School Board Quiz by Ned Vare
The following is a list of questions for local school board members and candidates for those boards. Feel free to use them in your town as I have in mine this past election season.
1. According to Connecticut statutes, is the school system responsible for a child’s education or are the parents? Hint: the school system is not. (CGS 10-184)
2. Considering all the federal and state mandates, teacher union rules and initiatives and all the cooperative arrangements between the schools and businesses, do you believe our town’s school board controls what is taught in its schools? Please explain.
3. What, in your view, is the purpose of the school board, and why are you a member or candidate for it? What, specifically, do you hope to accomplish if elected? and who, in your view, does the school board work for. Hint: by statute, “local school boards are not agents of the towns but creatures of the state.”
4. Public schools now emphasize social, political and psychological conditioning over academic instruction. What is your view on that, and what do you believe is, or should be, the purpose of public schooling?
5. If you could choose only one, would you like to see more parent participation, or higher taxes for the schools? 6. While spending has doubled over the past twelve years, test scores have dropped. Do you believe spending even more will produce better education, or would you change parts of the program? Please explain.
7. Would you support the concept of a charter school in our town? Explain.
8. Would you favor allowing parents choice in how their money is spent for their own children’s education? Explain.
9. Public school curricula have been called a mile wide but only an inch deep. Please tell what you would consider ideal curricula for elementary, middle and high school.
10 Mastery test results show that only 40 percent of Guilford’s students are achieving at grade level while the CAPT results show an even lower percentage. Do you consider that excellent; adequate; inadequate; or poor?
11. There are reports that up to half of a typical school day is spent on psychological conditioning and political correctness, as parts of the “life adjustment” curriculum. Do you approve of the life adjustment curriculum?
12. Considering its huge cost, its poor record and potential and reported damage to children, do you favor the continued growth of Special Education?
13. About drugging students...Do you believe the schools should continue to recommend and administer mind-altering psychoactive drugs (such as Ritalin) to students in order to “control” their behavior? Please explain.
14. Do you favor giving intrusive questionnaires to students about their personal and family lives? Explain.
15. Do you favor asking students to report on each other’s attitudes and personal habits and beliefs? Why or why not?
16. Most people know that Phonics is the proven method for teaching reading, while Whole Language teaches children to guess at words and creates confusion. The schools choose Whole Language and get poor results. Which would you favor? Which would you choose for your own children?
17. Do you approve of Connecticut’s “School to Work” program? Explain.
18. In addition to busing, should taxpayers provide parking lots for students, that also must include maintenance and security?
19. Would you favor testing Guilford’s teachers for intelligence and general knowledge and competence? Please tell us why or why not.
20. Social promotion is the practice of advancing students to the next grade even though they are not prepared or qualified. Our superintendent of schools admitted that the schools have been doing social promotion for many years. Do you approve of the policies of social promotion and grade inflation? Explain.
21.Are you familiar with the accreditation process? Are you aware that it not required, or that it is done by a private company that has no connection with, or direction from, the state school system? Did you know that the company’s employees are all current and former employees of the schools? Do you understand that arrangement as a conflict of interest? Would you trust an evaluation of a company that’s done for extra pay by its own employees? Do you favor the current accreditation “review” for our high school? Please explain.
22. The Adams middle school honor roll includes seventy-five percent of the students, even though only half of the children are even at grade level. Do you see anything wrong with that picture, and what in your opinion is the purpose of the honor roll?
23. Which, in your view, is more important, academic competence or self-esteem?
24. Do you favor the establishment of school-based health clinics which may perform examinations. provide immunizations and medications, and dispense birth control devices and abortion referrals, all without parental consent?
25. Do you favor the collection of data on student health, performance, attitudes, behavior and family life, as well as academics, in federal computer databases?
26 The CT Legislature voted (1998) to deny parents the right to excuse their children from health/sex instruction classes. Should parents have the right to exempt their children from classes they don’t approve? Should schools allow parents to inspect instruction material and methods? Please explain your view.
27. Do you believe parents should be more, or less, involved in making school policies? If elected, how would you provide for your choice?
28. What is your opinion of binding arbitration regarding teachers’ salaries?
29. What are you views on American sovereignty, limited constitutional government and private enterprise? Would you support teaching about them in school? Why, or why not?
30. Some say, if the student didn’t learn, the teacher didn’t teach, but public schools always blame student failure on the student. Do you believe that teachers should be held accountable for students’ performance? Please explain.
31. About half of the school employees are non-teaching positions, while private schools make do with about ten percent non-teachers. How do you explain, or justify, that difference?
32. What changes, if any, would you make in the local public schools? Why?
33. Do you believe the government is an appropriate agency for educating children? Please explain.
34. Do you believe parents have the right to have their children schooled at their neighbors’ expense? Please explain.
35. High school has been called obsolete and unnecessary, and many say that people over age thirteen or so need real life experiences instead of more school. What is your view. Would you support the idea of letting high school be voluntary instead of compulsory?
36. Do you believe public schools should teach morality? Please explain.
37. Should schools attempt to control students’ behavior even off school property and non-school hours and days? Please explain.
38. Should students expect due process when they are accused of breaking school rules? Should students have the same civil rights as other citizens?
39. The DARE program has been shown to be counter productive (Kids who take it are more likely to be drug users that those who don’t). Would you continue it or end it? Why?
40. Considering the many books out now that reveal the many ways public schools are dumbing down our kids, what steps would you take to improve education for all?
41. Would you like to make it easier or harder for people to send their kids to private schools? How?
42. Are you aware that public schools teach children not to trust their families, and to keep their parents from knowing about some of the school activities? Are those things you favor, or not? Explain please.
43. Can you think of anything (any specific fact or bit of knowledge) that the schools teach that can’t be learned in other places and by other means? Please give the example.
44. Do you believe parents and other taxpayers would willingly pay the high cost of the public schools if they weren’t forced to pay?
45. About tenure...do you approve of the practice of rewarding teachers simply for longevity, whether or not their students learn; or should merit be rewarded instead?46. Do you believe our local school board needs to be a member of CABE (CT Assoc. of Boards of Education)? Why or why not?
47. Now that 20/20 has exposed the widespread fraud in the writing, publishing, purchasing, distribution of textbooks, along with the innumerable errors of fact that they may contain, do you believe our town’s textbooks should be examined for their accuracy and integrity? If so, who would you recommend for the job, school employees or others?
48. What is your feeling about the elimination of recess in the schools?
49. Do you believe the school day should be shortened, or lengthened? Why? Should the school year be shortened or lengthened? Why?
50. Schools often use the arguments, if we do a good job, we deserve more money; but if we do a bad job, we need more money. What is your view?
51. Some say that government involvement in education is what’s causing the widespread failure of the public school system. Do you believe there is enough expertise and talent in our town to run our town’s schools without mandates or directions from the state or federal governments? Please explain your answer.
52. Private schools prefer to hire non-certified teachers. Would you favor a policy that allows, and even
encourages, the hiring of non-certified teachers in our public schools?
53. Do you favor instruction about sex, death, suicide, drugs and alternative lifestyles in schools? Do you believe the school staff members are educated and trained to teach about them?
The following subjects are points of concern for many parents. What are your views on them?
Grade Inflation -- high marks for mediocre work or learning
Social Promotion -- advancing students to the next grade because of age only
Standardized Tests -- manipulation of results and their meaningCommunity
Service requirement -- “forced volunteering” in order to graduate
Teacher certification -- the incredibly low requirements to be a teacher
Death education – Grief counseling, Suicide education
Sex Education - Senior girls teaching eighth grade boys how to use condoms?
Self esteem – what is contributing?
Special education -- a governor’s report claims it does more harm than good
Would parents pay directly for what the schools are doing?
Why so many employees?
What do all the non-teachers do all day?
Social engineering, “values clarification” classes.
Ned Vare gives permission to anyone to copy and distribute. He adds that it is not necessary to include his name.