In two earlier posts I have raised education questions for candidates for any public office in Oklahoma, and specifically for Oklahoma Superintendent of Schools.
To my surprise, Freda Deskin, volunteered her answers to both blog posts in her comments on my Google + timeline where I had posted the separate links. I did not solicit her responses.
Deskin is in a Democratic Party runoff with John Cox for state Supt. of Schools. Voting will be on August 26th. The winner will face Republican candidate Joy Hofmeister in November.
The first was The 3 Education Questions We Should Ask all Candidates for Public Office . Here are those questions and her answers:
Q: Should all charter schools receiving any kind of tax money have identical testing requirements for their students as traditional public school students?
A: All charter schools in Oklahoma do have the identical testing requirements as other schools. In fact, Oklahoma charters must comply with all state and federal mandates.
Q: 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: Oklahoma charters DO receive identical types of report cards for their students’ performance as traditional schools.
Q: Should all charter schools receiving any tax money have the same accounting oversight requirements as traditional public schools?
A: Oklahoma charters already have the same accounting oversight. There is no difference. Charters report to the SDE and are assigned a Regional Accreditation Officer just like any other school. They have independent financial audits annually just like any other public school. In addition, public charters are accountable of a board of directors and to the board of its authorizer. Charters may be shut down if they are unsuccessful.
In the second post, Necessary Questions for Oklahoma Supt of Schools Candidates, Deskin answers some very specific questions.
1. How do you intend to fund your campaign?
If you are self-funding, how will you pay it back?
A: I have loaned myself the least of any candidate. I will either raise the money or lose it.
If self-funding, what are your standards for deciding if you will accept a person or organization paying you back?
A: These funds would come from general donors.
If your campaign is raising money, who are your contributors so far?
A: I have no particular “interest group” members contributing. My donors are former students and their families, past and present colleagues, and people I have worked with or met over the years in my various roles in the community and in my profession.
What interests are represented by those who are giving to your campaign?
Do any of those contributors represent any kind of private corporate interests?
A: No. I have no allegiance or commitments to any of my donors.
2. How would you interact with a Fallin administration?
A: Very carefully, but professionally.
3. How would you interact with a Dorman administration?
A: Extremely well.
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?
5. How closely will you work with ALEC and other out-of-state groups to help you form policy?
A: I won’t.
6. Will qualified Oklahoma education professionals have preference in hiring over out-of-state people?
A: Of course. Every decision should be based on what is best for students and state.
7. What single group of voters do you consider to be your strongest supporters?
A: Parents, retired educators, former students, others who want to see Oklahoma education survive and thrive because they care about our children and our state.
I am already thinking of some follow-up questions to put a finer point on the charter schools questions in particular. We survived one assault of the charter school privateers this last legislative season with the defeat of SB573. It is my hunch that they will be back.
However, since Deskin volunteered these answers, I decided to hold my comments until other candidates had some time to respond to the same questions.
John Cox and Joy Hofmeister are welcome to send their responses to these questions to: brett dot dickerson at gmail dot com. I will gladly publish those as well.
Comments are always welcome on my Facebook page, either of my Twitter accounts, or Google+.