We’ve got a school board election coming up this September. Our local papers’ “voter guides” are fine as far as they go, but they never seem to ask the questions I’d most like to see answered, and often leave me without any real sense of how the candidates conceive of education. So this year I thought I’d begin making a list of questions to present to the candidates. Here are the first ones that come to mind:
1. Should the school board ensure that elementary school students get more than fifteen minutes for lunch? If so, what should the minimum lunch period be? (See the petition about this issue here.)
2. On balance, has the No Child Left Behind Act been good for Iowa City’s public school children?
3. Do you think our schools should put less emphasis on standardized testing? If so, what should the school board do to achieve that goal?
4. What should the school board do when state or federal laws or regulations require the district to do something that is not in the best interests of the kids? (See this post.)
5. Do you support the current pervasive use of token rewards to get students to comply with school rules? If not, what role should the school board take in reining that practice in?
6. How should the schools approach the teaching of moral or ethical values? (See the debate in this post.)
7. What should the district’s plan be as the number of SINA schools grows and the number of schools into which those students can transfer shrinks?
Feel free to submit your own in the comments. Updated version, with links to responses from 2011 candidates, here.