School Board Election
District B - Colleen Westlake
Agrees with BBME's Parental Bill of Rights
BBME Interview Transcript:
BBME: Why did you decide to step up and run for the school board?
WESTLAKE: Inspired by God to step up and serve our community. My priority will always be the kids, teachers and families. Our kids are our most precious commodities and their education is essential. As a Trustee, we decide on the curriculum, the objectives and goals. We definitely need to go back to the basics..reading, writing, arithmetic, history and science. I would like to see grade school kids learn foreign languages. The best way to learn about other cultures is to learn other languages. You immerse yourself in the language, food and cultures. That’s how we learn to love your fellow man. Why are we pushing equity and diversity, we’re already diverse, we just need to celebrate diversity and push unity. Haven’t they been telling us that we are a melting pot? We need to recognize other cultures, not skin color. This whole woke agenda has made me dig my heels in and start asking where to go to stop this.
BBME: Do you feel that you will be a part of the leadership that will listen to parents and honor their right to be involved in their education?
WESTLAKE: Being a Christian, family is so important. I would listen to my parents and I am a firm believer that I do not know more than a child’s parents. Obviously, if I know there are parents who are abusing or neglecting their child, but that is criminal and the children need to get help from those trained for handling such situations.
She gave an example of listening to parents. If I have a huge group of people coming and saying to me as a trustee, this is not right, I have an obligation to hold up and listen to these people. I mean really listen to them. For example, it happened to me when I was serving on the Sierra Youth Football League board. I had to go up against the rest of the board members. I had several responsibilities, writing bylaws, coaching a cheer team, ordering equipment, obtaining city practice fields and high school game fields, making the game schedule and overseeing the coaches and being the liaison to the outlying areas that wanted to join our league. The rural areas wanted to become part of our league and play our Sparks and Reno teams, which of course would require traveling for those games. Other board members, coaches and parents in our league really did not want to have to travel outside of Sparks and Reno for games. Everyone was in an uproar, but I sat down with all sides and we came to an agreement that it was not fair for the burden of travel to be on any one area and we had to share that burden in order for the league to grow and to expand on competition. It was a fight, but with discussion and cooperation it worked out for everyone.
BBME: What is your stance on politics and divisive curricula in WCSD?
WESTLAKE: There is no place in school for personal bias or politics. All the Board wants to do is push CRT or equity. They’re so worried about social issues. There is only so much time in a day and you have to manage your time. We’ve got to get back to basics. Be fiscally smart with time and money. They are doing neither.
CRT is a college level course, basically a theory on which to contemplate and speculate. It is not for young students who need to learn the basics. We need to teach kids that 2+2=4. Let’s talk about grammar, let’s talk about history, and let's write in cursive. Teach foreign languages, set up labs to run experiments, that is how kids learn critical thinking. The school has one responsibility…educate our kids.
BBME: Do you believe you will be able to set aside personal opinions and feelings and act on behalf of your constituents through tough topics?
WESTLAKE: Yes, I will listen to the parents, students, teachers, the whole community and be available to discuss tough topics to find solutions.
BBME: How do you feel about data being collected and distributed on our students?
WESTLAKE: I don’t agree with any of that. Even if the intent is good, evil will happen. It will get hacked and used against those kids at some point down the line. Why would they need all this information on our kids?
BBME: How do you feel about accessibility to board meetings? Do you believe they have been fair, accessible and transparent?
WESTLAKE: I have watched board meetings from home and what I saw is they don’t care. They don’t want to hear what you have to say and their mind is already made up. Even if they allow you to speak, there were times when they wouldn’t provide a room big enough for all those who wanted to speak to wait in, breaking open meeting laws. You have to provide a venue to invite parents and families to speak.
BBME: What are your views on teachers using the classroom to promote their personal political platform or beliefs?
WESTLAKE: Well, I am always going to be for the kids. However, as a teacher you cannot bring your personal and political bias into the classroom. I think it will help take the burden off teachers if they just teach the basics like math, science, social studies. They aren’t trained to be psychologists to take on all the emotional issues the District is asking them to take on. I’m definitely always going to be for the teachers and the kids. We are losing a lot of teachers and not helping the kids.