During the first two weeks of his campaign, Anthony Reed spent his nights working 6 pm to 4:30 am on the University of Oregon campus, helping to remodel Huestis Hall. During the day, he started to campaign for Springfield School District’s Board Director Four position.
Reed explains that he has two children in the Springfield school system and his partner is a teacher in Bethel School District. He says that he watches his partner give her all, every day, to her students, but that her job keeps getting harder because teachers are continuously asked to do more with less.
“We all want our students to succeed. And I believe that if we as a community expect our teachers to give the highest level of support to the students, we should be giving the highest level of support to our teachers,” Reed tells Eugene Weekly.
He says one of the big factors affecting teacher burnout is the tremendous workload that is put upon them. Reed says the district needs to attract and retain high-quality substitute teachers, so that if one teacher is unavailable, another teacher isn’t missing their personal prep time to fill in.
“We have to do a better job of respecting our teachers’ time and supporting their mental health and well-being,” he says.
In regard to charter schools, Reed says they “drain funds from the neighborhood public schools that serve most of [Springfield’s] students. That diversion of funds adds to the tremendous financial stress our education system already faces.”
In addition to draining funds, he says that because charter schools have different requirements, there is a drastic range of experiences from one to the next. He says instead of “abandoning our struggling public schools for unregulated and often for profit, I say we fully fund our schools appropriately.”
Reed says that the district should be partnering with teachers to develop a curriculum that works. “I think that is probably why charter schools originally were so attractive. It was a place for teachers to explore with their curriculum and see what works and what doesn’t outside of the stringent requirements of public schools,” he says. So he agrees that giving more latitude for teachers to develop curriculum is a great compromise to people who support charter schools.
Reed says he supports the elimination of standardized testing. He tells EW that the tests exist for administrative and political financial reasons, not educational reasons, and that the tests put immense stress on students and teachers alike. He says instead of testing, there should be more project-based learning opportunities to assess students’ learning.
Right now is some of the most divisive times Reed says he’s ever seen. “Despite all of our differences, we have to learn to work together and give each other a little grace.”
As a journeyman carpenter by trade, Reed says he will bring a ready-to-work mentality and working-class perspective to the board. “I’m going to show up on day one ready to get to work building our district back better than ever.”
Reed is endorsed by former Springfield School District Superintendent Nancy Golden and the Sierra Club, among others.
Opponent Nicole De Graff did not respond to EW’s attempts for comment.
De Graff is the executive director of Oregonians for Medical Freedom, an organization with a mission to “protect vaccine exemptions, promote informed consent rights, and preserve medical privacy for all Oregonians.” Most of the organization focuses on COVID-19 and how to avoid restrictions on vaccines and other related mandates.
The organization’s website has a page urging business owners to sign forms to pledge that they will never require vaccine passports and that vaccine passports will create a “two-tiered society, where some people would be treated as second-class citizens.”
There is also a “story” tab with antidotes of various parents claiming vaccines caused their child’s epilepsy, chronic brain inflammation or neurological injuries.
On her substack, she posted in March 2023 about how the West Linn – Wilsonville School District voted to keep certain books in the libraries that some parents had been working to get restricted. She directs her post to the school district, saying “What religious group is identified in these books? The church of Satan?”
This April, De Graff quoted a Kevin Bacon tweet that supported drag performers. Her response says “Oh look another out-of-touch virtue-signaling celebrity telling me how it [sic] live. His publicist forgot to tell him we don’t care about drag, we care about the sexualized shows in front of and queerification of kids.”