Textbook and special needs education standards will become top priority for Nolensville parent Julie Mauck if residents elect her to the District Five seat.
Nolensville mother of four Julie Mauck said she would like to tighten down on textbooks and smooth over education standards for special needs students if she were elected into the District Five position of the Williamson School Board.
A Middle Tennessee State University graduate and Realtor, Mauck has one child in college and her three youngest are still in the Williamson system.
After adopting her youngest three children, she discovered two of them have life-long learning disabilities, so Mauck made the decision to be a stay-at-home mother for several years.
She recently reinstated her real estate license and currently works with Crye-Leike Cool Springs.
On the ballot in August, she will face school board chairman Gary Anderson.
Rezoning is one of the first issues the new board will deal with together as the Nolensville schools open and Thompson’s Station being on the horizon. What’s your philosophy on school rezoning, grandfathering and the anticipation of future growth for rezoning?
In a nutshell, I just think that it needs to be thoughtfully done. I’ve been caught in the path of it before. A lot of people react emotionally to it. Anytime you are in a successful school district, it will happen. There will be growth and people moving in.
I don’t like splitting subdivisions. I don’t want to split communities. You have to do the best you can. I definitely think kids should be grandfathered and stick with the schools they started with if at all possible. Anytime there is success, there will be growth, and we will see a lot more growth out that way in District Five. It needs to be done thoughtfully, and we definitely need input from parents. It’s a “do the best you can” situation.
What is your position on standardized testing – is there too much, too little?
I think there is way too much testing. I think the teachers teach to the test, and I am not a fan. I think we should give teachers more discretion and that gets down to the standards. I don’t think a teacher’s pay should be accountable to what their scores are. There needs to be a differential or something there.
With a parent of a kids with special needs, they will pick teachers that will be good for your child and have good experience with special education. Those classes are stacked and those students may not do as well on a standardized test. Sometimes, the alternative to that is not putting your child with the best teacher. I disagree with the teacher accountability issue. There is way too much testing.
What is your position on Common Core and the state’s decision to phase it out?
I think it will be interesting to follow. I have fought hard against Common Core. I don’t think these businesses and the federal government should be dictating what our kids should learn. I am for local control of education. I hope they are in fact phasing it out and not just giving it a new name.
What do you think of current state education standards?
The problem with those standards is they try to align them with IEP [Individualized Education Program] students, and that just doesn’t work. There are certain things, like having a kid learn five ways to do division when they can’t tell time or count money, which is ridiculous. I think we need standards, but I don’t think they should be an index to the curriculum to what the teachers will teach. There are too many and too much paperwork to justify what the teachers are going to do. I think reducing the standards and eliminating unnecessary ones would help that.
Do you think world religions should be part of history or social studies curricula?
Religion as in theology, no. But you can’t talk about some issues from a historical perspective without identifying the religion it might have come from. I think it’s a touchy and personal subject for a lot of people. I think it boils down to what textbooks you are going to use, and how the textbooks are going to handle it.
For me, I don’t see why you can’t have an index in the textbook that these are the top-10 religions – Christianity, Judaism, Islam and go down the list. Say what it stands for and fairly identify the key issues. Have it for reference without delving into the theology.
I know Islam is the hot topic, but I don’t want the public school version of Christianity being taught to my kids, either. I just think it’s a slippery slope, and I don’t think it’s fair to the teachers, either. They get backlash for it obviously. It’s controversial and unnecessary if it’s handled correctly.
What is your opinion of the current state of WCS and the current leadership?
We moved here for the schools, and they have been known to be some of the best schools in Tennessee. It’s the reason why a lot of people move here, and it’s a huge draw. Whatever the leadership is doing, they must be doing something right.
What is the best thing about WCS?
I just love Williamson County as a whole. I couldn’t wait to get back after I moved away. But the best things on a personal level are the teachers. I have teachers doing the best they can with the constraints they have. The teachers care. At the end of the day as a mother, you want your child to come home feeling important, cared for and to have learned something. If you were to choose those things, you want them to feel loved, and they do that here.
What needs attention and what aspect of it could need adjustment?
I think the textbooks need to be evaluated. I would like to see, and this is just moving off in a different direction, but I would like to see them come from companies from here in the United States. Pearson is a United Kingdom company, where a lot of our materials come from. I am not crazy about the math curriculum. I think we really need to drill down on the books so that we are selecting our textbooks carefully.