The Times Union’s school board candidate questionnaire

Along with my answers, the blog posts expand on them. -cpg


A. What is your major accomplishment in public life?

I have been writing about education issues for years in the county. I have played a role in getting the word out about the problems in our schools and I along with my teacher colleagues have come up with solutions that the school board is now starting to put in place.

B. Have you ever been sued, arrested or filed for bankruptcy?

I have never been sued or filed for bankruptcy but I have been arrested. I detail it in my blog.

C. What endorsements have you received?

Duval Teachers United

1. What will you do to see that the next superintendent builds a strong management team with people fully capable of taking over as the next superintendent?

In our district who you know rather than ability has often determined promotions. We need to develop a set of criteria, which includes reviews from subordinates that establishes a better way to determine promotions. We desperately need a house cleaning.

2. Are you committed to finding funds to support transportation for magnet students?

Yes and here is one place that I think we should start.

3. Do you support the FCAT? If not, what would you replace it with?

I do not support the FCAT, I recently urged the SB to join the anti-high stakes testing movement.

4. Is it ever appropriate for a board member to get involved in daily operations of the schools? If so, when?

No, but school board members need to be in the schools constantly, not looking for gotcha moments, but to see what policies are and are not working.

5. Should all board members be involved in intervene schools?

Yes, we are only as strong as our weakest schools.

6. What can the board do to gain more respect for the school system in the larger community, especially the business sector?

We have to do things the right way, rigorous classes, disciplined schools and to treat teachers as collaborators and colleagues rather than easily replaceable cogs. Furthermore we need to ramp up our career academies, teaching more trades, skills and arts in our schools, that prepare more kids to be productive citizens even if they are not going to go to college.

7. What can be done to rally support of alumni to struggling schools whose student body has changed? Forrest High School comes to mind.

Instead of getting alumni who have abandoned their schools maybe we should seek to rally the communities that the schools are in?

8. What¹s the single most important job of a superintendent?

To empower and support the districts teachers.

9. Is the school district too large to effectively manage with 170 schools and over 8,000 employees? Describe how a CEO copes with such a large organization.

It is not to large but it has been plagued by poor management. Fix the management issues and we will see better results.

10. How can the school district and city government work better together?

Communication, I also have an idea for a shadow board made up of community members and govt. officials that separate from the school board would tackle the same issues that the board does and come up with solutions. Then we would compare what they came up with, with what the board does. If there are serious divides we should figure out why.

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