Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Open for discussion

Posted by Craig Westover | 2:40 PM |  

EdWatch suggests the following questions be posed to school board candidates. The floor is open for discussion; the only caveat is we're not discussing EdWatch but the questions listed below. Are they relevant? Would they produce the kind of public education system this country needs? Should a school board memeber feel like he or she should have to answer these questions?

Have at it.


1. Do you support schools giving primary emphasis to teaching basic skills (e.g. reading, grammar, spelling, traditional arithmetic) rather
than social activism or psychological matters?

2. Do you support the use of intensive, systematic phonics to teach children how to read from kindergarten on and in special ed?

3. Do you support the goal that children should be able to read by the end of the first grade?

4. Do you support teaching abstinence as the norm for unmarried teenagers and as the only truly effective way to prevent sexually-
transmitted diseases?

5. Do you support teaching that the use of illegal drugs and the unlawful use of alcohol are "wrong"?

6. Do you believe the topics of homosexuality and alternative lifestyles should be excluded from the classroom?

7. Do you reject classroom instruction that undermines American sovereignty, limited constitutional government, or private enterprise?

8. Do you reject programs that promote an over-emphasis on vocations in elementary school and that encourage or require students to choose a career path by 8th grade?

9. Do you support academic programs for middle and high performing students to complement the NCLB focus on low-performing students?

10. Do you oppose global curricula that promote world citizenship? (Examples, International Baccalaureate, the GLOBE program, the
Center for Civic Education’s curriculum)

11. Do you support teaching the scientific strengths and weaknesses of scientific principles such as evolution?


1. Do you oppose the collection and maintenance of data on student health, performance, attitudes, behavior, and family, as well as
academics, in computerized databases?

2. Do oppose routine mental health screening for all students?

3. Do you oppose school-based health clinics, which may perform examinations, provide immunizations and medications, and
dispense birth control devices and abortion referrals, without parental consent or knowledge?

4. Do oppose “social and emotional” standards being incorporated into the curricula?

5. Do you oppose accepting outside grants from wealthy special interest foundations and from state and federal government that set the district agenda, such as establishing smaller learning communities (a form of School-to-Work), expanding early childhood education, diversity
training, and global citizenship programs?

6. Do you oppose the targeting of commercials to students in the classroom through Channel One television?

7. Do you support traditional class scheduling, as opposed to block scheduling?


1. Do you oppose school districts collecting student data with non- academic student surveys involving students’ personal behavior, values,
attitudes, beliefs, or those of their family and friends? (Examples, Teen Screen, Minnesota Student Survey, Search Institute, etc.)

2. Do you support requiring parental permission on all non-academic student surveys that the district may be involved in?

3. Do you oppose the creation of a district universal pre-school system?

4. Do you oppose all-day, every-day kindergarten?

5. Do you support the right of parents to home school their children?

6. Do you believe in the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children?