Mr. Donovan Mark Hawkins – Nelson Co. Schools (D4), KY

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Mr. Donovan Mark Hawkins is running for a school board position in District 4 with Nelson County Schools, KY.

Donovan can be reached through email at:
Donovan’s campaign website is located at:
(For more detail on the exact questions asked, see the Survey Guide)



MOTIVATION:  I am running for school board because I am tired of seeing teachers, parents, and community members being shut down from voicing their concerns, when all we are trying to do is help. I am tired of seeing teachers fired because of something they said on social media or anywhere outside of the classroom when other teachers are allowed to propagandize their classrooms. I am tired of teachers being allowed to propagandize their classrooms. Generally speaking, I am tired of cancel culture and all that leads up to it, but I need to avoid taking the voters down a rabbit hole when trying to explain this vast phenomenon.
The way I describe cancel culture it that we are all in the same ship – all of us; our thoughts, ideas, and everything that makes up who we are, and we all in this same ship together whether we like it or not. Whenever some of the people within this ship try to shoot down people’s ideas, they end up shooting holes in the walls of the ship and the water comes pouring in. This rushing water represents the gushing consequences of trying to silence someone. If we don’t stop shooting people down, we are going to drown in our own ship. Running for school board is my effort to do my part and plug some of these holes. So, needless to say, that’s not going to do any good. I am just one person and there are a lot more holes than what my fingers can plug. But if I do win the election, I will try to convince my fellow shipmates to plug some holes. If we don’t get these holes plugged, we are all going to perish as a nation. But if we can somehow miraculously stop shooting holes in our ship and band together and plug the holes of our past, then maybe we can teach our kids to start patching some of these holes, and then we will be able to free our limbs and help rebuild our ship into a better vessel for us sail the tides of life in.
ROLE OF EDUCATION:  My answer to this question aligns with the work of sociologist Émile Durkheim, the man responsible for making sociology a subject to be taught in schools. Society is a wheel with six spokes. The spokes are the six institutions that support society so it can function. These institutions are 1) Education, 2) The Family, 3) The media, 4) religion/spirituality, 5) The government, and 6) The Economy/Industry. These spokes have their own role in society and each institution functions in its own way. If they do not function well, they crack and eventually break, putting pressure on the other spokes to perform the operations the broken spokes were supposed to perform. In our society, all six spokes are broken, and the wheel is collapsing.  As a result, our society is in a heightened state of anomie and our only option is to build another wheel. With this new wheel, education’s role should be all about teaching and learning and nothing else. To take on anything else would apply too much pressure on the spoke of education. The bottom line is the institution of education has its role and if all the institutions are balanced in their roles, then we will have a smooth-running wheel we call society.
The second part of the question must be answered while focusing only on the institutions of family and education. It is clear to see the families that function sufficiently tend to have better educated members than families who do not function sufficiently. The families who do not function sufficiently tend to have more school officials intervene in the lives of their children. We can argue that the family unit in the United States is generally broken, which seems to be yielding more power over the lives of children to educational institutions. With this power, institutions are prone to indoctrinating children with certain views that are not generally accepted, and frankly, society is collapsing as a result.
CURRENT DISTRICT ASSESSMENT:  If “state” is a noun in this context, then the state of my school district is Kentucky and my assessment of it is that its education system is a bureaucracy that primarily responds to the mouth pieces in densely populated areas like Louisville – for political reasons. It does not respond the values of the rest of the state, which are vastly different.If “state” is an adjective in this context, then my answer is similar. Albert Einstein said, “bureaucracy is the death of all sound work.” My assessment of the current state of our school system is that it is a bureaucracy, so there will not be any sound work coming from it. One thing I know the system is doing wrong, for example, is not listening the ideas of the people. And really, they can’t. The best they can do is pretend that the people have a voice by giving them three minutes to speak their minds at a school board meeting. The human mind is much broader than three minutes. I tend to focus on improving on that, like if I can propose we give parents more time to speak at board meetings or have more open dialogue instead of meetings.
One thing I know the district is doing right is focusing on online learning. This can be improved on by not requiring students to visit a brick-and-mortar facility if they do not want to. Like, if a family needs to focus on its unit before sending their child out into the world ill-equipped or unprepared to do so. Some people simply want to chill in their own domain, and that should be allowed to. Nowadays people can learn just about anything they want or need online.
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE:  I would encourage and promote as much online learning as possible. There are programs out there that are fantastic. They have their own metrics tracking mechanisms. I have seen great success with these programs from most students. My area of focus would be to assure the classrooms are places where students can concentrate. There is simply too much noise going on in the classrooms of today, and I am not talking about mere chit-chat that comes with being a child. I am talking about static and the untamed stream of consciousnesses within the minds of today’s children.
I once had a ninth-grade student who moved to the states from a third world country. One day we were in the computer lab working on a program for math learning. She was clicking through each problem at an exceptionally rapid pace, with a notebook beside her that she was taking a lot of notes with. The rest of the students, for the most part, were sluggish and tried to complain their way out of doing their work. I asked the foreign student how she was able to move through the material so quickly and I asked her some things about her school in this third world county in Central America. She said, “our schools don’t have all of this noise. Everywhere I go there’s just noise, noise, noise.” I had a feeling she was talking about more than amplified sound. It is no wonder our companies want to hire people from these countries. They are a lot smarter than us because they are disciplined. Not abused, disciplined. We just need to stop fostering disruptive environments. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made to remove these disruptions.
TAXING & SPENDING:  My policy is on fiscal responsibility is to not spend more than what is taken in and use any surplus to reduce debt. I think it should be left up to the public to approve any tax increases. This can be accomplished through special elections. I think superintendents are grossly overpaid not just with cash but with all the amenities they get for being a superintendent. I also think there are a lot of positions in public education that need not exist. In other words, there is a lot of fat that can be trimmed. Admittedly, it would take a very courageous school board to trim this fat, and I am certainly not going to proclaim that I could take on such endeavors in solitude. The best I can do is to remain antagonistic to the tax and spend types, and I don’t have a problem with that.
CHARTER SCHOOLS:  I favor schools that foster the Montessori method, which is a self-directed style of learning. JCPS, our neighboring district and the largest in Kentucky, has seems to have made Montessori schools oxymoronically public, which would make them no longer self-directed, but government directed. This is ludicrous and I do not want to see this happening to any charter schools that exist or may exist in Nelson County; so, school boards need to be careful getting involved in this. But, yes, since public compulsory schooling is not for everyone, school boards should encourage alternative schooling options. Since school in general is not for everyone, then school boards should actively promote and encourage home schooling. They should absolutely not discourage any method of schooling, lest they make it look like they are only interested in the funds appropriated to each child to keep for themselves.
SEL & DEI:  I am not entirely familiar with these theories and frankly do not want to be, and I am a Doctor of Education. These wordy ideas only further complicate things. I believe in keeping things simple, like following the golden rule on a case-by-case basis, for example. All these theories do is create controversies that further divide us as a nation and people are getting sick of them. I talk to parents all the time about when they go to ARC meetings and parent-teacher conferences all they hear is a bunch of initials, acronyms, and technical language – like talking to a marine who just got out of basic training. All these initials, acronyms, and theories are nothing but mumbo-jumbo to them. From my experience in education, they just give fake educators the opportunity to be condescending towards parents. Perhaps this makes themselves feel more needed (note: I realize teachers have to play the game. It’s the game that needs changed, not the teachers).
RESOURCE ALLOCATION:  Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter said, “it is a wise man who said there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals.” I believe the wise man he was referring to was Aristotle, who said, “the worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” I believe in these words, and I believe any action contrary to them exemplifies fakeness and disingenuity, which ultimately leads to grade inflation and false praise.
STUDENT DISCIPLINE:  I believe in drawing lines or giving students a set number of chances. So, if the student crosses the line, the student is sent to an alternative learning environment, where they will be given another set number of chances. If the student crosses the line again, then it is obviously a family problem for the family to deal with, so allocate enough funds for the child to be educated at home with his or her family. If a crime is ever committed, then the police should get involved, and then the family will have no choice but to get involved. During my last year of teaching in a public school (JCPS), we had a principal come in the middle of the school year, assembled the children, and told them, “If you get into a fight, you will be suspended. If you cuss at a teacher, you will be suspended.” It took less than a week for this principal to not adhere to these words. Actions speak louder than words. We need to act upon these words.
COVID:  I do not anticipate supporting any policy that makes people cover half their face. The factor that guides me in not supporting policies that treat people like animals is my love for freedom.
ANY ILLICIT PERSONAL CONDUCT:  No, I have not been convicted of a felony. No, I have not been penalized in any court for sexual misconduct. I resigned “from” various teaching jobs because I sought better opportunities.  I am not under investigation by any profession society, but I am sure I will be informally if elected, given the current prevailing cancel culture and because I am open about being a Trump supporter.
OTHER THINGS VOTERS SHOULD KNOW:  I have nineteen years of experience as an educator. The sheepskins I have in the order I received them are GED, Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts in Teaching, and a Doctorate in Education. The areas I studied as an undergraduate are mathematics and sociology. As a graduate, I studied math education, educational leadership, and educational technology.
I think the voters should know that I have a spiritual side to me. I believe in God and pray quite frequently. As of now, I do not attend church services and wish to keep the reasons why to myself.
I believe the voters should know that I am a noisemaker who is disgusted with the poor job our government is doing. I am also disgusted with the way many members of the news media are trying to destroy our country just so they can get people to click on their articles in order to generate ad revenue. Although I believe we are divided as a nation, I do not believe it is irreparable, because most of the people I encounter on a daily basis are kind and compassionate (but the media will not pay any mind to this).
Politically I am neither a democrat nor republican but have been both. I register myself as an independent and lean towards libertarian views. I loathe the two- party system. Because of my perhaps nationalistic beliefs on things and my support for former President Trump, there are many people who do not like me personally, but I don’t have time to care about that. I am not afraid of speaking my mind about things and I do not care if I offend anyone. I do not mean any more harm to come upon our society. I treat people with respect and respond in kind when I am disrespected.
I do care a whole awful lot about our country, and I have a heart for people. I tried to enlist in the Army right after 911, ready to sacrifice an upcoming career as an educator, but the military doctors ruled that I was too deaf to enlist. I was utterly devastated but eventually took the advice of my recruiter, who said that I didn’t have to be in the military to serve my country.
I have a lovely wife of 31 years. Her name is Tammy, and she is a Special Education Consultant for a Kentucky public school system. She is very good at her job. She especially knows how to get inside the mind of an autistic child. She has an amazing rise-from-the-ashes type story that I wish she would speak more openly about. She had a child when she was 14, 16, and ours together when she was 18 (I was 17). So, one can imagine what we’ve had to go through to get our education, which is why we believe strongly in education and is why I have developed a no-nonsense philosophy of teaching and learning.
The voters should also know that we are the custodial parents of an infant girl who I believe is a gift from God. She is turning me into a very happy person and is helping me heal from, or at least be at ease with, a serious medical condition that comes with being partially deaf. The voters should know about this only to the extent that it contributes to and perhaps explains my odd demeanor; that which is mostly apparent whenever I am around groups of people.  I am embarrassed by it, but it is a part of who I am and who the voters will be hiring if I am elected. Even at 49 years of age, I still struggle with life at times.
I do think we need for me to win this election, but I will be able to move on if I do not. Actually, I am not doing any cartwheels over the difficult work that lies ahead if I do win, but I am up for it, because we need sweeping change in our education system, and I believe that it can happen if we get tough, and I am as tough as a five-dollar steak.
If the voters do not choose me, I pray they will choose someone who is tired of the dreadful state the institutions of our society are in, including and especially the institution of education. Thank you for reading all of this.

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