Incumbent Mia Price hopes to retain her Place 4 seat on the Denton ISD Board of Trustees. As a 21-year board member and mother of four children who graduated from the district, Price said her top priority now and if reelected will be to recover dramatic learning losses that affected Denton students during the pandemic. Price is the board’s vice president.
Denton ISD board trustees serve three-year terms.
The Denton Record-Chronicle posed the same six questions to each candidate running for the Denton ISD Board of Trustees.
Profiles are published in alphabetical order. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Price’s opponent, Andrew English, 23, hasn’t responded to multiple requests for an interview. He didn’t attend the League of Women Voters of Denton election forum for school board candidates on April 19. English is the chief operations officer of a education business, with experience in esports and programming. No campaign finance reports for English have been posted on the district website pages for candidate documents.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Louisiana State University
Employment: A homemaker who also serves as financial manager for her husband’s medical office
Do you have children attending school in the district or did your children graduate from the district?
My four children went through Denton schools from kindergarten. Well, but they didn’t all go to kindergarten because it wasn’t full day back then. But all of them went through elementary, middle and high school.
When you think of your constituents, who comes to mind first and why: parents with students in DISD; residents of Denton; business owners in Denton.
They all do. I started doing campus leadership teams and the bond committees before I chaired a bond committee. And I’ve done that at all three levels.
But I know that the citizens in Denton, whether they’re parents or not, are very supportive of our district, and they care. They have a voice. We need to listen to them. That’s important to me.
They’re very supportive, not only in what they say but in what they do. And many of them are adopt-a-school sponsors, and they will come and help us financially and as guest speakers … And they let our children intern for them from the (LaGrone Academy) Advanced Technology Complex. They’re there for us. And to be quite honest, it takes all of our constituents to be the best that we can be for our kids.
Texas legislators are concerned about critical race theory in the public school classroom. How do you define critical race theory, and how do you think it affects DISD classrooms?
It’s a theory first and foremost, and I think it’s a higher level of education concept. I really don’t think it’s appropriate for our our K-12 to be discussing.
How would I define it? I think the basis is that many of our laws, and the way we think, may be based on what the Caucasian male at that time felt — and many feel like it has affected all that we do at this point in time.
Being a female, you know, I think maybe we’ve been slighted a bit, considerably, over time, too. To an extent, not a great extent. I can see where potentially the theory came to be. But whether I agree with it or not, it’s a whole other story, because I’ve really not studied it in depth, and I think it’s a … very complex theory to me.
I don’t think it affects our classrooms, to be quite honest. First of all, we have an executive order from the governor that we cannot teach critical race theory, and we need to comply with that.
Our textbooks are approved by our State Board of Education, and to my knowledge, they don’t contain any aspect of critical race theory. But the real reason I don’t think it’s affecting our classrooms is right now we are trying to get our kids back to where they need to be after COVID. Our teachers are working so hard to bring our children up to grade level on every subject in every aspect. I just don’t think critical race theory has a place in our classrooms right now. There’s just, there’s no room for it, to begin with. Other than the obvious that we’re not legally supposed to be teaching it anyway.
Texas legislator Matt Krause asked the Texas Education Agency this school year to survey Texas public school libraries and classroom collections for roughly 750 books – many of them written by writers of color and LGBT+ writers — and to account for how much money was spent on them. Have you looked at the list of books, and what titles, if any, concern you and why? What should DISD do with titles that concern you or parents?
I did look at the list. Was I concerned? One (book) that we had a question about did concern me. I can’t tell you the name, but I did have a concern particularly with that one.
It was 750 books. So I mean, let’s be real here. But when I saw excerpts from this book, I felt like it was not appropriate for a … public school library, to have that type of writing in it now. Public libraries are a different story. But schools?
We have a pretty diverse student population, and I do think we need to be a little bit cautious about what some of our students read. So I think there should be some discretionary judgment in in what we choose for our libraries.
Now, I think just because (the authors and select characters) are LGBT and (people of) color, that shouldn’t enter the judgment whatsoever.
Now what do we do with titles that concern us? We have a committee. (Parent or constituent concerns) can be brought forward, then the committee will evaluate and read the book, and then make a recommendation as to whether it’s just left on the shelf or not.
I want to hear what parents say. It’s important to me.
I will take a parent who’s mad at me and upset with me any day over a parent who just doesn’t care.
Federal and state legislators are concerned about how American history is taught in public schools, especially the county’s racial history? Are you concerned about this, and how do you think Denton schools should teach American history?
I think we should teach the facts, what actually happened. People are going to draw their own conclusions. We want students to have critical thinking and problem-solving skills, so dialogue is good, I think, especially when you start in your upper grades. So I think we teach history according to the facts, and what we have, and what we know and can document. And then we talk about that’s how societies evolve and become better.
What are the top issues facing the district that the school board needs to confront, and how would you lead on those issues?
I think our biggest issue right now is learning loss from COVID … Think about it: Our second graders haven’t been inside a school until now. And it’s related to our second issue, which is staff retention and recruitment. We are teaching, tutoring, doing everything we can to catch our students up to where they need to be.
As far as the teachers, we talked to them. We asked them ‘what can we do?’ They were like ‘we need planning time’ because it’s taking a lot of one-on-one evaluation per student to figure out what we need to do to help these students.
We’ve incorporated more professional development half-days. We understand that that may be a challenge for parents. So we’ve opened up extended school days for those families that work and can’t get there to pick up their children. We’ve worked with them because, let’s face it, our families are dealing with a lot right now, post-COVID. You have to take that into consideration when you change policies, but we’re really … trying to give our teachers (cost-of-living) raises. But you know, they say it’s not not about the money. It’s just the stress and the time. Because they have to go home to their families and deal with homework and everything that families deal with.
The reason I am running again is because I feel like our times are very challenging … Twenty-one years sounds like a long time, I know. When you’re dealing with the challenges we’re facing right now, you need some experienced people to work through them.