What I Believe…

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are your thoughts around politics in education?

I firmly advocate for keeping politics out of decision-making processes in education policy. Personal political agendas and beliefs should not exploit our children within the State School Board. The role of the State School Board is to “exercise general control and supervision over the public education system in Utah, including establishing the state educational core standards, state educator licensing policies, and state high school graduation requirements” (USBE, 2024). My commitment is to prioritize the safety, well-being, and academic success of all students. By focusing on evidence-based practices and the expertise of educators and educational leaders in collaboration with parents, we can ensure that decisions made by the State School Board are solely driven by what is best for the children we serve and focused on finding real solutions.

What is your position on the current ‘book banning’ in Utah?

First and foremost, I oppose the presence of pornography in schools. It is paramount that we ensure students' safety and protection from inappropriate materials. Districts should continue to have policies and procedures in place for parents of the school to challenge a book they feel is inappropriate. I believe that a proactive approach should be taken to analyze how books enter libraries to prevent unsuitable content from infiltrating our educational institutions.

Decision-making regarding book approvals and access for children should be decentralized, with communities exercising local control and incorporating input from parents and educators. Granting local communities the authority to shape approval procedures in accordance with the law fosters alignment between the education system and community preferences and allows freedom for communities to determine what material they deem is appropriate. Existing laws and policies should continue to uphold parental freedom in curriculum choices, providing avenues for parents to voice concerns if their values diverge from those of the local community.

What do you think about DEI initiatives?

Diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) initiatives that assume uniform needs based on race, culture, or gender are flawed and can be detrimental to children. Our school environments should foster collaboration and support for all students to feel safe, valued, and respected. Educational policies ought to prioritize the well-being of children over partisan interests. Ensuring every student receives a high-quality education should be the standard of our Utah education system. It's essential to focus on providing additional support to those who need it based on individual learning needs and gaps to ensure success for all students. I am an advocate for addressing and fulfilling the needs of individual students at the local school and district levels in collaboration with parents and within the bounds of Utah laws.

Do you believe CRT should be taught in Utah public schools?

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is not suitable for public education and should not be a part of the curriculum in Utah public schools. Moreover, Utah law HB427 and the Utah State Board of Education Rule R277-328 explicitly prohibits the instruction and training on CRT within the state's public school system.

Do you support school choice and voucher-like programs?

I believe in school choice and that parents should have the freedom to choose the school setting that is best for their children. Parents should have the autonomy to select the most suitable educational environment for their children, whether it be district, charter, public, or homeschool, to ensure the best possible learning experience tailored to their individual needs.

I believe that to be fiscally conservative, public taxpayer dollars should stay in public schools.
I am concerned with providing public funds for private and religious schools that do not have the same transparency and accountability expectations to taxpayers as public schools. I do not support increasing the number or amount of funding for vouchers for only some students. There are already scholarship programs in place to support students with special needs due to the high cost of their educational needs in which qualification criteria and accountability are in place. If there is extra funding available for additional voucher and voucher-like programs then there should first be consideration on how to use this money to increase our low per-pupil spending in Utah to continue to improve public education for all students.

What do you think about technology in schools?

Technology in schools plays a vital role in preparing students for the future by providing access to vast information, fostering digital literacy, promoting collaboration and communication, enabling personalized learning experiences, preparing students for technological careers, and enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. However, challenges such as the digital divide, concerns about screen time, and the need for ongoing professional development for educators must be addressed. Technology and screen time in schools should not replace teachers or interpersonal interactions. Overall, when integrated thoughtfully with effective teaching strategies, technology has the potential to enhance student learning, equip them with essential skills for the future, and better prepare them to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

What are your views on funding in education?

I believe that ongoing and sustainable funding should be provided by the state and local districts to make sure students learn the fundamentals skills of reading and writing literacy, numerical literacy, financial literacy, digital literacy, media literacy, health and physical literacy, in addition to the development of critical analysis and problem-solving skills, so students can learn how to continuously think for themselves. For too long, federal and state earmarked grant funding have guided the programs and resources available in our Utah schools. Changes in curriculum and programs are often tied to grants that are only implemented for a short time and are unsustainable by schools once funding is removed, which is an ineffective use of public money and adds additional unintended consequences of continuous changes in curriculum for schools and teachers.

Do you believe in comprehensive sex education in schools?

Comprehensive sex education (CSE) is not appropriate in a K-12 public education setting, I do not support teaching it in our classrooms, and it is against the law. CSE is defined by the World Health Organization (May, 2023) and United Nations’ technical guidance (March, 2018) as, “meaning they cover a range of topics on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health, throughout childhood and adolescence” and recommend “starting CSE at the age of 5 when formal education begins.”

I support the current Utah State Law (53G-10-402) and USBE Rule (R277-474) which outline age-appropriate sex education including a maturation program towards the later elementary years and curriculum guidelines for middle and high school health classes. According to law and policy, current sex education requires parental consent before being taught the curriculum. Parental involvement in sex education plays a crucial role in ensuring that children receive accurate information, guidance and support regarding their sexual health and relationships. Additionally, parental involvement helps reinforce values, boundaries, and respect within the context of the sexual development of their children.

Do you support Social Emotional Learning in schools?

While I advocate for the inclusion of social emotional learning (SEL), I do not support transformative SEL (tSEL) concepts. School serves not only as an academic institution but also as a vital social space, necessitating the integration of social-emotional skills to ensure a safe and conducive learning environment. SEL encompasses teaching students essential life skills like respect, responsibility, and effective communication, enabling them to collaborate civilly. For instance, instructing students on engaging respectfully in discussion by using phrases like “I agree with you because…” or “I disagree with you because…” exemplifies SEL in action. SEL skills are fundamental for academic success and to nurture a supportive and cooperative learning atmosphere can be seamlessly incorporated into existing educational frameworks without necessitating a separate curriculum.

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) website, tSEL “facilitates critical examination of individual and contextual factors that contribute to inequities and collaborative solutions that lead to personal, community, and societal well-being.” tSEL marks a significant pivot from emphasizing personal mastery of social and emotional skills to guiding students to interpret their personal experiences through the lens of race, gender, or other identity groups. Within this framework, these identity markers are believed to define an individuals’ societal position as either an oppressor or a victim. tSEL which is rooted in theory is not an evidence-based practice and is not appropriate for K-12 public education.

Do you support boys in girls’ sports and bathrooms?

Preserving the integrity and fairness of girls’ sports is crucial, ensuring that female athletes have equitable opportunities to compete, succeed, and benefit from their dedication. This commitment extends naturally to maintaining spaces specifically designated for girls, including bathrooms and locker rooms. Recognizing the inherent physical differences that can impact competitive balance, it is essential to uphold the sanctity of these spaces where girls should feel secure and comfortable, free from concerns about privacy or safety. These measures are fundamental to the principles of equity and justice in athletics and educational environments, ensuring that girls’ rights are protected in all aspects of their participation in sports and school life.

At the same time, it is imperative to recognize and address the challenges faced by students with gender dysphoria, who deserve our compassion, understanding, and support. Finding a balance necessitates thoughtful policies that uphold the rights and needs of all students. This includes maintaining safe environments for students while also exploring alternative solutions for different athletic opportunities to ensure fairness.

The goal is to ensure that all students feel supported, while also steadfastly protecting the competitive fairness and safety that girls’ sports and spaces provide. This does not require compromising the privacy or safety of female students. Instead, it calls for a balanced, informed, and sensitive approach to the needs of all young people. By doing so, we affirm the value and dignity of every student, fostering a community of respect, understanding, and mutual support.

How will you promote civil and productive dialogue as an elected official?

As an elected official it is my role to set a high standard of more civil and productive dialogue through my actions and words. I will promote more civil and productive dialogue as an elected official by modeling civil discourse and respect for all views. I plan to participate in cottage meetings, meet and greets, and be available to constituents for discussions and dialogue to demonstrate through my actions that individuals can respectfully disagree. I believe that discussing issues with compassion, dignity, and curiosity often lead to the best solutions for everyone. I will also encourage my constituents to interact with others respectfully to use our energy and influence to promote goodness and improvement in public education.

As your potential representative, I want to ensure that you understand the foundation of my beliefs and views. They are rooted in my personal experiences, which have shaped my perspective on various issues. However, I want to emphasize that I am always open to discussing and hearing other viewpoints.
Your insights and perspectives are invaluable to me, and I believe that open dialogue is essential for effective representation. I encourage you to reach out to me with your thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Together, we can work towards solutions that benefit our students as a whole.
Thank you for your consideration of the opportunity to serve you.

Amanda Bollinger, Candidate for State School Board - District 9

Key Issues
  • Student Learning

    EVERY child can learn and should be provided opportunities to be successful learners.
    What works for one student, doesn’t work for all.
    Students should feel safe in school, enabling them to concentrate on their education.
    Students should understand what they are learning, the purpose behind it, and monitor their progress in the learning process.
    Our educational system should foster the development of students’ skills for critical analysis and problem-solving, both independently and collaboratively.
  • Parents

    Parents are vital participants in the education of their children and in the public education system.
    It is important for schools to collaborate with parents to identify needs and ensure that all individual student needs are met. 
    Parent volunteers in classrooms, through PTA, and on the School Community Council are essential partners to develop a high functioning school
    Parents should have the freedom of influence and choice in education.
  • Educators

    Supporting and retaining educators should be a priority of each school and district.
    Educators should be trusted and respected by allowing a balance of the art and science of teaching.
    Teacher leaders should be provided opportunities and compensation to assist in ongoing professional development of educators.
  • Funding

    Earmarked funding grants need to be reviewed and improved to avoid the unintentional consequences of perpetual new programs and curriculums.
    Public education should be fully funded to cover growth, inflation, and resources needed to support and retain teachers.
    Public taxpayer dollars should stay in public schools for the purpose of achieving fiscally conservative use of funding.
  • Policy

    Policymakers should carefully examine policies and seek ways to support schools.
    Policy should provide reduced government oversight and prompt increased local control.
    Educational policy should be driven by what is best for kids and not partisan agendas.

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