the author's viewpoint. I was defined with two words that in no way fully communicate to the voters who I am, or what I stand for as a candidate. For example, I do know that we are labeled nonpartisan. Knowing that is the expectation, I have been mislabeled for my views and put into a grouping that does not reflect my views. I am not accusing the people who created this website of anything, but I don't think it correctly or fully represents the entirety of each candidate.
For example, I am a conservative candidate in nature. I believe that the parents and family are essentially responsible for leading and educating their children on values that are important to their family and their family's specific values. I do not believe that schools should be allowed to teach controversial material based on what is trending in society.
I honor with my entire heart the work teachers do and the responsibility given to our educators by the parents of the community. It is a huge, tremendous responsibility. It is not an easy job, nor one that is accomplished without tremendous work.
It is quite a race, it seems to be very emotional and that is exceedingly understandable because the emotions are due to the fact that our citizens are protecting their greatest and most precious resource, their children. I do not in any way approve or agree with teaching our children anything that has to do with their bodies or sexuality other than, care for their bodies as they grow, and human reproduction.
If you look at the cognitive understanding and ability of our students from K 12, it is a significant and vast spectrum of the curriculum they need to learn. The appropriate and age-specific curriculum needs to be very specifically approved for each academic year assigned to our students.
It is the voter's responsibility to research the candidates, and it is disheartening that things published would label candidates based on that specific author's viewpoint. But, that is the nature of the world. I do want the highest quality education for our students, I want them protected from highly inappropriate issues that I would not want my own daughter exposed to. When I wish to expose or discuss current issues with my child, I will do that as I deem appropriate and as a Christian, my personal views and values would be different than that of others who have alternative views in our community. I choose to honor their values, religion, and ways of raising their children. I would never be in support of curriculum exposing our students to things that parents are not aware of nor comfortable with, that would be a disservice to our families. Public School should be a tremendous and academically robust experience for all enrolled students. It should never be the lesser option due to the fact that the families don't have other resources to be able to choose to say, I'm leaving and taking my child to a very expensive private school. I want to ensure that every child in CCS has the highest and best experience they can possibly have, resulting in a journey that ends with a successful graduation as they head to their specific first steps in our job market.
So, I would say as a summative viewpoint on your question: Being a parent is the most incredible and most difficult job we are ever blessed with, it is deeply personal and seeped in each family's culture and traditions. The honor and expectation of being an educator is a tremendous responsibility that should be seen as such and those who hire our educators need to honor in the hiring process. As Americans, we need to offer an incredible, challenging, heart-filling, soul-inspiring curriculum in every school in our nation. As a candidate, we each hold specific views and we all deeply wish that voters will know our hearts and our views, it is frustrating to be minimized based on one website/author's viewpoint.
The charge of anyone voted into a School Board position should be to ensure our students are safe, parents are included and valued, and all teachers and staff are held to the highest standard. It is not a position that should be allowed to be skewed by political affiliation or a religious or value-based lens.
One final example. I taught 1st grade for many, many years, every year in my classroom during the Holiday season in our nation, as a Christian, I could have chosen to focus on Christmas alone. It was my classroom and I was not held to a specific holiday curriculum. I chose every year to teach with as much fidelity as I could on every holiday that was celebrated in our nation and around the world. I did not try and persuade my students of my particular viewpoint, I ensured my students felt valued and that their family's specific holiday was honored and gave them a moment in our day to stand with and feel valued in their family's holiday. In my opinion, I think this is a cross-curriculum example of specific strategies teachers can use to ensure all students are honored. Anything that segregates a student, or exposes a student to age-specific inappropriate material, should never be allowed.
I thank you again for allowing me to share my viewpoint. I received a phone call just yesterday from a dear friend who informed me that I was placed in a grouping of people within the race whom I disagree with respectfully on many issues. I think it is just a lack of knowledge. I honor every candidate's viewpoint, but it is critical to the voters that they have the full fidelity of knowledge on every candidate. We all are deeply passionate on our views and how we feel about the future of CCS and for all students enrolled.
Thank you so much once again,
I had another tremendous question today! Thanks for letting me share my heart once again!
Oguz mavioglu Tue, Oct 11, 6:48 PM (1 day ago)
Hi, I congratulate on your candidacy. I would like to know your stand on a particular issue.
Do you think after school activities are privilege or right ?
Thanks for your time and attention
Bulent Mavioglu Lori Long <email@example.com>2:15 PM (5 hours ago)
Hello! I thank you for your email! I believe every student has the right and privilege to participate in after-school activities. I also support that there are some activities that will always require a "try out" or "audition" aspect as the activity would require and so not all students would be automatically able to participate. I have a non-traditional stance on the academic qualifier or disqualifier though, I do believe that there are some students who will struggle academically and there should be a time in their school day to focus on that area of improvement. I think that academics should be looked at rather than immediately as a qualifier or disqualifier but based on the student's specific academic journey.
Does this answer your question? I'd love to discuss this more if you have follow-up questions.
All my best to you! Lori
What did I love about teaching?
I was asked this morning a question and wanted to share my heart with you again:
What did you love about teaching?
Well there are many things I loved about teaching and still love about teaching. The moment when the light bulb clicks and they “get it” and you can see it in their eyes. The moment that a first grader has been working in reading groups and daily phonics activities decoding sounds for months and now realizes that they can read not only the book in front of them but posters on the wall and they can read anything, that joy is something I wish I could bottle for the rest of my life!!
loved making relationships with my students daily letting them know that they had a strong loving teacher that cared about them as a whole person. I loved being a resource we started a clothing closet a Thanksgiving food drive for families in our neighborhood. I loved being part of a team of teachers and administrators that helped children succeed!!! I love so much about teaching I still do!
I love teaching adults as well as children. People learn in layers and people learn through different modalities and it is amazing to me when I’m speaking on a stage or training a group of people whether it’s a group of CEOs or a group of employees I have been asked to train or a classroom of children, when you can provide the opportunity to learn something new it’s spectacular. I also truly love being involved in a child’s life where they get to discover what they are really good at and teach it to another!
The BEST BEST BEST is that I still am in contact with many of my kiddos and get to watch them grow into womderful adults!
My thoughts on CRT...
I was asked this question through an email. I promised to share my honest thoughts with you as people asked questions of me. I thank you for letting me share my heart with you. Agree or disagree we must come together to do what is best for our children, families and community. My goal has always been and will always be to unify, honor and lead by example in how I treat all humans I meet with respect admiration as to who they are, exactly as they are, and with love for who they were created to be. Division is just hate manifested in how you treat people. It takes joy in spreading fear, anger, and disregard for others based on differences. We should be honoring, celebrating, and learning from those who differ from us. I believe God in His incredible wisdom and beautiful creativity made us different purposefully to revel in his mighty creation.
Your blog is not specific regarding your opinion on CRT which many of us believe to be hateful and racist. It should NOT be taught in our public schools. Also, where do you stand on some teachers discussing transgenderism and other sexual matters with young students in kindergarten through 5th or 6th grade without the knowledge of the parents.???? Please reply and be specific.
Thank you so much for your questions! I happen to fully agree with you and will add this to my blog!
Most importantly to your question on teachers discussing transgenderism and other sexual matters with young students in kindergarten through 5th or 6th grade without the knowledge of the parents. My stance is absolutely not, this should not be an option ever. All curricula should be available for review by parents and community members.
No Public School curriculum should be a secret or done without the full fidelity of the knowledge of our parents and community members. If there is a lesson that deals with their bodies, health, sexuality, or anything to do with human anatomy and reproduction, it needs to be fully presented to the parents with an opt-out option. Furthermore, in my viewpoint, the only things taught in schools should be about maintaining a healthy body, health, reproduction, and anatomy. At the Middle and High Scholl level, there should be an opportunity for students to have a discussion and curriculum based on sexual/reproduction safety and health. I am far more concerned about students being informed about protecting themselves from predatory adults and other students and ensuring they are safe. Parents have the right and privilege to add additional training and information as they feel appropriate at home.
I do not agree with teaching CRT. I will fight daily that we ensure that we teach history and honor all cultures as educators. It does not sit well with my heart the way the CRT curriculum is taught in schools and presented to students and employees across our nation. It is not currently a part of the CCS curriculum, but it is certainly a relevant topic that we need to have an in-place plan for when it does more than knock on our door!
Critical race theory is not a synonym for culturally relevant teaching. This teaching approach seeks to affirm students’ ethnic and racial backgrounds and is intellectually rigorous. But it’s related in that one of its aims is to help students identify and critique the causes of social inequality in their own lives. Many educators support, to one degree or another, culturally relevant teaching and other strategies to make schools feel safe and supportive for Black students and other underserved populations. But they don’t necessarily identify these activities as CRT-related. The majority of my career was in a high-poverty school, with 100% of the student population on Free and Reduced Lunch. But not ever in a day in my life as an educator did I ever allow my students to believe anything except how incredible they are and how much potential they had.
I found this definition on CRT:
"The emergence of Critical Race Theory marked an important point in the history of racial politics in the legal academy and the broader conversation about race and racism in the United States. More recently, CRT has proven an important analytic tool in the field of education, offering critical perspectives on race, and the causes, consequences, and manifestations of race, racism, inequity, and the dynamics of power and privilege in schooling. This groundbreaking anthology is the first to pull together both the foundational writings in the field and more recent scholarship on the cultural and racial politics of schooling. A comprehensive introduction provides an overview of the history and tenets of CRT in education. Each section then seeks to explicate the ideological contestation of race in education and to create new, alternative accounts. In so doing, this landmark publication not only documents the progress to date of the CRT movement, it acts to further spur developments in education."
I feel we must align our curriculum to honor and respect all cultures, ethnicities, and differences that make up our student populations. Not one group should feel superior or inferior. I was raised on military posts around this nation. I was exposed to many many races, religions, and cultures, and not ever was I taught one was better than the other. So, I modeled my classroom after my experiences. My favorite book to read to my students was the book titled Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley. I was intentional about honoring, teaching, and having my students be soaked in a daily environment of equality.
As our students progress through school, their world expands. We start teaching "all about me" then we move to "all about my family" then their city, state, country, and so on. Different levels of curriculum and understanding come with the rising level of their cognitive and maturity levels. Should these issues identified in CRT as its core be discussed by older students, yes., in a controlled academic space. It should be age-appropriate and use a no biased lens on looking at the good and bad of our history and nurturing passionate students wanting to ensure we move forward in love and equality. Learning from the mistakes of the past to redefine how we create our future. If we hide the mistakes of the past, then we are doomed to repeat them. There is another book I love called. Measure what Matters: In academic testing, teaching about culture, learning history, all of it must be done through the viewpoint of teaching the facts, inspiring critical thinking and inspiring our children to make this world better with their ideas and collaborative thinking on how to make our world a better place.
In my opinion it was perfectly summed up by Marsha Blackburn: Here is the article and link: I couldn't have written it, or said it any better than this:
For months, parents have raised the alarm about the left’s effort to brainwash our children by injecting Critical Race Theory (CRT) into public school curriculum. One Tennessee mom recently warned Williamson County parents that her seven-year-old daughter came home from school saying, “I’m ashamed that I’m White.” Her daughter asked, “Is there something wrong with me? Why am I hated so much?” This reaction is reason enough to start asking questions, but those who have yet to investigate the tenets of CRT will be shocked to know that this child’s distress was the desired result of her lessons. If left unchecked, this mental and emotional trauma will worm its way into every classroom in America. Although promoted as “anti-racist” civil rights education, CRT actively encourages discrimination. At its core, CRT segregates people into two main categories: oppressors or victims. The calculation is based solely on skin color. The tenets of CRT stretch far beyond the humanities. In some classrooms in Oregon and California, students operate under the understanding that “finding the right answer” in mathematics is racist. “Right” and “wrong” answers are deemed a product of white supremacy. The woke gymnastics required to reach such a conclusion would be amusing if this destructive ideology didn’t pose such a danger to education in America.
We can all agree that racism and discrimination are wrong and have no place in the classroom—but neither does racially motivated propaganda. In the U.S. Senate, I’ve been leading the charge for true equality in the classroom. I led legislation prohibiting federal funding of the “1619 Project,” which reframes American history in terms of racial conflict and oppression. I also joined my Senate colleagues in demanding that Critical Race Theory’s prejudicial influence be kept out of K–12 classrooms.
Many on the left have tried to dismiss this as a political non-issue, but here in Tennessee, we see opposition to CRT is coming straight from parents and educators. In response, the Tennessee State Legislature passed and Governor Bill Lee signed a bill banning CRT in schools. Still, we must continue to stand firm at a local level. Children should not be forced to endure this latest round of revisionist history, but it will take more than letters and legislation to keep CRT out of the classroom. Parents need to keep showing up to school board meetings and reporting discriminatory conduct.
The last thing educators should be doing is encouraging our children to be ashamed of the color of their skin. That same Williamson County mom who warned about the dangers of CRT was left with no choice but to put her seven-year-old in therapy. Why? “She is depressed. She doesn’t want to go to school.” While parents struggle to help their children manage the mental and emotional damage inflicted by this dangerous ideology, the left will continue to re-write our education system to fit their woke agenda—and they won’t stop until CRT is in every classroom in America. I will gladly stand with Tennessee parents to demand an end to this latest, unhinged attempt to brainwash our nation’s children
All my very best to you! Thank you again for reaching out. No matter the outcome of this election, I will always work to protect and empower our students to succeed. Not only succeed but be fueled by their own positive self-worth and what they specifically have to offer this world.
Thank you for letting me share my heart,
I was asked: What Inclusivity in K-12 Education looks like to me...Here are my thoughts:
What does inclusivity in K-12 education look like to you?
*As a seasoned educator, this question includes for me all student needs, gender and sexual orientation and diversity in children and adolescence, understanding ethnic and racial disparities in education, the entirety of the autism spectrum and effective behavioral interventions, as well as insuring that teachers are trained and prepared for all students with special needs in inclusive classrooms; increased training to create truly inclusive classrooms through evidence-based practices and hands-on strategies and be properly equipped to do so effectively at the teacher and para level as we support all learners. In a classroom there will never be a one sized fits all method. You must teach in all modalities, support all learners as they grow and change thought their year. Identify emotional and educational needs meeting each student where they are.
We ABSOLUTLEY without question need more mental health resources for students, the staff we have are doing their best with the time they have, but their caseloads are immense. Students mental health is declining and we are losing far too many to dangerous coping behaviors, self harm, and most tragically suicide.
We must support and love students and provide supports that meet their needs academically, emotionally, and socially. Parents do the best they can. They send their students to us because they trust that we are who we say we are and we will do what we promise to do. Keep them safe, educate them well, and support their individual needs to the best of our ability.
To me, successful inclusive education happens primarily through accepting, understanding, and attending to student differences and diversity, which include physical, cognitive, academic, social, and emotional. This is not to say that students should never need to spend time out of regular education classes, because sometimes they do for a very particular purpose — for instance, for speech or occupational therapy. But the goal is this should be the exception.
This question for many has a singular focus, this is what my years in education hands on with my students, working side by side with parents, sitting in hundreds of IEP meetings for students as a team of educators ensuring all students have what they need to learn.
ALL student needs are important, all need a team approach from school and home working together to surround our students will all the support, guidance and acceptance needed to stand with our hearts bursting with pride as they graduate and move into successful adulthood.
a. What is your definition of equity?
b. Why is equity in education important to you?
A. Educational Equality means that every child receives what they need to develop to their individual specific full academic, social, and emotional potential.
Working towards equity in schools at each level from K-12 involves: Ensuring equally high outcomes for all participants in our educational system; removing the predictability of success or failures that currently correlates with any social or cultural factor;
Interrupting inequitable practices, examining current procedures and they effectiveness, and creating inclusive multicultural school environments for adults and children. We must look at schools as a well operating machine with well developed policies and procedures for equity to occur. Staff and students must work collectively to achieve this. Staff buy in, student buy in and involvement is essential.
B. Discovering and cultivating the unique gifts, talents and interests that every human possesses. While the terms “equity” and “equality” are often used interchangeably, there are notable differences between the two. “Equality” focuses on ensuring students are presented with the same educational opportunities throughout their scholastic career; however, this approach doesn’t take into consideration that even with those opportunities, different students will have different needs in order to succeed.
This is where equity comes in. “Equity” focuses on taking those opportunities presented to students and infusing them with support and resources to turn the education system into a level playing field. This means that disadvantaged students will get the support they need to become equal to students who are not disadvantaged. It takes equality a step further by lifting students who may not have the same opportunities and ensuring they not only are presented with the same options, but that the differences are made up for these students.
Why is Equity in Education Important to me?
There are numerous reasons why equity in education is important, I could talk about this all day! Supporting the understanding that Public Education will always be provided. We can't throw up our hands and walk away from the students who have to be there. Not every parent can homeschool or afford private schools.
It is essential that we create opportunity for underprivileged and underserved students so they are able to overcome disadvantages and find success
Giving all students the opportunity to learn in the way that best supports their specific learning style
Inspire students become more engaged in what they’re learning by ensuring they see people who are their same race, gender, ethnicity, and have a visible vested interest in their learning
Granting students more access to the resources that can bolster their education
Strengthening the connection between a student’s family and their teacher, fostering a more enriching educational environment at home, with a strong connection between school and home.
Guiding students to success in their educational career, and beyond! Not all students will or should choose college and that is exactly the way it should be.
Closing the opportunity and achievement gap by making students equal
Improving a school district’s performance in metrics such as standardized testing (SIDE NOTE: WE MUST TRAIN TEACHERS on how to understand testing data and use it effectively to drive instruction.
What work have you done OUTSIDE the context of the Carmel Clay schools that would prepare you to be an effective advocate for inclusivity and equity initiatives in CCS?
All that you see above come from my years as a teacher. My first year out of college, I taught High School Language Arts and was the theater coach. I then moved into my favorite grade, First Grade! I did teach 5th grade for one year, but you will find teachers have a favorite age where they feel they thrive most!! I was honored to be Teacher of the Year at Oscar J Pope Elementary in Lakeland FL. I have been an Instructional Coach over PBS; RtI, and training teachers how to use test data to drive their instruction as well as involve students in their own tracking of their data to see their growth. I had a fully inclusive classroom the entire time I taught at OJP. I was blessed to grow as an educator with students who had a myriad of special needs and incredible staff that worked together to ensure all students where provided the supports and environment they needed to be successful. OJP was also in a very high poverty and high crime area, we were able to meet needs of students with a clothing closet, a thanksgiving food drive I spearheaded with a local church to provide for our local families. I was the executive director of a Preschool and daycare working with my incredible staff of over 100 to have a safe and educationally rich beginning for our students. I worked with my phenomenal Preschool team to write a curriculum for our 5 year old's knowing what they were facing as they entered Kindergarten in the public school system in Florida. We wanted them to feel incredible successful as they began their journey in school.
In Indiana, I started my work in our beautiful state working with EmployIndy, Marion County's Workforce Development Board that works for the Governor. I was Assistant Director of the Business Development team. As we were working with employers on gaps in employee skills our team worked together to create Talent Bound. I loved bringing my educational background into the creation of this incredible program! We went to New York and modeled our program off of the incredible work being done there. If employers are looking for skilled workers with industry specific certifications, why not work intentionally with our schools to create pipelines of future talent? And that is what we did. Meaningful internships, impactful relationships with industry leaders so students are inspired and empowered to choose the career path that is right for them!!
Is there anything else you want to share on your views on this topic?
*I deeply appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my thoughts, we may agree and we may disagree, but that is what makes for a strong support system for our kiddos. Our students need passionate invested adults, teachers, and staff to love them for exactly who they are, protect them from things that are not age appropriate, keep them physically safe while at school and school activities. They must know that they are safe, loved, supported and heard. When a child is frustrated for whatever reason, their little brains, (and ours too) shut down. They can't learn and at that point they don't want to. Equity and Inclusion is critical. It is not a singular issue, but that of reaching, educating and supporting the whole child. As a child growing up in the Regan era, I remember clearly hearing all the time, that we were the great melting pot. But I always wanted to raise my hand and challenge that idea. Melting pot means we are not all able to keep our individuality and what is special about our cultures/families/beliefs. We don't want our students to feel like they are invisible or not incredibly special exactly the way they are. As their trusted adults, we must come together and toil the field, do the work so that they feel proud of themselves, their family, their city, their state, their country and their world. I am honored to have been a part and still a part of so many of my students lives, and want to bring my passion and abounding love for students to CCS. Thank you again for letting me pour my heart out.
All Blog posts are written by Lori Long