By Bill Korach
The Report Card interviewed Bev Slough, candidate for the newly created Florida 6th Congressional District centered on St. Augustine. She only We asked Ms. Slough about what she would do about the Federal role in public education if elected. Bev Slough should know education. She currently serves as Chairman of the St. Johns County School Board. In 2008 Bev served as President of the Florida School Boards Association. St. Johns County is Florida’s top rated school system, so the Board of Education may share credit with the highly regarded St. Johns School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner.
Ms. Slough says she is running for Congress because: “The country has gone too far from our founding principles. Elected officials often do not represent the people who they are supposed to serve.” She believes that the Federal Government has gotten too big and she faults central Federal planning as a big problem with implementation of national educational standards. Ms. Slough believes that the Department of Education with its $80 Billion annual budget and declining schools scores is high on the list for reduction in size and scope. She also feels that the Environmental Protection Agency is presently doing more harm then good by over regulating businesses and energy.
So, would she abolish the Department of Education (DOE) as candidates Ron DeSantis and Richard Clark have advocated? Ms. Slough says: “I would not abolish the Department of Education but I would limit the scope of the DOE. The DOE should not be in the business of setting one- size-fits-all standards for local schools.” She thinks that No child left behind is well-intentioned and drives some accountability, but it forces teachers to focus more on helping gets get a good test score than on learning. She does feel that the DOE provides financial support for kids with disabilities or special needs that overwhelm a district.
I asked her if she agreed with Apple Founder Steven Jobs that Teachers Unions must be broken so schools can be reformed. She says that teachers in the classroom should be allowed to teach and not tied so closely to the union leadership.
When asked about textbooks that seem to attack America’s Judeo Christian Foundation, and promote socialist economic solutions in opposition to free market capitalism, she says: “I am not sure there should be a Federal role for textbook selection.’ As Chair of the St. Johns School Board, she was concerned about a recently published Teacher’s Guide to Islam Biased textbooks that contained 25 textbooks in Florida with over 250 false or misleading statements with a pro-Islam anti-Israel, and anti-Christian bias. She promised to carefully review the 5 textbooks that are currently in use in St. Johns County.
I asked Ms. Slough how here views and approach differed from those of the other candidates. She says she knows the community having lived here for 33 years and having spent so much time in public services. She says: “Working on the school board has given me many insights into the county, and management of a large budget Over half of St. Johns total budget, about $500 Million, is allocated for schools.” She believes her collaborative style and listening skills will make her a good representative of District 6 voters.
Ms. Slough serves on the Federal Relations Network, Pre-K Committee, and Teacher/Principal Effectiveness Committee of the National School Boards Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Stephen F. Austin State University.
In addition to her duties with the School Board, she serves as president of United Way of St. Johns County, immediate past president of EPIC Community Services, and is an active member of the boards of St. Johns Education Foundation, PACT Prevention Coalition, Character Counts!, and JCP Cares. She is also an active member of the Republican Executive Committee of St. Johns County.
Ms. Slough lives in St. Johns with her husband, Wesley, pastor of Switzerland Community Church. They have two daughters, Julie Simmons and Elizabeth Slough, and two grandchildren.