Michelle Trusty-Murphy seeks state school board seat

Western Nevada Community College English professor Michelle Trusty-Murphy has announced she will challenge incumbent Dave Cook for a State Board of Education seat.

Trusty-Murphy said she decided to run based on concerns about curriculum requirements and the many tests Nevada students are required to take.

She said she thinks local school boards should have more control over curriculum and fewer resources should be focused on the tests.

"At the community college, I see what's coming out of the high schools and as a mom I see what's coming out of the elementary schools," she said. "I'm seeing a lot of money spent on tests that could be spent on education."

She has three sons, Connor, a fourth-grader at Pinon Hills Elementary School, Ryan, 5, who will start school next year, and Keith, 3.

Trusty-Murphy said state mandates are robbing districts' of the ability to tailor classes to the needs of students.

As an example, she says more vocational, technical and art programs should be developed because not every student is college-bound.

"We need to recognize those fields are important," she said. "The curriculum is becoming so inflexible the districts aren't able to offer those classes."

Trusty-Murphy predicted the proficiency tests that high school students must pass to graduate will be a campaign issue. She thinks that and other tests are too highly emphasized, and says testing is not the best indicator of ability.

She also said she opposes the business tax the state teachers association is proposing to provide more educational funds.

"I think the key to having more money for schools is to stop spending it on things you don't need," she said. She thinks the many tests Nevada students take are in that category.

Trusty-Murphy has lived in Carson Valley for five years. She grew up in Northern Nevada, attending Carson City schools. She graduated from Reno High School in 1982.

She said the board of education campaign will be her first bid for public office.

Cook, a former Carson City School Board member, was elected in 1996.


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