House of Representatives District 48: Candidate Q&A
Candidates for this office were offered a questionnaire on education issues by The Parents’ Campaign. See below for responses received to date.
1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family? My daughter went to middle school in Washington State and high school in Phoenix in very good school systems. I went to McAdams, MS grades 1-12 and it hasn’t changed much in 50 years!
2. Do you agree that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) should be fully funded every year? If yes, what actions will you take to ensure full funding? If no, explain why. Yes.
3. What will you do to ensure state revenue that is sufficient to provide all of the services Mississippi’s citizens need to lead productive lives? I am running on an agenda of growth and development for Mississippi and the 48 district. Broadening the tax base with good employers that pay well is the best way to address educational issues and more.
4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? Yes. Only schools that are subject to public scrutiny should receive public money.
5. Do you agree that all K-12 schools that receive taxpayer dollars, including private voucher schools, should be accountable to taxpayers for the quality of education they provide, using the same accountability measures as public schools? Yes.
6. Public schools serve the vast majority of Mississippi students with disabilities. Do you agree that public school special education services should be fully funded every year? (Special education has been underfunded by the state annually since 2008.) If yes, how will you accomplish full funding? If no, explain why. Yes.
7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high-quality early childhood education statewide? Yes.
8. The nation’s top teachers say that the greatest barriers to school success for K-12 students are family stress, poverty, and learning and psychological problems. What steps do you believe legislators should take to alleviate these obstacles for Mississippi children? Again, an improving economy is the way to be able to hire and retain qualified teachers and jobs, and rising salaries will create more stable family environments and provide a less stressful learning situation.
9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? Yes.
10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their state retirement while serving in the Legislature? Yes.
11. Legislators have little or no staff to help them understand the many bills they must consider. Before introducing or supporting a bill that could affect public education, will you commit to seeking input from teachers, principals, superintendents, and parents of public school students in your district? Who will be advising you on education policies? Anytime I make a decision I will have consulted the people affected by the legislation in question. I will get input from all facets of education for educational issues.
12. Legislators receive tremendous pressure from the leaders of their chamber (House or Senate), state and party leaders, and corporate lobbyists, to vote in ways that may contradict the will of their constituents and harm their communities. How will you respond to this pressure? I will never vote against the will of the constituents. On issues that are evenly split, I will study and make the most informed decision possible.