Mythbusters With Christine Bernstein

Christine Bernstein Kiwanis

Christine Bernstein/Photo by Maire O’Neill

Candidate For LAPS School Board
District 3 – Aspen Elementary School

Myth:  Christine supports Charter Schools

Truth:  I support public schools. I supported the proposed Polaris charter because I support education for all. I returned to Los Alamos long after the school was initially proposed and was not aware of the history of the proposal. The extent of my involvement was my attendance at one meeting and one community presentation, motivated solely by my curiosity about the proposed school. My name was on the application as a governing-board member because, if I was not able to be on the LAPS school board, I wanted to be able to have a say in education in Los Alamos. But my loyalty lies with public schools. I am a public school educator and I want the best for all kids in this community and beyond.  I support public schools 100%. My support of the proposed charter school came from my desire to fill a gap I see in education in this community. I want LAPS to be able to fill that gap for kids. We have the best public schools in the country for a reason and I want our schools to be the best for every student, not just those at the top.  

Myth: Christine doesn’t like chocolate

Truth:  In fact, I eat dark chocolate each day to promote peace in my home.

Myth:  Christine got fired from LAHS

Truth: I have never been fired from any teaching position in my 24 years of teaching.  I worked as a Spanish teacher in Los alamos for nine years. I moved to South Dakota with my family and worked for two years in a high school there. I then moved to Kentucky where I worked as a substitute teacher. While I was living in Kentucky, my kids came home from school one day and asked me why they did not have science classes in their schools. At that moment I decided it was time to return to Los Alamos.  I currently teach High School Spanish in Pojoaque and plan on staying there for a while.

Myth:  Christine is opposed to IEPs (Individual Education Plans)

Truth:  IEPs are necessary for many of our students and they help promote equity.  I have had two children on IEPs and I am especially grateful to one of their teachers, Margo Batha, who helped me figure out what was needed for my children. As a teacher, I have deliberated and reflected on IEPs for years.  I think the IEP structure further reflects the need in this community for a fundamental change in education. When I have half a class on IEPs, I have to question what we are doing in education. Maybe it isn’t that the kids we teach can’t fit in the box we teach in-maybe the box should change. When I started changing HOW I teach, my students with IEPs flourished.  I am not against IEPs and extra support for kids with needs, I know there are kids who need the support and I am committed to supporting them.  

Myth:  Christine doesn’t like mushrooms

Truth:  That is correct. I do not like mushrooms. I will tolerate them in small doses if they hide themselves well.

Myth: I was recruited to run for School Board by a current School Board member. 

Truth:  I have wanted to serve on a school board for about 15 years.  This has never been a possibility because I have mostly worked for a public school in the school district where I live and state law dictates that a teacher cannot be on the Board in the district where he or she teaches.  Now that I teach in Pojoaque, I can serve on the Board that I have wanted to be a part of for years: LAPS. No one has ever had to convince me. I learned recently that a woman needs to be asked approximately 7 times to run for an office before she decides to do so; no one had to ask me once.  I am enjoying this process and the ride I am on. I am having a blast walking around town and talking to people. I have had so many invigorating conversations with members of our community. I am learning about the fears, ideas, opinions, thoughts, and feelings people in our town have about education.  I have been invited into homes to have conversations about our schools and our students. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to meet more people and have meaningful discussions. It’s actually a lot of fun!

Myth: Christine is against unions

Truth:  I am incredibly pro-union. I am a union member.  I spent last Spring Break at the Roundhouse volunteering my time with NEA (National Teachers Association) lobbying for education. I am with NEA because they represent Pojoaque. I am in full support of unions for our teachers.  

My final point is this: if you have any questions for me, just ask! I am an open book and I am incredibly grateful for this forum to address misconceptions about me, but I am here and would love to chat with each of you about what I think about education in Los Alamos!