DAVE 'WATCHDOG' MINER
BIRTHPLACE: St. Petersburg
FAMILY: Wife, Marsha, and children, Sarah, 27, Joey, 24
EDUCATION: U.S.M.C. and Vietnam war, honorable discharge; Amherst College, Bachelor of Arts, 1970; University of Detroit Law School, Juris Doctor, 1974
PROFESSIONAL CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Florida Attorney of the Year nominee
FUN FACT: I was licensed to fly an airplane before I drove a car.
What attributes do you bring to this office that separate you from your opponent?
I am the only candidate who:
1.) Has experience in hiring a chief operating officer of an organization;
2.) Has experience hiring legal counsel;
3.) Is a long-time (more than 12 years) challenger of the school board on FCAT, transparency, wasteful spending, fairness to employees, and other issues;
4.) For decades has successfully worked on community boards, making organizations better;
5.) Is a leader in establishing Manatee County’s first child abuse prevention program and creating METV;
6.) Possesses many years of services as a Big Brother in the Big Brothers program;
7.) Is a proud veteran (Marine Vietnam veteran);
8.) Has been a successful business owner for more than 34 years;
9.) Has authored assessment reform legislation and served as a witness for the Senate Education Committee.
10.) Is a proud father of two children who inspired him to become deeply involved in school advisory councils and education policies;
11.) Has been honored as Children’s Advocate of the Year, Father of the Year, Drum Major for Justice, and Florida Sunshine Brigade Hero;
12.) Has many years of service as director of the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform, director of the Florida Association of School Advisory Councils, president of Manatee Children’s Services;
13.) Is president-elect of the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis Club;
14.) Possesses experience as an attorney working in education law;
15.) Is recognized as successfully working with others with diversities of interests and backgrounds as evidenced by endorsements from MEA, ASCME, Tea Party Manatee, NUBE, and on Aug. 14 winning 106 of 113 precincts, stretching from Duette to Anna Maria Island.
What specific skills or experience do you have that qualifies you more than your opponent to serve as a member of the Manatee School Board?
Leading and successfully working with others on boards of many state and local organizations; managing a business for more than 34 years; understanding legal processes gained from law school, 36 years of practicing law, and more than 12 years of involvement with public education laws and practices.
What do you see as the primary responsibilities of the Manatee School Board?
Providing leadership. Establishing policies. Exercising oversight. Managing the public’s money in an open and prudent manner.
What is your view of the FCATs?
The FCAT is poison to education. The quality of education in our community and the state of Florida will improve if we stop wasting money on our addiction to testing and, instead, channel our resources into improving education in the classroom. Finland learned long ago that diagnostic testing is helpful but that high-stakes testing directed to sorting, ranking and punishing students, teachers, schools and districts is pure folly. It is time that we as a community and state, along with other communities and states and hundreds of other school districts embrace the FAIRTEST initiated resolution that maintains that accountability should not boil down to one high-stakes test and our focus should not be on bubbling in test answers but on developing good and educated citizens capable of proceeding to higher education or a worthwhile career.
What do you see as the biggest challenges that will face the school board in the next two years, and how would you propose these challenges be addressed?
Restoring the public’s trust in our school board, hiring a highly qualified and experienced superintendent as well as hiring a highly qualified and experienced new legal counsel or law firm, reaching and maintaining a balanced budget with required reserves are all part of the greatest challenge — which is providing the highest quality education for the children of Manatee County.
Achieving this involves using all the district’s resources in the most efficient way. The best use of the district’s resources will result from the board members and the public having easily available information about how district funds are spent and intended to be spent. Achieving this also includes voicing objection to state and federal policies seeking to take away local control of education and to turn teaching classrooms into testing laboratories.
It includes also insisting that all employees be treated fairly and receive fair wages and that teachers be treated and paid as professionals. We cannot continue losing quality teachers from the classroom because they no longer can afford to be teachers or they do not want to continue being teachers. We will not progress with employee morale remaining at an all-time low.
What will be your three top priorities if you are elected?
1.) Change policies to allow teachers to teach; 2.) Stop high-stakes testing;
3.) Make funding the classroom a priority.
What is your position on:
I favor choice but recognize that choices have to be balanced against available resources, the need to keep taxpayer money at home, and that whatever school is chosen conforms to standards expected of other taxpayer-supported schools.
I favor the use of vouchers provided that taxpayers are provided an open accounting of how their money is being used, the money is kept at home, and the schooling conforms to standards expected of public schools.
On a scale of 10 to 10, with 10 being excellent, how would you rate the performance of Superintendent Tim McGonegal?
What is your vision for the office of the Manatee County Public School District?
I am dedicated to working tirelessly to restore confidence in the Manatee School Board so that it is an instrument for providing all students the best possible education, instilling in them a love of learning, and training them for college and careers and becoming responsible citizens.
Not just talkin' turkey
The Sarasota Observer talked with students from Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, Southside Elementary and First Presbyterian Preschool. They shared their Thanksgiving traditions, what they are thankful for and their favorite pie flavors.
Visit YourObserver.com to submit your local weather photos. Each weekly winner will be entered into a monthly drawing for a $25 gift card. One grand prize winner will receive a $5,000 flooring makeover.*
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