KASB Questionnaire: James Hannon, Democratic candidate for State Board of Education, District 7Scott Rothschild
If elected to the State Board, what is your top goal?
If elected to the State Board my primary goal would be to defend our system of universal public education against the growing encroachment of privatization and demands for tax dollars from private schools.
What is your opinion about the State Board of Education’s Kansans Can effort?
Kansans Can is an incredibly bold vision that reflects the commitment of the State Board of Education to a future-based education. It is founded on a rapidly growing body of evidence that today’s students need to develop skills and dispositions necessary for successful, sustained employment in the future. In general, I support the vision with its very lofty desired outcomes. I do have some reservations about the practicality and cost of its suggested delivery. I will question the potential increased demands on staff and likely on the increase in staff itself. I am not a proponent of alternatively licensed teachers and I fear that increased demands of this program on teachers will lead us to seek even more alternatively licensed teachers. I cannot support that. I question whether it is realistic to expect that even most parents will become active participants in IPS conferences twice a year. History suggests they will not. I truly believe that the teaching of the skills and dispositions required for successful sustained employment can be accomplished within the existing delivery system. These can and should be embedded in virtually all courses. I will keep an open mind, but with the potential costs and increased demands on staff, I can’t help but consider the possibility of alternative delivery to accrue essentially the same positive results
What should the State Board do on the issue of school funding?
The State Board should ensure that funding for state mandated programs are justified by the desired outcomes of the programs. Second, the State Board should keep Kansans adequately informed of educational goals, progress toward goal achievement, and justification for needed programs. The Board should be responsive to the needs of local school districts and support the fulfillment of those needs. The State Board of Education has no real legislative authority to determine the amount of state funding but it can and should use its influence to ensure adequate funding for education.