Candidate Profile: Andrew Graham runs for School Board Seat A

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Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 4:34 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Andrew Graham is running for Seat A on the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board.

He says he is running because as a third-generation Alaskan, he wants to be involved in his community. “Access to schooling K through 12 is a right for all Alaskan children, no matter what background they happen to come from, and so what we want to do, and what I would like to do as a member of the school board would be to refocus us onto education over telling kids how they should feel about world events, movements, things of that nature. That seems to be a more dominant focus over the years that kind of goes either alongside or, in some cases, overtakes the desire for education in areas of competency such as reading, writing, arithmetic.”

He’s seen a break in trust between parents and the school district and teachers. “I just want to be there to be able to mend that divide by refocusing on education, where a lot of parents feel, and I feel too myself, that the focus is not directly on education.”

Graham believes some values should be taught in schools. “We want to, obviously, promote really standard values like respect and things of that nature, where, you need respect, and you need this basic etiquette in order for children to interact well with each other so that they can pay attention in the classroom. If you’re not teaching a basic value like that, obviously the classroom can’t function, but what we really want to do is focus on these wider social implications, where it really is the place of the parent and the guardian to impart those to their children and not feel like those things are being undone.”

If elected, Graham would continue the district’s current policy of optional masking. “We can all choose to take whatever medical intervention that we would like to take to protect ourselves, whether it’s masks, vaccines, social distancing, etc. All faculty, all students have access to these safety measures in order to protect themselves in the way that they see fit.”

He would also seek to expand facility access to the community.

According to Graham, “Currently, because of record-low enrollment rates due to COVID and all the upheaval that that’s caused, there are many areas of borough facilities that have become available for... or that have basically been empty, and so we’re heating, maintaining, cleaning these rooms, but they’re not being used, and so, what we would like to do - and this was a priority that the previous Superintendent wanted to do, and that the votes just weren’t there for it - that we would really like to do is to make these facilities available, for free, to all school-age students in the district, no matter whether they’re enrolled, whether they’re not, so that homeschool and private-school children can have access to labs, have access to gyms, have access to all these resources that their parent’s taxes are paying for.”

Graham believes in returning education to the hands of parents. “I’m going to ensure that your children have the freedom to implement whatever health measures they would like. I’m going to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth with the school district, and I’m going to ensure that your values aren’t being subverted in the school district,” he said.

Graham is running against Sally Gant and incumbent Erin Morotti in the municipal elections on October 5th.

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