LWV Civics Education in the Classroom

The League of Women Voters focus on citizenship.

From the LWV US:

The leaders we elect make decisions that affect our daily lives. Elections are our chance to stand up for what matters most to us and to have an impact on the issues that affect us, our communities, our families and our future. 

Increased accessibility to the electoral process is integral to ensuring that every American can exercise their right to vote. Leagues across the United States work year-round to promote pro-voter reforms that both preserve our existing rights and provide flexibility for casting ballots in order to be inclusive of historically underserved communities. 

While we have made progress in expanding voter access, many people still face disproportionate challenges to participate in elections due to factors including health, age, race, and gender. Our democracy is strongest when every voice is heard, which is why we strongly advocate for measures to make voting more accessible. 

We host hundreds of candidate debates and forums across the country each year and provide straightforward information about candidates and ballot issues. Through print and online resources, including VOTE411.org, we equip voters with essential information about the election process in each state, including polling place hours and locations, ballot information, early or absentee voting rules, voter registration deadlines, ID requirements and more. 

The LWV of Minnesota has a good page of information about civil discourse.

new lwv oregon initiative: “think before you ink”

Here’s more that the LWV Oregon is doing to protect our elections:



Never sign a petition “just to get it on the ballot so people can vote on it.” Just as voting in primaries has more impact than voting in general elections, signing petitions has more impact than ballot measure voting.

Our board members took this flyer into classrooms (see below) when we recently visited.

What LWV Klamath County is doing

We support informed voters, voting, and good citizenship. Part of those include civil discourse, the ability of citizens to disagree respectfully, and still come to agreements on important issues. Towards that end, several members of the LWV Klamath County Board have been visiting high school classes this Spring to speak about civics and citizenship. They developed a 45-minute presentation and hand out materials for both teachers and students.

These are some of the resources we offer to teachers:

LWV of Oregon – Civics Education Curriculum, a Guide to Student Civic Engagement https://www.lwvor.org/mock-election

LWV Washington – Chapter 11: What it Takes to Be a Good Citizen

LWV San Luis Obispo – Civil Discourse Study, 2014, comprehensive one-year study, brochure, checklist, presentation guide, etc. (see pp. 5-8)

LWV San Diego – “Putting Civility into Action,” 2011-12, League interest group and community presentations.

LWV Washington – “Civility in Our Democracy Program,” 2012-2013

LWV California, Suggestions for Engaging and Empowering

This is what students receive:


Being a good citizen requires striving to develop certain habits of mind and ways of living. To live in an open, democratic society, we have to accept that not everyone will share our beliefs.

We don’t always agree. We are not all alike. That’s OK. Have the courage to change what you can, the serenity to accept what you cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Letting go of winning does not work for sports, BUT, democracy is NOT a sport with winners and losers. We all lose when we can’t find a solution we can live with.

So what contributes to being a good citizen?

  1. Try to be a person of good character. Respect yourself and others.
  2. Love to learn.
  3. Learn about science and technology.
  4. Don’t feel like you have to know everything.
  5. Get to know your neighbors.
  6. Spend time with people who are different from you. Learn from them.
  7. Know your rights and stand up for them.
  8. Participate in the life of your community. Join interest groups.
  9. Think about the common good as well as individual liberty.
  10. Lean toward optimism.
  11. Think of yourself as a powerful person. Your vote elects a president who has an impact on the whole world, not just Americans. This is an important responsibility.
  12. Question authority. In fact, question everything.
  13. Don’t waste time hating “government”. Complaining about it doesn’t change it. Use your vote to elect leaders who will steer the country in a positive direction.
  14. Keep the faith in democracy. If we stop believing in it, democracy dies.

Together, we have made A LOT of progress since 1776, from outlawing slavery to extending voting rights to every citizen to becoming one of the most powerful countries on planet Earth.

Charles Schulz, creator of Snoopy said: “I believe that our greatest strength lies always in the protection of our smallest minorities.”

Here are some excellent words of advice from a Common Dreams article (March 6, 2016) by Zoe Weil, entitled “Civil Discourse Leads to Positive Change: Insults Do Not.”

“Ironically, it is when we are not competing to be “right” that we are most likely to have our perspectives adopted by others. Civil discourse isn’t just a better path for living and working together peacefully; it is a better path strategically if we want our ideas to be thoughtfully considered and potentially embraced by others.

If you’re really angry and desperately want positive change, then civil discourse is your best path forward. Venting your anger publicly isn’t only counterproductive, it’s also selfish. It doesn’t serve your greater goal; it only serves your most frustrated self. And given all the terrible, destructive, dangerous things that are happening in our society and the world, we need to harness the energy of our rage for positive purposes and meaningful change.

Civil discourse is a practice. It requires deep commitment (and deep breaths). But it works better than anything else to create the foundation for collaboration toward positive change-making that meets the needs of all stakeholders.”

Do You Know About LWV’s Studies?


League of Women Voters® of Oregon (LWVOR) is a grassroots, nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government in order to build better communities statewide. LWVOR’s purposes are to influence public policy through education and advocacy, and to provide support for League members and the League organization.

League of Women Voters® of Oregon also works to encourage active and informed participation in government and to increase understanding of major policy issues. The League seeks to empower citizens to understand governmental issues and to participate in the political process. We seek to provide balanced, accurate, nonpartisan information to all Oregonians.

The League never supports or opposes any candidate or political party.

We study issues

  • Because we need detailed, reliable, carefully researched information.
  • So LWV members and citizens can reach their own conclusions.
  • To develop advocacy positions that can be used by our Action Team.

To request a hard copy of any of these reports, contact LWV of Oregon at lwvor@lwvor.org. Reports are free; however, there is a small charge to cover shipping. Some quantities may be limited. Many college and community libraries have copies as well.

You can find additional League studies, including national and other state studies, at the LWVUS Study Clearinghouse website.

Recent Study Updates

  1. Election Methods Informational Update, Adopted on February 10, 2023
  2. Caring for Our Children, Adopted on January 23, 2023

Recent Positions

  1. Pesticides and Biocides Study of 2021, adopted on January 19, 2023

Latest News from the Study Chair

As the LWVOR recently appointed Study Chair, I’m sharing my plan to bring our attention to what causes our league heart …to beat. Our interest in issues leads to League Study which results in writing our positions on issues, ultimately leading to ACTION and ADVOCACY. In the past, the League has encouraged our members to write and present a Study because this is the only way to create issue positions and, thus, the only way we may take action with ONE VOICE!

League members pledged 103 years ago to participate in government and defend democracy and to do so ONLY with accurate, balanced, shared, and nonpartisan understanding. That understanding comes from Study that was created by and shared with league members, and with our community and public policy makers in our government.

How does Study begin? A local League(s) will identify an issue or topic that is or will be addressed by the government through the creation of public policy, action, or legislation. A study committee forms with a designated leader. A title is declared, a time frame committed to, and ultimately, presentation, and approval for Study by their Board.

Once a Study is completed, consensus from members is given, and positions are created, it is archived and reviewed annually, usually in January. These Studies and their positions are neatly stored and accessible on our websites as tools for us to use when taking Action or Advocacy. Local, State, and National Leagues have created Studies and positions.

Let’s pause here to recognize that our interests in a particular issue by League individuals or as a group could also result in a white paper or a discussion group or a public forum. We recognize the truth that our eyes, ears, hearts, and brains may hunger for information, yet not always with the ultimate goal being…STUDY. The League encourages interest in various topics and interests, recognizing that the end goal may not be a Study.

Study will be an important topic during our LWVOR Convention, May 19-21st. Read the studies and concurrence to be presented to our league delegates on the Convention tab on our website.

Annie Goldner

LWVOR Interim Study Chair



LWV Klamath County also does local studies!

LWV Healthcare Reform

Mission: The website and our network are dedicated to educating and mobilizing League members to work toward legislation and other reforms that enact the goals of our LWVUS health care position, with a strong focus on expanded and improved Medicare for All (a single-payer system). The materials are varied for different audiences, and they include pointers to resources for those who want to delve more deeply, and/or would like to do programming for local League or community meetings.

Read the latest newsletter!

For this month, we explore health care in Rural areas, especially what it might mean for hastening fundamental change in health care administration. That is, it is not a description of how health systems are working in a rural setting, but rather a brief round-up of examples where they aren’t working.  We want to bring attention to what might be a brief window of opportunity to change directions.  For now, the hopeful note in the slogan of  National Rural Health Day, “the Power of Rural,” still resonates, especially if the public sector has less competition from the commercial sector and its lobbyists.  However, the non-profit financial watchdog organization, Private Equity Stakeholders Project, (PESP) has sounded the alarm that Private Equity is already “descending” on rural health. Their mission is to do the research and also work with communities to bring about change. 

The newsletter also shares a couple of pieces from our “mailbag” which continue the theme of greed that seems to be all over the media. This month, it’s  big Pharma Greed and unpunished insurance fraud

January, 2023 newsletter

Election Integrity: One Big Key

False information presents an ongoing threat to elections administration. The National Association of Secretaries of State believes that accurate information, when delivered early and by a trusted messenger, can help prevent the spread of false information.

Did you know?

Oregon’s elections are secure. The voting equipment is never connected to the internet. There are no routers connected to the tabulation system and there never have been.​

Did you know?

Oregon performs post-election reviews after every election that includes a federal or state-wide contest. ​

How does Oregon ensure the results of elections?

The post-election reviews across the state after the November 3, 2020 general election showed conclusively that the results of the election were accurately reported and certified, as they have since Oregon started conducting these audits in 2008. Yo​u can review them here where they are publicly posted for each county​​. 

Oregon law requires random sampling hand counts or risk-limiting audits in all counties following Primary, General, and Special elections. All of Oregon’s 36 county elections officials conducted these reviews, which require hand recounts of ballots, for the 2020 General Elections. All reviews confirmed the certified results.

Forensic audits are not currently a part of conducting elections in Oregon. Although the term “forensic auditing” is widely used and has an accepted definition in fields such as finance and accounting, it does not yet have a uniform definition in regard to elections. In the financial world, forensic audits typically trace issues back to individual transactions or people – this cannot be done in an election, as voters have the right to and expectation of a secret ballot. 

Recent efforts in Arizona and Pennsylvania are not fact-finding missions. Rather, they are based on conspiracy theories and designed to keep dangerous lies about the 2020 election alive to justify future attacks on the freedom to vote. As the U.S. Department of Justice recently warned​, when election records are not under the control of trusted election officials, there are significant security risks.

​For further information on Oregon election laws and post-election procedures:

Is Voter Fraud a problem in Oregon?

No. Oregon elections are secure and protected against voter fraud in all but exceedingly rare instances. In 2020, out of millions of votes cast, residents and local elections officials reported 140 instances of potential voter fraud. Of these 140 cases, four cases were referred to the Oregon Department of Justice and two of those are pending resolution.​

By comparison, in 2018 there were a total of 84 total reports of voter fraud. Two were referred to the Department of Justice. 

A recent review of the vote by mail system by the state’s Legislative Fiscal Office found from 2000-2019 there were approximately 61 million ballots cast. Of those, 38 criminal convictions of voter fraud were obtained. This amounts to a .00006% rate. ​

What controls are in place to protect against cybercriminals?

We closely monitor our systems for suspicious activity and frequently test for vulnerabilities. Our staff are routinely trained on how to appropriately handle suspicious email and other threats to prevent unauthorized access or tampering. 

More specifically, we have programs, policies, and plans in place to address and mitigate security breaches. ​We work with partners such as: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) to ensure best practices are used to protect our elections and their supporting systems.​

We practice Defense in Depth​ with administrative, technical, and managerial security controls. Layers of security controls provide several ways of monitoring and responding to malicious access attempts to our systems. Any successful access to our system has been reviewed by multiple security checks and verifications.

We routinely perform threat analysis and risk assessments. Assessments are conducted by internal staff as well as contracted third parties. As a result, we continue to improve security processes and protections to maintain secure, private, and accurate election infrastructure.

​Preventative, Detection, and Response Measures

We use preventative, detection, and response measures including:​

Risk and vulnerability management
Network and endpoint security
Continuous monitoring of systems
Incident management and response planning
Routine security training​

from– https://sos.oregon.gov/elections/pages/security.aspx

New Oregon Postmark Law 

A new law known as the “postmark rule” will ensure that every ballot cast on time gets counted by allowing elections officials to count all ballots postmarked by Election Day, even if they arrive at the elections office up to 7 days later.

What this means:

  • Some ballots that were cast on time may arrive at elections offices after Election Day. So the total number of votes will go up in the days following the election as more votes come in. These are not late votes. Every ballot counted will have been cast on time, which elections officials can verify by a USPS postmark. 
  • This means that election results may take a little longer to compile than in previous years. Even if the results come in a little slower, they will be accurate.
  • The Oregon Legislature passed the new law in 2021.

LWV Klamath New Observers Corps

What is it?

Protecting our right to know is integral to the health of our democracy. Decisions that determine how our schools will be run, at what level community safety programs will be funded, and how land in our towns will be used impact our lives and are vital to our well-being. These kinds of decisions need to be made with public input and oversight. One important way to ensure that is to observe government meetings.

The League has been a champion of government transparency since our founding in 1920. It is one of our core principles and a vital part of our mission. Our efforts in this area reinforce our reputation of fairness, nonpartisanship
and trust. League members attend governmental meetings to learn what their government is doing and to monitor whether those meetings are conducted in an open and transparent way. Experience has shown the importance of the League being present to watch—and to take action when necessary.

—from the LWV document, Observing Your Government in Action

How does it Work?

Why does The League have an Observer Corps?

  • To watch government in action
  • To let public bodies/agencies know that citizens are interested
  • To keep the League up-to-date with government
  • To uphold the public’s right to be present at meetings of public bodies/agencies
  • To learn about local government from the source
  • To establish good public relations for the League
  • To alert the League to possibilities for action on positions
  • To become aware of emerging issues for program planning
  • To be informed, enlightened and fascinated  

What does the Observer do?

  • Regularly attends (or watches on Public Access) meetings of any selected public body (some common examples are: City Councils, County Supervisors, School Boards)- see below
  • Acquires a background about the function, powers, and operations of that agency
  • Figures out where to find relevant documents in addition to agendas and minutes such as plans, ordinances, maps, references, etc.
  • Become familiar with League program positions
  • Factually reports on those selected public body meetings using an Observer report form and attaching any supporting documents

What is required of the Observer at one of these meetings?

  • Introduce yourself as a League Observer to the clerk or secretary
  • Wear a League button clearly identifying you as an Observer
  • Express no opinion (your own or the League’s) on any matter keeping as silent as possible
  • Keep an impartial and respectful attitude at all times  

What happens after?

  • Observer submits report to the Board
  • If the report states that action is needed then it is reviewed and a draft is presented to the board for approval
  • Action is taken or it is not taken
  • Action can only be taken if we have a local or vertical (State and National) position  

What happens to reports that do not recommend action?

  • The observers can use the information to keep the League membership abreast of emerging, continuing, and current issues
  • The reports can be used to continue to establish good public relations for the League

Who is involved?

A small group of members recently met to discuss how we would form an observers corps similar to what other state and local leagues do. We agreed that we would try to cover the following public meetings:

Klamath County Schools:

www.kcsd.k12.or.us/district/school-board.cfm – Can attend virtually

Board meetings are held at 3rd Thursday at 5 pm – 7 or 8 pm, depending on agenda length, at 2845 Greensprings Dr., Klamath Falls, OR

Klamath City Schools:  

www.kfalls.k12.or.us/page/board-of-education   – Can attend virtually –

Board meetings are held at 6:00 PM the 2nd Monday of each month (unless otherwise indicated) in the Boardroom of the Lucile O’Neill Education Center located at 1336 Avalon Street, Klamath Falls, Oregon

Klamath County Commissioners:


Weekly Business Meeting held at 8:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Government Center 305 Main Street, Room 219, Klamath Falls, Oregon

Klamath Falls City Council:


Held on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month at 7pm, unless Monday is a legal Holiday, and then subsequently held on the following Tuesday at 7pm at City Hall Annex Building – Council Chambers, 500 Klamath Avenue, Klamath Falls, OR 97601

What Can You Do?

If you are available to go to even one of the meetings, that would be helpful.  Let us know.

This is the report form we’ve adopted for anyone observing a public meeting.

Health Reform and Social Justice: Opportunities for Reducing Inequity and Addressing Health Disparities

An Evening with Dr. Susan Rogers, President of Physicians for a National Health Program, October 6, 2021

LWV Klamath County was one of many leagues across the country which co-sponsored this ZOOM presentation.

For this event, the League hosted an evening with Dr. Susan Rogers, President of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP). Dr. Rogers’s presentation included an overview of the U.S. health care system through a social justice lens, followed by a discussion highlighting disparities resulting from our current policies and opportunities to improve inequities through health reform. The forum concluded with an audience Q&A.

Dr. Rogers is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rush University. She has recently retired from her hospitalist practice in Chicago at Stroger Hospital of Cook County. She has previously served as co-director of medical student teaching at Stroger and as Medical Director of Near North Health Service Corp, a Chicago FQHC. Most recently, Dr. Rogers spoke at the June California League of Women Voters Annual Convention, providing the presentation: “Health Care: Inequities and Opportunities”.

This forum aimed to educate voters about our current healthcare model and how it impacts local care access, affordability, quality and equity. Our guest speaker provideed insights into how health reform can improve each of these to optimize community health and wellness. The LWVDA supports the National League healthcare positions in support of an affordable, accessible, quality, and equitable health care system, critical for the health, safety and economic security of all communities. Becoming an informed voter is fundamental to ensuring the engagement needed to affect meaningful reform. The future of our community health and healthcare systems will rely upon votes cast by those with a better understanding of current needs and resources and our opportunities to enact needed change.

The Health Reform Forum recording is available here:
and on You tube:

why the league of women voters?

LWV Position: Health Care Reform

Every U.S. resident should have access to affordable, quality health care, including birth control and the privacy to make reproductive choices.  

Why it matters

The U.S. health care system should provide a basic level of quality health care at an affordable cost to all U.S. residents. Basic care includes disease prevention, primary care (including prenatal and reproductive health), acute long-term care, mental health care, as well as health promotion and education. Health care policy goals should include the equitable distribution of services and delivery of care, advancement of medical research and technology, and a reasonable total national expenditure level. 

What we’re doing

Over the past 20 years, we have lobbied for health care policy solutions, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to control costs and ensure a basic level of care for all. Throughout the health care debates of the past few decades, Leagues worked to provide millions of Americans across the country with objective information about the health care system and its significant reforms. This included organizing community education projects, holding public forums and debates, creating and distributing resource materials, and engaging leading policy makers and analysts. 

From the LWV Davis, California study: Some Ways to Evaluate Health and Social Care Needs in Your Community

Health, Behavioral Health, Social Services and Care Information Matrix

What should health care, social services, and behavioral health look like in your community? In your region? Those are important questions for the League to address. If we had universal health and social care in your region, what would need to be improved? What changes would your League recommend?

To cut down the confusion of the complexity of health and social services, there seems to be a natural division: Children have the same developmental issues; Adults have the same issues, generally. Each has Acute Care, Institutional, Behavioral Health and Social Care needs; and the system data needs to be managed:

Children: Acute Care, Institutional, Behavioral Health, Social Care, Data/Information

Institutional: clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms, rehabilitation and physical therapy, board and care homes, prisons and jails, in home support services

Behavioral Health (kids, adults, institutions, social services, data/info)
Social Services: housing, employment, transportation, child care, access to health and social services

Data/Information: patient-focused clinic computer program with daily accountability to federal and state standards that are updated annually; document patient care; employee activity; finances; quality control; planning, audit, program evaluation: the daily data/information management structure of a single payer system.

For further information READ this Workbook for Social and Health Care: Questions, Studies, Educational Forums and Organizing


Over the past two years, the LWV of Portland OR in cooperation with the state LWV has been working on a new study. This means that once local leagues reach consensus to support this study, it becomes an official platform that the League can use to advocate for various policy positions and actions. This is how the League works: we study an issue, reach consensus and then use that information to support or oppose various public policies and actions. We remain non-partisan; this is an issue, not a party or candidate. LWV Klamath County plans to support this study.

Summary of new study:

The use of pesticides is a balancing act between advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the impacts, both beneficial and adverse, requires a broad overview of prevailing policy and the effects that policy has had. This study reviews the environmental and health costs and benefits of pesticide use, the current state of regulation at the federal, state, and local level, and the practices and precautions presently in place for their use. It reviews potential improvements to regulations and changes to practices that could improve outcomes and protect the environment and human health while maintaining a stable, safe, and reliable supply of foods and other farmed products.

Five key areas of pesticide development, use, and policy were identified for review and potential improvements:

  1. Education, training, and labeling  
  2. Transparency and information gathering 
  3. Funding, research, and evaluation  
  4. Adaptive management and Integrated Pest Management  
  5. Burden of proof and the precautionary principle.

Impacts of and Issues Surrounding Pesticide Use

Because pesticides are essentially chemical poisons or biological agents that make compounds toxic to certain species, their use must be considered in the light of their overall effects…. While pesticides are brought to market after extensive research and testing, we constantly learn new information about environmental ecosystems and human and animal physiology that may cause us to reexamine how, when or if they should be used. As human populations have increased, the need to develop a safe and stable supply of food and non-food crops has also grown. Control of disease carrying insects and animal carriers is increasingly necessary, especially as the global climate changes. These benefits must be balanced with the potential harm their use may cause.

Read the entire study HERE.

You may also view a panel discussion held on this topic HERE.

Further Reading:




Jordan Cove Project: Further News

August 19, 2021:

Jordan Cove LNG Forfeits Permits Required for Export Terminal & Pipeline 
Community members celebrate as Pembina misses the deadline to reapply for three permits, adding to the long list of setbacks for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline.  

Note the critical role Jackson County’s own attorney Tonia Moro played in these wins. And we are once again so grateful to the LWVOR for helping to support her work on these land use permits! And thanks, too, to Tonia’s partners in arms at the Crag Law Center–Courtney Johnson and Anu Sawkar–and to Citizens for Renewables and Oregon Shores for heading up and supporting this fight in the community. There are plenty of other kudos to go around, but we want to be sure to acknowledge the hard, often overlooked work of Dr. Christine Moffitt of the Coos County LWV and other scientists who provided factual proof of the horrendous harm to marine flora and fauna these permits ignored when they were granted.

September 8, 2021, from Inside Climate News:

To Meet Paris Accord Goal, Most of the World’s Fossil Fuel Reserves Must Stay in the Ground

A new study in Nature reports that oil, gas and coal production must begin falling immediately to have even a 50 percent chance of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

September 12, 2021, from State of Oregon, Department of Environmental Quality Report:

Jordan Cove Energy Project (Coos Bay) The Jordan Cove Energy Project had indicated in recent court filings that they have put their project on pause, due to recent FERC decisions. Jordan Cove has not formally notified DEQ of any intent to withdraw currently pending applications, but has verbally indicated intent to withdraw Air Quality permit applications for the North Spit facility and Malin Compressor Station. Water Quality and Solid Waste permits are scheduled to be renewed whether the energy project goes forward or not, as both the NPDES permit and Solid Waste permit are associated with the site of the former Weyco facility. FERC clarified in a recent letter, excerpted below, that they consider the project to remain active, though paused. “Due to the uncertainty regarding a timeline for the Project and concerns with the Programmatic Agreement, commenters and signatories to the PA have requested that the PA be terminated or significant amendments be made to the PA. Although the project Item K 000011 Informational item: Director’s report Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2021, EQC meeting Page 12 of 12 proponents have chosen to pause the development of the Project, the Commission’s March 19, 2020 Order granting Authorizations Under Sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act (Order) remains valid. Therefore, we have concluded that it would be inappropriate to terminate the PA at this time. We have also concluded that amendments to the PA at this time are premature, given the pause in project development. Should the project proponents choose to resume development of the Project, Commission environmental staff, in consultation with the SHPO and ACHP, and other concerned parties including federally-recognized Indian Tribes would reassess the status of the Programmatic Agreement and would at that time consider amendments to the PA to ensure that its aims and goals are successfully met and that any outstanding requirements are appropriately satisfied.”   

Interview with Klamath County School Superintendent Szymoniak

dated: September 13, 2021

ZOOM MEETING WITH GLEN SZYMONIAK, KLAMATH COUNTY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT to answer questions from LWV and create relationship by which LWV can be of service to Klamath County Schools.

LWV Klamath and community members in attendance: Diane Eastman-Shockey, Leslie Lowe, Faith Leith, Sue Kreizenbeck, Mike Fitzgerald


Introductory information about LWV Klamath

Who we are: Diane talked about LWV  national and local history of educating folks; Leslie talked about educational forums, including candidates nights; Diane spoke briefly about the Harvard Project in Klamath County schools.

Questions sent to Superintendent Szymoniak prior to meeting:

a)What “voice” does LWV Klamath have to share with our community regarding Klamath County Schools?

 Example: How can we help educate voters regarding school board elections, what school boards do, and how important it is to have representation from our community on the Board?

Example: What are your feelings about having LWV come into schools to help educate student voters? 

b) How does Superintendent Szymoniak propose to decrease the hostility and increase the coordination between City and County schools, especially regarding curriculum differences and communication issues?

c) Help us better understand the implementation of vaccine/mask mandates in the schools, given all the divisiveness in this county.

Specific comments Superintendent Szymoniak made in answer to the above questions:

1) Facebook has so much Mis-information and has already caused much chaos for the school district at Board meetings in particular.  LWV could possibly help with School Board elections and public awareness of the damage some few individuals are doing, especially around Covid issues and manner of expression of personal views.

2) LWV needs to have a connections with teachers in the District to be more useful.

3) A course on “Civil discourse” is NOT taught in the schools and they could use one taught by LWV Klamath?

4) Superintendent Szymoniak has been in Klamath 3 full school years.  He was trained in mediation.  He really works to solve problems with ALL the players. He pulled together a consortium of City and County School Boards, city council and county commissioners, etc to be proactive about the Covid protocols for reopening the schools.  He initiated a letter to Governor Brown asking for local Health Board control instead of the State.  This is indicative of his style of operation. He hopes to continue to work with City schools on other issues as well.

5) Discussion regarding “critical race training” in the schools.  He was adamant that this is NOT part of the curriculum, but he does not know if a specific teacher is doing something with this in a classroom.  He will deal with it when and IF he hears about it.

6) Superintendent Szymoniak has not looked at curriculum differences between city and county schools.

7) Superintendent Szymoniak is interested in helping re-establish the Harvard Project that was not completed because of the 2020 Covid 19 shutdown.