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Thursday, July 15, 2010

School Board Questions

An editor for the Times Union told me they plan to interview the candidates for the school board next week and asked if I had any questions I would like to see them answer. This is what I came up with and then for fun I answered them.

Do you think principals evaluations should be tied to how many suspensions they give out? Definitely not. It takes a tool out of their toolbox and hurts discipline in general.

Do you think severely disabled students should be taught access points or learn life and employability skills? No access points are watered down academics that they will never get or use. We should be teaching them things that would be beneficial to them.

What do you think about reintroducing the teaching of skills, trades and the arts on a district wide level? I think this should be a priority.

What do you think about school board employees making in excess of a hundred thousand dollars? No school board employee should make more than a hundred thousand dollars. The argument that we have to pay to attract top talent for me doesn’t hold water especially since so many teachers are paycheck to paycheck.

Do you think students who can’t read at grade level or read several grades below grade level should be promoted? After school and summer school should not be optional for these students. If a student is more than a grade level or two behind it is going to greatly diminish the chances of them being legitimately successful.

The district currently has a one size fits all curriculum, a kid that has an I.Q. of 130 who loves school and wants to be an engineer has to take and pass algebra II just like a kid with a ninety I.Q. that doesn’t care for school and who wants to drive trucks. Do you think this one size fits all curriculum benefits all students. No it hurts many of them and leads to many of the problems we are having. We need to develop alternate curriculums.

How would you have teachers evaluated? I would have them evaluated by teams of peers from other schools, they will no what should be happening and have little concern for office politics.

Would you support making grade recovery just for students who had legitimate reasons for missing class or for students who came, participated and tried but still failed, instead of the anybody can take it for any reason system we have now? Only kids that legitimately missed class or tried should be allowed to use grade recovery.

Diploma option 2 conveys none of the same benefits as a regular diploma, kids who graduate with one cannot go to college or join the military do you think having them take GED classes instead would be more or less beneficial? GED classes should be worked into their curriculums.

How do you think enforcement of the code of conduct should be handled? It should be vigorously enforced. Kids need consequences for inappropriate behavior.

Many teachers work dozens of hours of unpaid over time a week to complete all the tasks assigned to them. What do you think about paying them overtime or prioritizing the tasks they need to complete so they don’t have to work so much unpaid over-time? Either works for me but regardless teachers should not be working dozens of hours of unpaid overtime.

Do you think being in a classroom makes one more or less prepared to be a member of the school board? More prepared by far.

Would you be willing to substitute one day a week in the schools you represent? Yes

In order, whom do you think you will represent the most too least: the administration, parents, stakeholders, students, and teachers? Students and teachers would be 1 and 1A, then parents and stakeholders with union and administration concerns coming in last.

Do you think students who are classified a level one, two or three should be allowed to take advanced placement classes as they are now? No, they are not prepared.

Superintendent Pratt-Dannals said, we are a good community away from having a good school system. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why? I vigorously disagree where I think the both play a role on each other, schools have a bare minimum they should be doing, such as instilling discipline and ending social promotions and until we are doing that we are exacerbating societies problems.

What’s your big idea to turn things around? Getting back to the basics. Discipline, multiple curriculums and ending social promotions.

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