Jennifer Showalter, Candidate for Palm Beach County School Board

Jen Showalter
  1. What are your top 3 priorities if elected? 

My top three priorities are to restore the power to the people, establish communication and rebuild accountability as well as to refocus on academics and after school programs. This can be accomplished, partly, by meeting with students, parents, teachers/staff, and officers to identify the issues. By working together in compromise, we will build and implement solutions. 

2. Do you have a child attending a Palm Beach County PUBLIC school or have you in the past?

My daughter just graduated Valedictorian of Wellington High School in May. My middle son is a rising Junior at the high school and is in the Marching Band. My youngest was bullied repeatedly last year so he is now homeschooled. 

3. Do you think teachers deserve a pay increase?  If yes, will you commit to teacher raises this year?

As I have many good friends who are staff or teachers in the Palm Beach School District, and many family members who were public school teachers, I understand and agree that the pay needs to be raised and the pay scale completely overhauled. I want a complete audit of the budget, looking for wasteful spending to apply towards teacher pay, before asking the taxpayers for more money. 

4. Do you think code red drills are effective?

There are too many variables to make code red drills trainings beneficial. Teachers that I have talked with have expressed concerns over a multitude of issues these drills cause. Sitting down with staff, teachers, officers, local law enforcement, parents and even students to discuss the issue is the first order of business. 

5. Do you think teachers should be armed?

I believe that as gun free zones, schools are soft targets. Any willing and able employee with a license to carry should have the ability to go into a specialized training program. That program would be intensive and exhaustive, providing them the necessary additional training in order to help develop proper tactical responses for those high stress, physical situations. We should have a meeting with everyone… from students to local law enforcement, to discuss and develop workable solutions. 

6. Do you think Critical Race Theory should be taught in our schools?  Why or why not?

Critical Race Theory should not be taught in our schools. Social Emotional Learning, the 1619 Project, etc. are foundational aspects of Critical Race Theory and have no place in education. These curricula are designed to cause division and discord, not representing actual facts. 

7. Do you support Moms For Liberty?

I will all support groups, like Moms for Liberty and Moms for America, that stress the vital importance of parental rights and respecting the Constitution. Parental involvement is a critical aspect of the educational process. 

8. What do you think about Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law?

Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law restores parental rights and is a reinforcement to schools to actively communicate with parents. It follows current Florida statutes. 

9. Briefly, tell us about your experience. Have you ever taught in a public school? Volunteered?

I am a mother of three, my daughter just graduating valedictorian of Wellington High School, and two twice gifted sons. They are both accelerated learners but have special needs such as HF Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Gross Motor Delay, Apraxia and more. I’ve spent 16 years volunteering to help other special needs families as well as those with reading difficulties, because the system is dysfunctional. My professional communications experience and skill sets will assist in redeveloping avenues of communication, transparency and accountability. I have volunteered for 17 years as Team Mom for my children’s sports teams, in the classrooms, on the PTA (even a Board Member), as well as volunteering my professional services to the schools. My volunteering throughout the community as a whole started back in middle school at church and through organizations like Habitat for Humanity. 

I have not taught in public school, but I am a homeschooler to one child as well as friend and family member to multiple public school teachers.  

We need to work together to shine a light on the real issues, and work together (parents, students, teachers and board) to brainstorm solutions. I am about returning the power back to people as well as honoring parental and individual rights. We must return to teaching kids HOW to think, NOT WHAT to think. The school system needs to get back to its original purpose. We must restore strong academics in a “can do” atmosphere, reestablishing strong work ethics and personal responsibility, so our children have the skills needed to succeed, whether in career, trade school or college.

10. Do you think public schools should receive more funding?

We must first completely audit the budget and cut wasteful spending. Palm Beach County has a 4.1 billion dollar budget but can’t pay teachers properly or bus students to their sporting events. The money is there, but it isn’t going to where it is most needed. I believe that if we continue with government funding of pre-K through college education, that the money should follow the student. Government funded education has declined, and parents need options that most likely will fall outside of the public sector. Unfortunately, many charter schools refuse the funding because of the massive amount of strings attached. There needs to be less government regulations, in order to provide the most comprehensive and effective individualized plan for each student.