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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ferris High School debate questions

Question 1: Spokane Public Schools is spending more than it ever has, and yet, since the year 2000, the number of students has decreased by nearly 3,000. If the money is not going to the students, where is it going? Question 2: Is it true that District 81’s math program fails to adequately prepare a majority of students for college-level math? An example of this is that 98% of the Running Start students must take remedial math at the college level. What is the problem, and what specifically would you do to alleviate this math crisis? Question 3: Do you believe state and federal government has too much input in our schools? Critics say we should reduce the role of government and return control of our schools to our elected school boards. What do you say? Question 4: The state board of education recently graded all of the schools in the state. Not one Spokane public school received the highest ranking of exemplary. What are some of the reasons for this, and what would you do to fix it? Question 5: If you could implement one school reform within existing resources by reprioritizing funds and staff time, what would you push for? Question 6: Would you support putting the detailed budget and union contract agreements online for everyone to see, and is it true that people have to file a public disclosure petition to get full details of Spokane School board meeting minutes? Question 7: (To Sally Fullmer) Some people think you are a one-issue candidate, concerned with the location of Jefferson school. True or false, and if not, please explain. Question 8: Recently, teachers in Tacoma went on strike, defying state law and a judge’s order to return to work. Documents now show it was part of a larger plan by the teachers union. Did the WEA want to send a painful message to parents and lawmakers? Do you see the same thing happening in Spokane? And if so, what would be your reaction? Question 9: Would you support strengthening District 81’s ability to retain or place teachers based on criteria rather than seniority? Question 10: (For Deana Brower) You have been endorsed by the teachers unions, received union campaign contributions, and attended union candidate schools. If elected, how will the voters know that you will act in the interests of the community and not the proxy of the unions? Question 11: School administrators have asserted that local tax dollars are going to Washington, DC, but they’re only getting a fraction of those dollars back. Meanwhile, many federal mandates are unfunded. As a school board member, what would you do to change that? Question 12: Studies show that so-called green schools are not as efficient or cost-effective as widely promoted. Please define green schools, and also, should we be spending substantially more of taxpayers’ money to build them? Question 13: The amount of money paid to public school superintendents in the state of Washington is a hot topic. Superintendent Dr. Nancy Stowell is paid much more than the state schools chief, and even the governor. Are public school administrators paid too much money? Question 14: Deana Brower, you have called for more state taxpayer money for schools. Yet Spokane Catholic schools pay significantly less than the $11-12,000 per student that District 81 spends, and with better measurable results. Is more money really the problem, or is there another issue? Question 15: The controversy over teachers unions. Who benefits most from teachers unions – the students or the teachers – and why?