Mia Turner – Candidate for Wichita BOE – District 5

Candidates

Responses below are from the candidates and have not been edited. All candidates for a race who chose to respond were asked the same questions.

Biographical Information:

I moved from Chicago Heights, IL to Wichita, KS in 1997, and fell in love with the city. I am the mother of six (three biological and three bonus babies) and grandma of five. My children attended Benton Elementary, Wilbur Middle School, and Northwest High School. As a parent, I have an 8-year-old grandson currently attending Benton, so I have been invested in District 5 for years.

Currently, I work for the Wichita Police Department as an Administrative Assistant. My job is highly fulfilling and allows me to serve our Officers and staff. I have been employed with the City of Wichita for nearly 14 years. I’m proud to work for a company that allowed me to grow and encouraged me when I went back to school to earn my Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Administration and Master’s in Business Administration.

I attend New Hope Missionary Baptist Church at 1001 N. Ohio, where I not only get spiritually fed but get to serve and connect with those throughout the city.

Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:

Facebook: Mia Turner for Wichita School Board

What specific Wichita Public Schools issues deserve your immediate attention and how do you plan to address them?

We want to ensure that our students meet the standards to graduate set by the Kansas State Board of Education. To do this, our teachers have the challenging task of balancing standards-based lesson plans and identifying the best way to help each student understand assignments. So my job is to champion a rigorous educational plan that supports teachers’ creativity and students’ learning autonomy.

What are your thoughts on how the coronavirus pandemic has changed schooling? Include your thoughts on masks, social distancing, remote learning, and anything you would have done differently.

The coronavirus pandemic was an eye-opening disruption to all of our lives. Adults and children suffered various levels of disconnection because we were no longer able to gather in the manner we were used to. At the start of the shutdown, I was totally for remote learning for everyone. Over time my mind was changed because my grandson struggled with completing assignments outside of a classroom setting. I do wish that parents and caretakers had the choice of remote learning or in-person, but we were not given the option.

As far as masks, no one wants to wear them, but I feel they are necessary to reduce the spread of Covid.

What is your stance on critical race theory, knowing that USD 259 does not currently teach it?

Critical Race Theory is not a new concept. It has been around for decades. What I have found is some people who are against CRT have little knowledge about what it actually teaches. Critical Race Theory has only recently been revived as a divisive tool to misinform and spark fear in people. CRT does not teach that White people are bad and should be shamed for our country’s history. It explains that our country does have some long-standing laws, policies, and systems that were created to marginalize certain groups to benefit other groups. CRT also teaches that to improve racial and social disparities, we must first acknowledge the issue, then those who have the power to effectually change the damaging laws, policies, and systems should. With that being said, I feel that Critical Race Theory is too broad a subject to be taught fully and appropriately at the K-12 level. This is why is taught as a higher education elective course.

Another misconception is that CRT wants to rewrite or remove the current history curriculum. This is not true, but I personally feel that false, romanticized, or mythicized information should no longer be taught. I often use the story of Paul Revere. Not only did he not alert that the British were coming, but it was actually a teenage girl because Revere had been captured. I think our History curriculum should be more inclusive and diverse about the people who made a positive impact on our nation.

Would you change how much the school district spends on its different departments (teachers, safety, special education, etc.)? If so, how?

I feel that the school district intentionally strives to make sure that how the district spends funds is in alignment with our mission, vision, and beliefs. If there is a change needed, I am confident that I would not be alone in voting for that change.

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