CLEWISTON — Lake Okeechobee News and Caloosa Belle Independent reached out to candidates running for Hendry County Board of County Commissioners and Hendry County School District in the Aug. 23, 2022, primary elections.
Hendry County school district candidates were invited to respond to the same questions regarding their candidacy.
Below are the responses from Stephanie Busin, who is running for Hendry County School Board District 4. Busin is currently a school board member. She is running against Richard West and Joseph C. Whitehead.
1. What is your position on race in education/critical race theory in the schools including the role of race in curriculum, learning materials and district-specific equity or diversity plans?
I wholeheartedly believe that closing achievement gaps by providing a free and appropriate education that results in majority of students developing the ability to read, write, and numerate on grade level, in addition to learning to think critically and objectively, using evidence-based methodology and supporting curriculum is the most impactful equity strategy a school district can implement. Literacy and numeracy are gatekeepers to the academic opportunity and career development opportunities that provide a pathway to economic prosperity regardless of race in America.
Parents want their children to learn about, and to learn from an accurate account of history. Parents want their children to develop marketable skill sets and a growth mindset necessary to break negative generational cycles. Parents want their children to be empowered with the foundational academic and career skills to become prosperous and contributing members of their community. These are the issues we should as a district, parents, and a community, rally around and unite to achieve for our students and the future of our communities.
The purpose of Critical Race Theory (CRT) is to divide communities along lines of race and gender, between “oppressors” and “victims,” and is grounded in pro-communism Marxist ideology that asserts one racial group (or gender) deserves group preference over others. CRT seeks to assert that public schools must treat individuals unequally according to race for the purpose of forcing equal outcomes, resulting in programs that lead to harmful segregation and race quotas. Hendry County students deserve to receive the education and resources to enable them to reach their highest individual potentials and as such, CRT has no place in Hendry County’s curriculum, learning materials, or strategic plan.
2. What is your position to the responses to the coronavirus pandemic - including mask requirements, vaccine requirements and reopening of schools or distance learning plans?
School districts learned tremendous lessons from the initial national and statewide response to the coronavirus pandemic. In person education is the best and most effective way to educate students and their access to a free and appropriate education should not be contingent on any mandated vaccine and/or mask requirements.
3. What is your position on the Parental Rights in Education Bill signed by Gov. DeSantis?
It is the sole right of the parents or guardians to shape the social, cultural, and political views of their children. Any adult who is not a parent or guardian has no business discussing sexual orientation/gender identity issues with minor-aged students, especially kindergarten through third grade students. Parents send their children to school to learn to read, write and develop numeracy skills to provide the knowledge and skills to become successful members of their community and that should be the laser focus of all schools and school districts.
4. What city do you reside in? Clewiston
5. What is your employment?
I’ve chosen to be a stay-at-home mother since my first son was born. This has permitted me the time to be truly engaged in my children’s education, devote the necessary time and attention to serving on the school board, as well as participate in volunteer philanthropic opportunities focused on supporting Hendry County education.
6. Have you run for political office before?
Elected in 2014
Reelected in 2018
7. What organizations to you belong to, if any?
Hendry Public School Foundation, President
Hendry County Education Task Force, Executive Committee Member
Clewiston Chamber of Commerce
8. Family information if desired:
Married to Tony Busin for 16 years.
Two sons; Anthony and Baron.
Parents; Steven and Norma Schneider
Two cats. One guinea pig.
9. What are you going to bring to the table as a school board member?
I am Hendry County’s only school board member to earn certification from the Florida School Boards Association. Students and the district benefit from my professional training and proficient knowledge of education data, school finance, policy governance, educational advocacy, and personnel and bargaining.
I have established relationships with state and federal Florida lawmakers who create and revise legislation that directly impacts our schools and communities, and I am the only elected official or candidate to be vetted and earn the endorsement of Governor Ron DeSantis who signs proposed legislation into law and has the authority to veto items in the state budget.
As the only mother or parent of a school-aged children serving on the school board, I identify deeply with every parent’s desire to see their child succeed and I possess a great sense of urgency to find sustainable solutions to empower more positive student outcomes. I align my philanthropic and volunteer service to provide financial and volunteer resources to support that mission districtwide.