Senate District 2: 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? I was personally involved with my two daughters with monitoring grades. I was attending parent-teacher day to discuss my children’s performance.
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. I agree in order to support excellent public schools for our students, it must be fully funded every year. I will floor this for 5 to 10 years at a time, or every year evaluate additional funding.
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 will work in the Senate to ensure that sufficient funding is provided for basic needed services. Bills passed must include this as a priority.
4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? I will oppose vouchers for private schools and other non-public schools. The public schools must be first successfully funded and given our priority.
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, we are obligated to use accountability measures for all schools.
6. Public schools serve the vast majority of Mississippi students with disabilities. Do you agree that special education services in public schools should be fully funded every year? (Special education has been underfunded by the state every year since 2008.) If yes, how will you accomplish full funding? If no, explain why. I will support special education services fully funded every year.
7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? Yes, this is needed to help them prepare for school early in a learning environment.
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? I will have student counseling services for all students who have learning problems and inform parents of counseling to identify plans.
9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? I do in order to keep teachers with reasonable pay offered to them. We want good knowledgeable teachers and assistants.
10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature? I think this question is dependent on state salary retirement regulations. I believe a pro-rated salary would be reasonable. The Legislature is an elected position.
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? Yes, I am a transparent government candidate. Bills that affect the public should be first given to the public for input and consideration.
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 am a candidate of strong values, and will not settle for any pressure from the chamber leaders to do anything less.