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Election 2019: Candidate Q&A SD05 - The Parents Campaign

Senate District 5: 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.

General Election Candidates:   Steve Eaton   /   Daniel Sparks  WINNER

 Steve Eaton

1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family? I attended public school my entire life, so did both of my children. I was as involved as a parent could be with their public schooling.

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 absolutely believe that it should be fully funded, and I believe we can provide funding by saving spending on testing companies that provide the unnecessary testing our students go through.

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 believe we offer incentives for laborers to stay which will create more tax revenue and a thriving state economy. We do this by providing the adequate jobs for those receiving degrees and skilled labor. We also ensure quality pay so consumers are able to put back into the economy more.

4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? Absolutely. Public funds should go to public schooling, no questions.

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? I do. If you receive public funding through taxpayers, you should be held to the same standards as the public 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. Yes, we have to allocate extra funds to ensure our differently-abled students receive an education that is just as adequate. By ending the excessive testing on students, we will provide more funding for students versus tests.

7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? I believe we should provide pre-k and pre-pre-k. We have to start our children correctly in education by providing early education.

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? We can provide not only school academic counseling, but I think that academic counselors should be not only academically trained but certified counselors, too. We should give K-12 students a safe space to discuss their mental health. We need to work toward providing free meals for all students. We need to teach children based on their learning needs, not based on tests.

9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? Absolutely, our educators have to be paid adequately.

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 do.

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? I think our legislators should have staff members to assist them, or we will always have inefficiently-written bills. I have many educators in my family, my sister being a retired lifelong teacher. I will always seek counsel from these educators.

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 not give in to the pressure of politics; I will be a voice for my people. I am a common man for the common people. That will never change.

 

 Daniel Sparks     WINNER

NO RESPONSE


 Mario Barnes (defeated in primary)

NO RESPONSE


 Patrick Eaton (defeated in primary)

1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family? I graduated from Mantachie High School, a Mississippi public school. I have 4 children and all have been enrolled in the K-12 public school system. My wife is a 6th grade teacher in the Booneville School District.

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. I will ensure full funding by supporting any legislation that promotes the K-12 public school system.

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? By supporting additional funding into the K-12 public school system along with Vocational and Career readiness programs which includes community colleges.

4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? Yes, because currently there isn’t any accountability for these other options.

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 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. Yes. The State of Mississippi needs to continue to grow the economy, therefore existing forms of revenue will increase which will provide additional funding that is needed.

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? The legislature should provide additional Mental Health awareness options in each school district. This is one of my platforms that I have openly discussed during my campaign.

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 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? Yes. I will be in constant contact with the Booneville School District, Prentiss County School District, Baldwyn School District, Tishomingo County School District and Itawamba County School District. My wife is a 6th grade teacher so we discuss this topic quite often.

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 stay true to what I had promised to do and will be in constant prayer.


 Mel Greenhaw (defeated in primary)

NO RESPONSE

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