Tuesday, Alabama State School Board Place 2 candidate Tracie West (R) was at Northport in Tuscaloosa County addressing the influential Alabama Republican Assembly.
“I am a native of Lee County Alabama,” West said. “I have served on the Auburn city school board for nine years, the last two years as Board President. My most important role is as wife and mother. All three of my children went to public schools. I am married to Lt. Colonel Paul West.”
“I believe deeply that our children are important,” West said. “The development of their minds is very important. 17 years ago I began volunteering in the classroom.”
My first assignment was helping children learn to read, West said. I am a small business woman; but I still tried to make time to help my daughters classroom
“The mayor and city council noticed my service and appointed me to serve on the school board nine years ago,” West continued. “I was reappointed after my first five years term.”
“I have been embarrassed by our state school board,” West said. “They have not worked as a cohesive team.
There has been infighting. They have hired several superintendents that did not do a good job. I believe there is waste at the state department of education. If elected to the state school board I will be ready on the first day to ask the tough questions.”
There are a lot of programs at the state level, what are they doing to help our students to move forward, West said.
“Common core is not working,” West added. “If it was working we would not have the poor results.” As I travel the district, parents tell us that they can not help their children because they don’t understand how the new math works. “Why are we continuing to push something that is causing a wedge between parents and children? We work better when we work together.”
“Every student needs to be reading at grade level by the third grade,” West said. Studies show that children who are not reading at grade level by the third grade minority boys have a 75 less chance of finishing high school.
We need more dual enrollment at the high school level, West said. We need more work options. We need a work plan for each child. “What I don’t want is children graduating and going home because they do not have a plan and going on government assistance.”
As a business owner I see that we are not teaching soft skills: come to work on time, look the customer in the eye, shake their hand, stay at work for your full shift, don’t take money out of the register, and come back and do it again West said. “Nobody has ever signed a paycheck in my business but me.”
“The people on that board (the state school board) have lost touch,” West said. “At our school system, we allow children at our schools to pray. We have allowed our principals to allow children to organize to pray if they like. There is nothing wrong with that.”
“I have never been paid for my service,” West said. “I have faithfully served my students and my teachers. I am an advocated for putting the students first. They will always be a priority to me because I am a mother.”
“I truly ask you for your support,” West said.
Tracie West is running in the Republican primary runoff on Tuesday for State Board of Education Place 2 versus Melanie Hill.
The eventual Republican nominee will face Adam Jortner (D) on November 6.
Remember that in order to vote on Tuesday, you must have a valid photo ID with you when you go to the polls and you can only vote at your assigned polling place.
Jennifer Montrose is the President of the Alabama Republican Assembly which held the candidates forum on Tuesday.
Polls open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm.