Some Questions for School Board Members, Superintendents, and Principals

We have an action item for you! Here is something every Iowan can do. If you do not have children in school currently, you can still do this… I’m assuming you are in this group because you care about our schools, right? You may need to re-word a few of the questions though.

A huge thanks to Michele Crystal for compiling the questions!

You have 2 options for this action item:

1. Go to your next school board meeting and hand these questions to each school board member. Let them know that you will be back at the next school board meeting to get the answers to these questions. Also, give a copy to the superintendent and building principals (either at the meeting or however you are able to get it to them). You may need to ask permission in advance to speak – you only need a minute to stand up and publicly ask the board to answer your questions. Just introduce yourself, hand them the sheet and let them know you’ll be back at the next meeting. This should get your action entered into the minutes so there is a record of it.

2. If you can’t attend the school board meeting, email these questions to the school board members, superintendent, and building principals.

Either way, make sure you email a copy of the questions to your state legislators (we each have a state rep and and state senator – get to know them if you don’t already!).

The attached file has a blank so you can fill in your own deadline date. Please edit it further if needed. We are suggesting you ask different questions of each group of people so they have some ownership in their answers and aren’t just referring the questions to one person in the district. That could still happen but we’re hoping that just by asking the questions you are helping these individuals to start to question these issues themselves and open up some dialogue or at least push them toward answering these questions.

Some additional tips:

Look up the “School Board” link on your School District’s home page website to see when the meeting will be held each month. Call other parents to gather with you for the meeting and bring these questions with you and ask the School Board to have the questions answered when you come back to the next month’s School Board meeting. Look up your State Representatives here: www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find, email them and tell them what you are doing so they are aware of what is going on with Iowa’s education when they convene again on January 2nd 2015 as the new session begins.

If you send the questions via email, consider copying and pasting into the email also in case they have trouble opening the attachment – we want to make this easy for them.

Questions for School Board, Superintendents, and Principals

Please answer the following questions to help me better understand your position on these issues. I respectfully request a response by ______________ so we may discuss further. I have also sent a copy of these questions to my State Representative and State Senator. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you!

To School Board Members:

  1. How do you view the academic purposes for standardized testing?
  2. Are you familiar with all the standardized tests your district requires and their academic purposes?
  3. Are you willing to initiate a parent/teacher review of the use of testing in your district?
  4. What curriculum does the school district currently utilize in all grade levels?
  5. What local control do we currently have in our district to change, alter, add or take away curriculum?
  6. What apps or online training tools are being utilized in each grade as supplements to the textbook curriculum?
  7. What specific information on each child is sent to the State (which includes any state or federal govt entity outside our district), either via the test or other means?

To School Superintendents:

  1. Identify by name and frequency each standardized test your district requires in each grade.
  2. Explain where these tests originate and, for each, explain its specific academic purpose and the year it started.
  3. For parents who do not want their child to take the assessments, do you respect their parental right to make that decision?

To School Principals:

  1. How many standardized tests/surveys are scheduled for my child this year?
  2. Where do these tests originate?
  3. What is the specific academic purpose for each one?
  4. How will these tests affect my child’s academic future or standing?
  5. For each test, does the teacher see individual student results and have a chance to adjust individual instruction to help each student? If so, what is the lag time between test dates and teachers seeing results?
  6. Who sees the scores, where will they be recorded, and for what purpose?
  7. Do the scores become part of my child’s record?
  8. Who in the district instructed you to give these tests?

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