Cox Responds to Questions About Charters, ALEC, Campaign Finances

Earlier this week I featured Dr. Freda Deskin’s answers to questions that I suggested in two earlier posts: The 3 Education Questions We Should Ask all Candidates for Public Office; and, Necessary Questions for Oklahoma Supt of Schools Candidates . 

She is in a Democratic Party Primary Runoff race with Dr. John Cox. Dr. John Cox Promo PicHe has responded to those same questions, and has some interesting answers. Some of those answers diverge significantly from Deskin’s.

I have included all questions from each blog post for readability. These are Cox’s answers as sent to me on Thursday, July 24th.

Should all charter schools receiving any kind of tax money have identical testing requirements for their students as traditional public school students?

A: Yes, charter schools should be held to the same standards as public schools if they receive public funds. We should fully fund our public schools before even considering funding charter schools. Charter schools should not be allowed to take our limited public school funds.

Should all charter schools receiving any tax money get identical types of public report cards on their students’ performance as are given to traditional public schools?

A: Yes, publicly funded charter schools should be held to the same accountability standards as public schools. Also, teachers and administration at charter schools should be held to the same standard and certification requirements as our public school teachers. For example, my opponent said she is a Principal and Superintendent (Durant, 7/15/14), but she does not hold any administrative certification. She simply says her board can give her any title they see fit.

Should all charter schools receiving any tax money have the same accounting oversight requirements as traditional public schools?

A: Yes, charter schools should have the same accounting oversight requirements as public schools including annual audits and personnel reports.

1. How do you intend to fund your campaign?

If you are self-funding, how will you pay it back?

A: I have been working hard to raise funds for this campaign. I believe that I must make a commitment to my campaign before I can expect others to contribute and make a commitment to my campaign. This is one of the most important elections that most of us will see in our lifetime and it is time we stand up for public schools.

If self-funding, what are your standards for deciding if you will accept a person or organization paying you back?

A: Loans to a campaign are paid by contributions that are made to the campaign. There should never be strings attached to money that is contributed. All of my contributors have given freely and their main message to me is to take care of our public schools and not allow a charter school advocate or someone that does not have public school administration training to be our next state superintendent of public instruction.

If your campaign is raising money, who are your contributors so far?

A: I have a wide array of contributors all across Oklahoma. They include business people, teachers, administrators, retired teachers, parents, and Oklahomans ready for a change. Oklahomans are ready for someone that is trained and certified as an Oklahoma Public School Superintendent to be our next State Superintendent.

What interests are represented by those who are giving to your campaign?

A: My contributors’ true interest is taking care of our public schools and not allowing someone with a charter school mentality to be our state superintendent. We have already experienced that type of leadership.

Do any of those contributors represent any kind of private corporate interests?

A: No, my contributors are interested in taking care of our public schools and advocating for our public schools.

2. How would you interact with a Fallin administration?

A: Respectfully, but determined to represent our public schools in a manner that promotes our public schools.

3. How would you interact with a Dorman administration?

A: A Joe Dorman administration would fit directly with my platform for our public schools. I believe our ideas for public education complement each other.

4. How will you work with the dominant Republican Oklahoma Legislature to influence their decisions about funding for public education and to defend standards proposed by education professionals?

A: We need to look at the child as an individual, instead of a test score. I believe the Legislature is ripe for meeting the needs of individual students and they are ready to begin promoting our public schools and provide a positive environment conducive to learning.

5. How closely will you work with ALEC and other out-of-state groups to help you form policy?

A: ALEC and the carbon copy Florida initiatives need to stay out of Oklahoma. These reforms have done nothing but harm our students and create dissension and frustration among our schools and teachers. The charter school movement promoted by ALEC as the savior to our public schools should stay in the private sector and not funded by public monies. Charter school is the first step to privatization of our public schools and is a method to take our public funds from our public schools. Our focus should be on promoting our public schools and funding our public schools.

6. Will qualified Oklahoma education professionals have preference in hiring over out-of-state people?

A: Yes, I believe we need to utilize the expertise of Oklahomans to serve our public schools. They need to be trained and have an understanding of how our public schools function in our state.

7. What single group of voters do you consider to be your strongest supporters?

A: Since I have been involved in public education for 28 years and as a public school superintendent for 20 years, I have gained the trust of educators and administrators across all areas of Oklahoma. We have a strong network and I am proud of their support and confidence in my leadership. I have also gained the respect of parents, business people, and thousands of Oklahomans. I am proud that we are all focused on protecting and improving our public schools.

There are some interesting differences emerging here that should make for some interesting campaigning leading up to the August 26th runoff.

I would welcome a response from Joy Hofmeister any time that she would like to give readers a comparison of the same questions.

Comments on this post are always welcome on my Facebook page, either of my Twitter accounts (see the links at the top), or under the link to this post in Google+.