Anyone who has been following not only what’s happening within the Seattle Public School district but really any district now in the country understands the importance of a strong school board. With millions of dollars being spent by billionaire financiers who want nothing more than to privatize our public school system, we need school board members who can remember their priorities when millions of dollars and promises of brighter political futures become the carrot for voting an absolute “Yes!” for all things ed reform whether they work or not for that specific district.

Parents Across America, Seattle has developed a list of questions that will be asked of each candidate. Those answers will be published on this blog. I will also be listing candidate forums and gatherings as they become available. And, needless to say, I will be throwing in my two cents worth of observations as I meet with the candidates personally.

To follow are the list of questions that will be asked. If you have additional questions that you would like to get answered, please note that in the comment section of this post.

Questions for all school board candidates, including the incumbents:

1. Do you support charter schools and why?

2. What is your opinion of wealthy individuals and foundations backed by those individuals offering money to a school district and thus altering the focus of that school district? For example, the Gates funded Seattle Foundation provided money to pay for the expense to have TFA, Inc. in our district for the first year even though the majority of teachers and parents did not want to have TFA, Inc. in Seattle.  Where would you draw the line between an individual determining the fate of our school system and a more democratic process?

2. Name three things the district is doing right.

3. Name three things the district is doing wrong.

4. What will you do to fix those three things? Please list in priority.

5. Define “achievement gap.”

6. Are you a teacher or do you have children in the Seattle Public School system? If not, in what way do you feel that you are a stakeholder?

7. The Seattle Education Association voted “no confidence” in MAP testing. Tell us what you know about the MAP test and whether you believe it should continue to be administered. If so, do you think it should have a place in teacher evaluations?

8. Why do Seattle school children have to take 4 standardized tests
during the school year when the State of Washington only requires 1?

9. The Seattle Public School district claims that data drives the major decisions concerning the direction the district is taking. If that is the case, how do you respond to the National Academy of Sciences’ report on the effect of standardized testing?

10. Do you believe Seattle should use Teach for America, Inc. recruits?

11. What role do you think that alternative schools play within the Seattle Public School system?

12. Would you support the creation of more alternative schools in the district?

13. Would you support the alternative schools that already exist within the Seattle Public School system?

14. What is the most crucial thing the school board needs to do to regain the public’s trust?

15. Does class size make a difference?

16. What is an ideal class size and why?

17. What do you think about making cuts to central administration
instead of to the classroom?

18. What should we look for in a new superintendent?

19. What is an appropriate salary for a superintendent?

20. Does it make sense to hire administrators from outside the District
when we have qualified administrative candidates who are already SPS
employees and are familiar with district operations?

21. Why do we outsource curriculum development when our teachers are
trained to develop curriculum?

Well, let’s see what the candidates have to say.

Dora