July 23, 2024

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Denver school board candidate profile: Marla Benavides

4 min read
Denver school board candidate profile: Marla Benavides

A Denver mother who property-universities her son and as soon as labored as a bilingual paraprofessional in community faculties is managing for an at-massive seat on the faculty board.

Marla Benavides, 48, claimed she is functioning for the school board mainly because she is worried about literacy costs. In 2019, the very last college yr just before the pandemic, just 43{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf} of Denver 3rd- as a result of eighth-graders who took the point out literacy test scored at or previously mentioned quality degree. Those percentages were being decreased for Black and Hispanic students, which Benavides cited as a problem.

“I see literacy as the engine behind our 250 years of American greatness,” she reported. “And I see my position as the very last hope for education reform.”

In weblog posts, Benavides blames the district’s aim on equity for a failure to improve teaching and college student academic functionality. Every yr, college students “get dumber and dumber,” she wrote in just one write-up that blames teachers’ unions for a tradition of mediocrity.

Benavides describes herself as a passionate debater with a powerful Christian faith. In addition to property-education her 10-12 months-old son, she sells publications as an unbiased contractor by means of Usborne Books. Before her son was born, she was a substitute trainer in Denver General public Educational institutions and a bilingual aide who worked with learners understanding English as a next language. She also attended legislation faculty and has worked as a paralegal.

In all, 12 candidates are managing for 4 open up seats in the Nov. 2 election. The winners will assist direct a district that is nevertheless navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to make up for a yr and a 50 {e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf} of disrupted discovering. The board will oversee a new superintendent, craft a new strategic strategy, and grapple with quite a few extended-simmering concerns, together with declining enrollment and ongoing disagreement about the position of independent constitution universities and semi-autonomous innovation faculties.

Benavides life in southeast Denver but is functioning for an at-huge seat to represent the total metropolis. The board seat symbolizing southeast Denver is not up for election this calendar year.

Except if she sees the college district “support each individual parent’s planet watch and not force an agenda,” Benavides said she does not approach to enroll her son in a Denver general public university.

Benavides is striving to begin a Denver chapter of a nationwide group referred to as Mothers for Liberty, which describes itself as supporting parental rights and has opposed the educating of critical race idea, an educational framework that examines how policies and the regulation perpetuate systemic racism. Asked about important race principle, Benavides did not offer you a strong feeling but reported she has heard that some parents are concerned about it.

“I would seem far more into that,” she reported.

But on her web site, Benavides stated she does not imagine in essential race theory and that she would in no way set her personal youngster in an “equity worldview general public faculty process.”

Benavides stated she is vaccinated but thinks it ought to be a personal option. The town of Denver has mandated that all college staff members be vaccinated. She also stated children should not have to use masks. Denver educational facilities have to have all college students and employees to use masks.

Denver General public Universities is Colorado’s biggest college district, serving about 90,000 college students. A tiny far more than 50 percent of learners are Hispanic, 26{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf} are white, and 14{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf} are Black. Its school board has 7 associates — 5 regional and two districtwide.

We asked Benavides about quite a few vital troubles the district will encounter in the coming many years.

Declining enrollment and a growing amount of smaller faculties: Benavides claimed she’d get started by inquiring dad and mom what they want from their children’s universities.

“I’ve by now talked to a large amount of them, and a good deal of them are involved with fairness and the worldview [students are] receiving that goes against several of the parents’ worldviews,” she mentioned.

Elementary colleges ought to be instructing looking at, producing, and arithmetic, Benavides said. In examining, she reported pupils need to master phonics — the sounds letters make — somewhat than finding out to figure out “sight words” without the need of staying capable to seem them out.

“I’d look at the parents and what the parents want,” she claimed. “My objective is to be professional-mum or dad.”

Constitution and innovation educational institutions: Benavides supports charter and other non-traditional faculties that she claimed give households much more alternatives of in which to ship their children.

“Parents are the key caretakers and educators of their small children, and they need to have the preference of choosing the ideal school for their kid,” she claimed.

Law enforcement in universities: Benavides disagrees with the Denver board’s selection previous summer season to eliminate law enforcement officers from schools. She participated in a law enforcement Explorers plan as a teenager in Florida and reported she believes police perform a function in shielding learners.

“I consider we ought to carry them back,” Benavides stated.

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