2020 SB Candidate Responses

As candidates for school board fill out the questionnaire, their responses will appear here. Click a name to read their detailed answers.

Name: Brent J. Strate
Website: http://brentstrate.com
Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/brent.strate.5
Race Type: State School Board
State Board Political Party: Republican
State School District #: 4
School District & Seat:

What is the purpose of education?

EDUCATING THE WHOLE CHILD is an integral part of our educational system. Providing support and opportunities for student participation in the visual and performing arts, athletics, student government, clubs and service organizations is a necessary and proper function of schools. Schools also are laboratories of society where students learn through modeling character traits necessary to functioning as productive members of society.

What is your vision of the future for education in Utah? How do we help families and children get the education they desire?

Brent has a lifelong commitment to Republican roots and values. His objective as a member of the State School Board is to connect, engage, and build trust with all education stakeholders to consistently improve student outcomes and learning opportunities. His focus is summarized in four main principles.

Student Learning- Schools exist to prepare students to become productive members of society and good citizens. All students deserve the best education that the State of Utah can provide.

Curriculum Standards- Champion our home grown Utah Core Standards as the basis of quality instruction. Involve all stakeholders in standards development. Provide resources to districts to further develop personalized and blended learning.

Profession of Teaching- Provide resources to districts to further invest in our teachers through paid professional learning, collaboration, and curriculum development.

Control of Resources- Promote the WPU (Weighted Pupil Unit) as the fundamental pillar of education funding in Utah. Support school district strategic plans through local control of funding and curriculum. Respect the taxpayers’ dollars.

As a school board member, you will bring to the position your own agenda you have campaigned on. What are the top 3 things you wish to see happen during your time on the board?

More flexibility (thinking outside the box) with how we do the business of education.

More standards/proficiency based educational practices.

Better use of assessments to inform student learning.

Student learning is the focus!

Some organizations believe members should drop all personal agenda’s when elected, how will you resolve any commitments you’ve made to voters during your campaign?

I will strive to build connections with all educational stakeholders as we strive to always put the education of children first.

In 2010, Utah adopted the National Common Core Standards and later adopted the national science standards. Since then, numerous data has showed that this was a step backward for education. As a state school board member, will you work to completely replace Common Core standards with something better?

I’d like to do a review of them with parental involvement

In recent years, Utah has adopted a number of initiatives such as computer adaptive testing through SAGE and Aspire tests. What is your vision for how testing should function in Utah schools?

Assessment should be focused on student learning, not a single letter grade of schools. Data must be used to inform instruction and improve student learning of essential skills and competencies.

Explain your position on data privacy as it relates to education? Who should have access to student information and under what kind of controls?

In the school district I work in student data privacy is a major emphasis. It is also a major ethics emphasis during relicensure. Professional use of data by educators is useful to meet the individual needs of students. An example of this would be ELL data.

There is a push to remove Utah’s abstinence-based education and replace it with a Comprehensive Sexuality Education program for K-12. Where do you stand on this issue?

Lets bring all stakeholder together and come to a consensus. I have found as a member of the South Ogden City Council that no matter conscientious the effort to bring stakeholders together no one will is ever entirely happy with the outcome. I just keep listening and working anyway.

What role does the federal government play in Utah schools?

Title 9, 504 accommodations are two examples of the federal government has exerted control over education. Both of these are based on the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees equal protection of the law. I would like to see the government have less of a role, but sometimes such as segregation the federal government has a right and responsibility to step in.

What is your vision for technology in Utah schools, particularly with the massive cuts coming due to the Covid-19 lockdown actions depleting our resources?

Technology is an awesome tool, but it is not the whole toolbox.

Note: Technology has been central to my ability as a teacher to provide opportunities for students to continue learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. The greatest challenges provide us the opportunity to adapt and change. As we move forward past the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on teaching and learning we must closely examine the lessons learned. As we identify challenges and identify effective solutions to these challenges we have an opportunity to improve our educational system. I believe that one of the strengths I have developed as a member of the South Ogden City Council is the ability to build a vision and communicate that vision effectively. I believe I would be an asset on the state board as we work through the educational issues associated with Covid-19 and other issues.

Several years ago the South Ogden City Youth Council attended a mock debate at the state capital. As a member of the South Ogden City Council, I attended this event along with the youth. The topic of the debate was the use of technology in the classroom for instructional purposes. It soon became apparent that students view technology much differently than adults when it comes to education. The overwhelming majority stated emphatically that the number one factor, in their view, was not the use or non-use of technology, but the quality of instruction by the living, breathing, human teacher. Several students stated that some of their best teachers used very little technology in the classroom, while other great teachers used lots of technology. The opposite was also true of less proficient teachers.

As a teacher, I have found technology to create greater efficiency for instruction, attendance, and grading. Technology can be an excellent tool in the hands of teachers and students, but it is not the end all. The social and interactive nature of the traditional classroom, enhanced by technology, is best. If technology alone were the answer, we could just have students sit at home and do all their learning on their computers. It sure would save lots of money. The teacher is the key element in an effective use of technology within the curriculum.

Teachers need to adapt to technology as a tool to enhance learning. It is also important that technology is well supported in the school system, but it does not, nor should it ever, supplant the teacher and students in a classroom as the base model of education.

The State Board of Education had to recommend cuts to education funding at 2%, 5%, and 10% What would your budget cut priorities be?

Maintain essential services.

Focus on people first.

There are many different roles in education. At the state level there are board members, the superintendent and USBE staff. In your opinion what are the differences between these roles?

The role of the board is to implement a strategic plan based on the mission and vision of the board and make rules for implementing statutes passed by the legislature. The superintendent is responsible for implement these policies and being responsible to the board for fidelity in implementing the plan.

Utah law recognizes a fundamental liberty interest of parents in the education of their children with schools as a secondary support. As such, should Utah have a criminal compulsory education law? Please explain the reason for your answer.

Yes, parents have a fundamental responsibility to provide food, housing, clothing, shelter and education for their children. How they do that is up to them.

What is your relationship to the education establishment in Utah? UEA/USBA/PTA. Have they contributed to your campaign or endorsed you in any way? (if so, how?) What schools, districts, or organization’s do you feel need represention to the state board through your efforts?

I have been endorsed by the UEA.

Teachers and their professional associations have a front row seat to the various issues and challenges facing education. This expertise must be utilized to the fullest extent. It would be my professional responsibility to communicate openly, honestly, and respectfully with all stakeholders, such as the UEA. Regardless of political ideology, we can all agree that a quality education focused on student learning is vital to the success of our communities, state, and nation. Connecting with all stakeholders is the primary focus of my commitment to education. I believe my skill set is complementary to the role of an effective member of the state board.

Parents Against Common Core is an educational stakeholder just like the 3 groups listed above.

Protecting Our Children