Helen Raikes for State Board of Education – Official Site

Helen Raikes for State Board of Education

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Supporters letter from Helen →

I am Helen Raikes, Candidate for District 5, Nebraska State Board of Education. I am a parent, grandparent, retired professor of education, Nebraska leader in creating opportunities in early childhood and other areas of education. I have been a lifelong advocate for children, parents, schools, local control of schools, teacher recruitment, building thriving communities, and maintaining processes in a Democracy. For these reasons I am running. 

Watch our campaign video here: 

If elected to this office, I will work continuously to carry out the mission of the State Board—to lead and support the preparation of all Nebraskans for learning earning and living. This is an inspiring charge. To carry out this mission, the State Board of Education needs calm, competent leadership now more than ever Nebraska is rated in the top 10 of states for education, by US News, so we are doing good things. Maintaining and building requires constant focus and updating. My background has prepared me to serve. 

This election is an important one— potentially setting a path for the future of Nebraska children and schools. I hope you recognize the importance of maintaining strong policies and procedures in our small, 8-person State Board of Education. I hope you will become engaged, and active. Conduct your own research, vote, and talk to your friends about the importance, some would say, urgency, of this election.

About District 5 and Helen Raikes

District 5 includes Saunders, Butler, Polk, Seward, York, Hamilton, Clay, Fillmore, Saline, Franklin, Webster, Nuckolls, Thayer, Jefferson, Gage, Pawnee, Richardson and Rural Lancaster Counties. Raikes, who lives near Ashland, is a registered Independent in the nonpartisan race.

Helen retired from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an early childhood education professor in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies in 2020. The Raikes family has been farming in Saunders County for more than 100 years and operates Raikes Beef in Ashland and she and her husband, the late Sen. Ron Raikes, set into motion several of Nebraska’s early childhood programs. The Raikes are parents of three children and have six grandchildren.

On the Issues

There are many hundreds of additional issues that matter for education today, also relevant.  But I start here.    

  1. Parental Rights.   I totally agree that parents are the primary educators of their own children.  Parents are the primary teachers and they have more influence on their children than any others.  Schools complement children’s development and teach fundamental concepts and skills.  Parents should certainly have the right to see curricula that the local school selects and offer commentary on the curricula.  Some schools may want to offer parent representatives spots on review teams for new curricula.
  2. Comprehensive Sex Education.   Local schools select their health curricula.  Probably many of you remember “the talk” which may have been part of the curriculum in your local school when you were growing up.  This has been occurring for 60 + years.  Parents are typically notified in advance and have the right to not have their child/ren participate. I do not think that many or any schools would want to select a curriculum that “promotes” transgender ideology but would select curriculum and procedures that are sensitive to students.
  3. Critical Race Theory.  Critical Race Theory has no place in elementary, middle or secondary schools.   It is a graduate-level theory offered in college sociology (and related) courses.  Accurate portrayals of our history and opportunities to reflect on that are appropriate at the high school level.   This is not the same as Critical Race Theory.  I support schools creating a culture that gives every student a sense of belonging.  I am sure you would agree that learning occurs best when every student believes they belong in their school.   
  4. School Choice.   Parents should be able to choose the school that best suits their children’s needs.
  5. Protect Girls’ Sports.  Girls should be encouraged to participate in sports for so many reasons.  In our small schools, local schools with local control should be able to make decisions about facilities and participation as situations present—maintaining sensitivity to all students.  
  6. Academic Transparency.  Yes, parents should be able to access all books and learning materials being used for student instructions.  Most schools have written procedures for parent review.
  7. Religious Freedom.  Most schools have procedures for religious exemption.  It is reasonable that some students may be exempt from some activities if they perceive their religious beliefs will be violated.
  8. Pro-Life/Pro-Choice: This issue is not relevant to the State Board of Education. Please contact me at [email protected] for further discussion

If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].  I try to answer every question I receive.  Honest and civil discourse is at the heart of our democracy.  

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