I attended last night's PUSD Board Candidates Accountability Session, hosted by One LA. All ten candidates attended (yes, da Sons made an appearance).
One LA accountability sessions are really pretty fascinating. In addition to giving candidates opportunities to speak briefly (about 60 seconds) on specific issues, they ask the candidates to respond yes or no to key questions about these issues.
What key issues served as the focus for last night's session?
1. Reduction in force and layoff issues
2. Adult education
3. Parent/volunteer policy
4. Algebra Project
5. Willingness to meet in early January with One LA if you're elected
The questions asked about each issue were lengthy, and my pen didn't move that fast. But, my understanding of the gist of the questions is as follows:
1. Do you think we should try to prevent job loss and, when inevitable, do you think we should find humane ways of letting people know they are being laid off?
2. Do you think we should preserve funding for adult education programs?
3. Do you think we should modify the district's volunteer policy to make it easier for parents and community members to become involved in schools?
4. Do you endorse innovative educational programs?
5. If you're elected, to you commit to meeting with leaders from One LA in early January?
(Can any readers provide more specificity on these questions?)
When individuals actually provided a yes or no answer, all said yes they support to work for improvement on the listed issues. By my count, there were two times during the night where candidates failed to respond to the yes/no issue (unless you count, "Yes, I'd like to address these issues openly" -- that response seemed dodgy to me).
Listening to the one-minute responses gave me a good sense of candidates' quality of thought and insight on the issues. Given I knew absolutely nothing about any of these candidates' positions or qualificiations prior to the session, I was thrilled to leave the meeting with a much better sense of who seems ready for an elected position and who I am willing to support. I won't provide a blow-by-blow of reactions to each candidate, but I will say:
Big thumbs up for Hank Mollet. His careful thinking about the issues is obviously informed by years in the classroom. He came across as well-spoken, balanced, and in the race for admirable reasons. If I could vote for just one candidate, it would be him.
I believe there is another opportunity to meet the candiates next Tuesday. Does anyone know the time and place?