Monday, April 18, 2016

I've Got a Little List...of Questions

 It all started with a friend telling me a candidate had knocked on her door and said he (for illustrative purposes, our candidate will be male) told her he was deeply committed to public schools. She said she wished she'd had some specific questions to ask, to assess his depth of knowledge and positions on issues.

So, we started thing led to another, and another. Several more posts and lists. Lots of input. And I am now sharing our combined list of questions...more than any one candidate would want to field, but I know we all have those pet issues about which we truly care.

As always, my posts are works in progress...if I've left off your favorite question, please include it in the comments. 

My lists of House and Senate educator- and family member-candidates has NOT been vetted. I have not interviewed the candidates. I will not endorse...We're all smart people (LOOK at this list!!). Each of us must research, read, listen...and then decide.  

I share the questions we brainstormed as a starting place for all of us who care deeply about schools and students.

What are your top five priorities as a legislator and your plan to accomplish them?

Education issues

What is the purpose of public education, in your opinion?

What is society’s interest in public education?

Your connections to public education

  • Do your children/grandchildren attend public schools?
  • Who, at your school, can vouch for your involvement in the school and support of public education?
  • When is the last time you visited a school in your district? What did you learn?
  • Are educators and students and parents part of your team?


How do you intend to increase funding for schools?


Teacher Shortage
  • Teacher preparation
  • Teacher evaluations – TLE, VAM
  • Alternative Certification
  • School Library Media Specialists
  • Salaries, benefits, retirement

Class Sizes

High Poverty Schools

  • What is the free-and-reduced lunch statistics for schools in your district?
  • What does a successful high-poverty school look like?
  • How will you address the inequity in resources for some of our schools

A-F grades for schools

Arts, Career Tech
  • Electives, recess
  • Special Education issues
  • Physical Education

Testing – EOI, ECCTs, other state-mandated tests –

  • Reducing high stakes and ‘accountability’ – reducing number of tests
  • What is the purpose of assessment and testing

Charter Expansion



Position on Oklahoma Standards

Position on higher education and Technology Centers


  • Who sponsors your fund raisers?
  • Do you have out-of-state contributors?
  • Are you connected to ALEC, Walton Foundation, or OCPA or other think tanks interested in controlling policy?

Taxes, Revenue

  • Tax policy, TIFs
  • Tax credits, loopholes
  • How do you propose to raise revenue for mental health, DHS, safety, roads, and beyond

Questions about the general welfare of Oklahoma

  • Health-care expansion
  • Prison Reform
  • What is your position on the rights of those who do not share your values, beliefs, political affiliation, socio-economic level, lifestyle?
  • How will you protect children and the elderly of our state?
  • What is your position on raising the minimum wage?

Plans for outreach and communication

  • How do you plan to learn more about the issues that are new to you? Do you have a team of advisers (I am assured this is the older spelling -- I think I like the other!), trusted sources of credible data, or other methods of quickly learning about the issues?
  • How do you plan to work across the aisle to gain multi-partisan support for legislation?
  • What is your strategy for staying connected with your constituents, and having open communications?
  • How will you work with others in the Legislature to hold state government accountable to our students?

Most of you won't have seen The Mikado, or the updated one, or the Family Guy version...this one is PG.


  1. I thought of some more questions: "Where do you learn about current events?" "What book(s) are you reading right now?" "What did you learn today?" "What are you going to try to learn more about tomorrow?"

    1. Oh, man. As usual, your reflection is spot on. Think what we could learn from these answers!!