Capitol Hill resident Dan Harder is hoping to bring a new voice to the School Board.
Harder is running against Michelle Sarju for the District 5 board seat in the Nov. 3 general election. Seattle residents are allowed to vote in every school board race during the general election, regardless of where they reside in the district.
Harder, a mechanical engineer, said he witnessed teenagers participating in the rioting in Capitol Hill during last summer’s unrest, and he was motivated to run for School Board after later learning that they were recruited by groups like Black Lives Matter and influenced by “radical ideology” learned in Seattle Public Schools: Critical Race Theory.
“Where are folks picking up ideas that it’s OK burning the police station down or setting off Molotov cocktails?” Harder said.
According to Harder’s voter’s pamphlet statement released in the primary election, “the premise of Critical Race Theory and ‘anti-racism’ is that all social disparity is the result of systemic racism, and that group identity, not individual character, is the core of who you are. It teaches students to hate each other, their country and, if they happen to be white, themselves.”
One of his main objectives, he said, if he is elected to School Board would be to remove CRT from Seattle Public Schools curriculum and “prioritize academic excellence” over activism.
Harder is also concerned about reports during lockdown of homeless encampments being situated on Broadview Thompson K-3 school grounds. He said, first, tents were set up on park grounds next to the school, but when the School Board didn’t require the city to remove the encampments, the homeless residents moved to school property, which is a safety concern. He said it is the city’s duty to clear out encampments and provide services to the homeless, whereas the district’s concern is with student safety.
“When I am director I will advocate for a policy that requires the immediate removal of any folks who are camping on school property,” Harder said. “That is completely inappropriate.”
Harder admits if he is elected to the School Board he will have a lot to learn. His only foray into government or politics in the past was an unsuccessful bid for Washington state Senate against Sen. Jamie Peterson.
I tend too run long-odd campaigns, but so be it,” Harder said.
Harder said his vision for Seattle Public Schools is to value students individually, value them equally without stereotyping, ensuring their safety and “seeking and expecting excellence from every student.”
Harder said, while he does not have any experience in education, nor does he have children, he would provide a different voice on the board, something he said is missing.
“I would bring a new voice,” he said, adding he would be an advocate for parents who are disappointed with what the district has been doing academically or with its other policies. “I would be a voice for parents that want to see change. They have been missing a clear voice for change.”
Harder said, if elected, he would like to understand better how the district is spending its money. He said he is concerned that the funding breakdown comes out to be approximately $20,000 per student, which he said “is an incredible amount of money.”
“I understand there’s different colors of money, but I think we can reprioritize a little bit,” Harder said, adding he thinks the district has plenty of resources monetarily, but they just need to be applied better.
Go to www.danharderforschools.org for more information about Harder, or email email@example.com.