Jean Forrest: Candidate Profile
Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 School Board
Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Rolling Meadows
Twitter: Candidate did not respond.
Family: Married with two kids aged 17 and 14, both attending a D211 school
Education: MA in Economics
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
I am running for the Board of Education for the first time. As a Chinese American, I value education highly. We have an excellent school district now, and I am passionate about maintaining that standard of excellence. I am committed to bringing the best resources to our children and giving our children the best education possible.
What do you think about the process for measuring student success in your district? Is it adequate? What changes, if any, do you propose?
Standardized tests are a partial metric of student achievement. The current grading system seems to be adequate. However each student is an individual, and we will need to be careful when it comes to measuring the success of each individual. We can have less reliance on standardized tests and more emphasis on teacher recommendations for placement.
District 211 became nationally recognized for both its disagreement with the federal government and its subsequent written agreement over the handling of transgender students' locker room access. How would you characterize your own agreement or disagreement with the board's action? What would be your position on the board's future handling of such issues?
Schools have a duty to protect the dignity and well-being of all students, because all students matter. If elected, I would like to provide a district-wide locker room and restroom policy that protects the privacy and well-being of all children and which includes reasonable accommodations for children with different requests. I would vote for a policy to replace the district's practice of allowing locker room and restroom access to students of the opposite biological sex who are dealing with gender identity issues.
What budget issues will your district have to confront and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, what programs and expenses should be reduced or eliminated? On the income side, do you support any tax or fee increases?
As an actuary with over 10 years of working experience in financial auditing and asset/liability management, I am confident that I can help our school board make sound fiscal decisions. If elected, I would like to freeze or lower the D211 property taxes without sacrificing the quality of education received. I would also like to foster efficient and prioritized use of funds and to optimize the value obtained from district-owned assets.
What role can and should school choice play in your district? If Congress or the state approves a voucher system or other means giving students broader choices among public and private schools, how will that affect your district? What is the appropriate response for the board of education of a public school system?
While I like the idea of having broader choices for our students and their families, it is not within the school board's discretion to decide on the voucher system or any other means of school choice. Again, I am proud of our topnotch public school system and am passionate about continuing the excellence of our school district.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I have noticed that there is a lack of transparency in the school board's decision-making process. If elected, I would like to restore school board accountability to the community. I would strive to have open dialogue and debate about board matters at public meetings and to communicate significant policy issues/changes in a transparent and timely way.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Pastor Bill Hybels from my home church which is Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
I learned to be considerate of other people's feelings and needs, since I had two siblings and we had to share many things.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
Saying kind words to other people and encouraging my kids more. Making more friends, visiting more places, and spending more time with my family.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
I always loved reading in school. Reading helps me become more knowledgeable about the world, more articulate, and more imaginative.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Life is an adventure. Always work hard and do the best you can on everything. Don't be afraid to try new things.