Andreasen: Reading mastery is key to all students’ successes

Dennis Dalman2020 election, News, Print St. Joseph, St. JosephLeave a Comment

by Dennis Dalman

Even though his 2016 bid for a seat on the St. Cloud school board failed, Scott Andreasen of St. Joseph remains active in the school district. He is one of seven candidates, three of them incumbents, competing for four open seats on the board.

Andreasen is a community member of the district’s board finance committee and also on the community education advisory committee.

“As a community member of the finance committee, I am familiar with the budgeting and auditing process,” he said. “I have spent hours reviewing change orders for the construction of  Tech High School, making sure we got the best bang for the buck. I know the issues and the players. I am fiscally responsible. And as a member of the advisory committee, I am familiar with class offerings and how they educate the community.”

Andreasen, 71, is the owner of Scott Investigation for which he serves as a licensed private detective, in business for 25 years. He is the father of six children, all graduates of Apollo High School.

Andreasen graduated from Mankato State University with a degree for teaching social studies and a minor in business administration. He worked for the Hennepin County welfare department for years, from which he said he gained understanding about what it is like to be poor. He has also worked as an insurance adjustor, helping people in trouble. As owner of Scott Investigation, Andreasen said he developed a keen understanding of business and the law. He is a member of the board of the Minnesota Association of Private Investigators.

Andreasen gave his responses to the following questions for the St. Joseph Newsleader:

How can you help ensure every child has full access to the best education so no child is left behind?

Culturally diverse people need to develop a similar frame of reference, and reading is the key, Andreasen said he believes. Reading develops in students language comprehension, word recognition and vocabulary building, all vital tools for learning and communication, he noted.

“Somali culture respects education,” he said. “Charter schools have shown things run much more smoothly with Somali males as para-professionals to back up female teachers and enforce harmony between races.”

How can you help guarantee a zero-tolerance policy against teasing, taunting and bullying is not only emphasized but consistently enforced?

Bullying, Andreasen said, is an “everlasting problem.” The St. Cloud school district has a “pyramid” program. At the lower level, a teacher handles the problem. At mid-level, an office referral occurs. At a higher level, there is involvement by a school psychologist, a social worker and a probation officer.

Some say there is too much emphasis on written tests to measure students’ progress. How do you feel about testing?

Testing is a “snapshot in time,” said Andreasen and tells where a student is at in the learning process. Both the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test and the “Star” tests are given to monitor progress, in addition to periodic teacher quizzes.

Using MCA tests to compare school districts is wrong, he said, because some districts are more diverse than others so many students have not mastered English. Two-thirds of the children in the St. Cloud district receive free or reduced-price lunches, he noted.

The “Star” tests, he said, indicate students of color are advancing rapidly at more than one grade level per year. It takes time, but team teaching has done wonders, he noted.

“Our special education is the best around,” Andreasen said. “Surrounding districts know this and send their toughest kids our way.”

Please address two or three school issues you care most about and what you would like to do to make changes (if any) regarding those issues?

Equity between high schools must be dealt with.

“The new Tech High School is fabulous,” he said. “Apollo High School is 50 years old and in need of remodeling. That can be done at one third the cost of building new. I have actively supported bond issues in the past and will do so again.”

Another issue, he noted, is COVID-19.

“Our mission is to educate, but the safety of our students and staff is paramount. Striking a proper balance is difficult. Department of Education guidelines are helpful, but the final decision lies with the superintendent and school board. I will do my best to make the right call.”

contributed photo
Scott Andreasen

Author: Dennis Dalman

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.

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