Archive for Friday, February 26, 1993

GOAL-BASED CURRICULUM URGED

February 26, 1993

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Incumbent school board candidate John Tacha, 52, would like to accomplish in his second term what he had no time to do in his first.

When he was elected four years ago, Tacha planned to focus on the district's curriculum. The district had other plans for him, however.

"What hit me immediately was it was obvious that we were going to have great expenditures in a short period of time," Tacha said in an interview Thursday.

Aging facilities and impending growth would require more money than he thought the public was ready to provide. He was right.

When the first bond issue for a new high school failed in 1990, Tacha knew the board would have to involve the community if a second try were to succeed.

The small-business owner, former teacher and coach devoted the rest of his term building consensus about the district's needs and formulating a bond issue that every precinct would pass. He succeeded at least for primary schools.

AS FOR a second high school, a community-based task force representing all sides of the issue laid the groundwork for a 1994 bond issue, Tacha said.

He would like the committee to revisit the issue and help sell it to the people as the time draws near.

"The days are gone forever that people will vote a certain way just because elected officials say they should," he said.

In a second term, Tacha would like to generate similar support for at least two curriculum programs: outcome-based education and a preschool.

Tacha would like to determine what kind of education parents, teachers and administrators would like a graduate of the Lawrence school system to have.

Once that goal is set, teachers would discuss what students at each grade level would need to accomplish before going on, then coordinate curriculum to ensure students reach that goal.

That is the basic concept behind outcome-based education.

THE PHILOSOPHY has been criticized for breeding mediocrity, but Tacha said gifted children still would be encouraged to surpass the goal.

"That's one of the challenges in education," he said.

Tacha would like cooperation between business and local, state and federal governments to establish a solid preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds.

The district and federal funding from the Head Start program could contribute to a facility, and businesses could pitch in resources to provide teachers, he said.

Tacha lives with his wife, Deanelle, and their four children at 408 Homestead.

He is the only incumbent running in the election. If he wins re-election, he says he looks forward to working with two new members, who will succeed Alice Fowler and Barbara Ballard.

The candidates should look forward to rewarding experiences and a lot of hours up to 30 a week, he said.

"As I look at the slate of candidates, I feel good," he said. "Even if I lose I'd feel good. . . . They all are committed to education and committed to the kids."

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