March 24, 2008
QUESTIONS FOR STUDENT MEMBERS OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION (CGS §§ 10-1; 10-3A, AS AMENDED BY PA 07-114; 10-4)
● Consists of nine voting members who serve staggered four-year terms, the commissioner of higher education who serves as a nonvoting ex-officio member, and two nonvoting student members who serve one-year terms.
● Recommends candidate for education commissioner to the governor.
● Has general supervision and control of the educational interests of the state, including preschool, elementary, and secondary education; special education; and vocational education. The educational interests of the state, as defined by law are that (1) each student have an equal opportunity to receive a suitable program of educational experiences; (2) each school district finance at a reasonable level at least equal to the state's minimum expenditure requirement an educational program designed to achieve this end; (3) in order to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation, each school district provide educational opportunities for its students to interact with students and teachers from other
racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds and may provide such opportunities with students from other communities; and (4) statutory mandates relating to education within the State Board of Education's jurisdiction are implemented.
● Sets state educational policy in collaboration with the governor and the General Assembly.
● Oversees the state vocational-technical schools.
● Authorizes charter and interdistrict magnet schools.
● Adjudicates complaints against local boards of education that fail to implement the state's educational interests.
● Serves as the final administrative appeal board for issuing and revoking teaching certificates and other educational credentials needed to work in Connecticut public schools.
QUESTIONS FOR NOMINEES
1. What are the major issues you would like the State Board of Education to address during your term? As a nonvoting member, how do you plan to influence the board's deliberations?
2. Do you see your role on the board as reflecting the concerns and views of your fellow students? How do you plan to communicate with students around the state on issues before the board?
3. The level and frequency of bullying in schools and the response of teachers and school administrators to bullying incidents has been a focus of increasing concern in the legislature. Do you agree that bullying is a widespread problem in schools? How seriously should schools take such incidents? What steps can students, school staff, and the state board take to respond to these situations?
4. A new law scheduled to take effect for the next school year requires student suspensions to be served in school unless the student is so disruptive that he or she must be barred from school. What is your opinion of the value of in-school versus out-of-school suspensions? Do you think school authorities are too ready to suspend students from school for minor infractions? How would you use in-school suspensions to help students improve their own behavior as well as the overall school environment?
5. Do you think a ban on the sale of soda and junk food in school is good idea? Should restrictions for elementary and high schools be different? Do you think restrictions should be imposed at the state or local level? Do you believe restrictions on soda sales in school will affect how much and what students consume?
6. What additional opportunities should students have to earn high school credit for courses or activities they take outside the classroom, including on-line and college courses? What subjects most lend themselves to alternative styles of instruction? How should the state ensure that the courses maintain high academic standards?
7. The State Board of Education is holding hearings around the state on a proposal to make high school graduation requirements more rigorous by requiring students to have at least 24 credits, pass state-administered end-of-course tests, and submit a senior-year demonstration project. What is your opinion of these proposals?
8. Do you think steroid abuse is common among high school athletes in Connecticut? What is your opinion of random testing for championship tournament participants? Do you think the health curriculum should include instruction on the effects of steroid use?