Mar 3, 2008

who is Theresa Tsou?

This is the first in a four-part series, introducing you to the four applicants for the District 2 seat on the Olympia School Board, which was vacated when Rich Nafziger resigned.

The series will go in reverse alphabetical order, and will wrap up before March 12, when the candidates will face questions in a "community forum environment."

I've made care to accurately quote or represent the candidates, and any potential errors are my own.

Parent activist Theresa Tsou is ready to bring her scientific expertise and data-driven approach to the Olympia School Board. A Ph.D. holder and groundfish expert, Dr. Tsou is known in the community for volunteer and committee work, and for her role in the opposing the "Connected Math" curriculum that was adopted last year.
"I don't think the data supports that CMP2 is a better curriculum than Glencoe," said Tsou, who has children in third, fifth and eighth grades.

Tsou also is worried about several drops in math WASL scores this spring among sixth-graders. Of particular concern was a drop among low-income students as a whole, she said.

"Those students are disadvantaged students and usually don't get as much support from their families," Tsou said. "That's a big alarm to me."

Although Tsou was among parents who opposed the district's adoption of Connected Math, she said she wouldn't push district officials to reverse their decision at this point.

But she said she thinks it's important that all teachers supplement the Connected Math curriculum with materials that allow students to hone basic math skills.
Tsou's stated interests include providing "internationally compatible [math and science] education," diversifying the Board, and prioritizing budget cuts in a difficult time. She believes her experience managing Department of Fish and Wildlife budgets makes her particularly apt for the latter.

At this time, Dr. Tsou has declined to clarify or expand upon any items in her introductory letter to the Board, which can be read here [pdf].

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