2012 CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE
Supplied by: National School Board Action Center
1. Candidate: Daniel Botelho 2. Position Sought: US House of Representatives 9th CD
3. Address: P.O. Box 1064 Fall River MA 02722. Phone: (774)-226-8663
4. The federal government has made the development of rigorous state academic standards and assessments a priority. Should a state’s eligibility for federal grants to states and local school districts be conditioned on the state adopting specific standards and assessments identified by the federal government? NO
The Fed should set a standard so that children in specific age grade levels around the country are all learning the same material. So that if a child in 5th grade in California moves to Massachusetts they are learning the same material.
The method of how the child learns that material must be left up to the States and specific school districts. Demographic and circumstances around the country are all difference and the local educators are the best suited to deal with area specific issues effecting education.
5. To help local school districts meet new academic standards, should the federal government provide grant assistance where needed to support such functions as professional development, curriculum development, data systems and the acquisition of course materials? NO
Grants should not be used to fund normal daily school business functions. Professional development, curriculum development, course materials, are all normal business activities for a school system. Data systems & computer systems in my thought are not normal yearly acquisitions. Technology is a key component in today’s educational world but given the expected longevity of systems that is an area I would support grant assistance for.
6. If the federal government provides grant assistance to states and local school districts to develop or modify their teacher/principal evaluation systems, should those grants enable states and local school districts, rather than the federal level, to determine how teacher/principal effectiveness on student learning will be measured? Yes
But the ultimate measure will be if a child in two different geographical locations in the same grade are on par with each. Back to question one of the survey a child in 5th grade in California moves to Massachusetts. That given the social and geographical differences at the end of the day the kids have learned the same information. How they learn it is absolutely up to the state and local system, but they need to have learned it.
7. Should the federal government provide grant assistance and research to help local school districts design and implement personnel programs/policies that can improve the tie between the recruitment, professional development, assignment, rewards, promotions, or dismissal of teachers/principals and the student achievement strategies/goals of their school system?
Question 7 is a reword of Question 5
No moreover, Grants are never guaranteed funding, If a school system uses and becomes dependent on the grant for such basic personnel functions what will happen when the funds run out and the grant isn’t given again. All levels of government need to learn to live within their specific budgets from local to state to federal.
8. Do you support local school districts having the option to design their own evidence-based strategies to turn around low-performing schools, rather than being limited to adopting federal/state mandated turnaround models? Yes
But if their turnaround plan isn’t effective within a specific determined amount of time then State/ model must be implemented. Feds only role is to monitor and if no progress ask for a new plan of action to be presented, not enact or hand down a plan.
9. As part of the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, would you support establishing a pre-kindergarten grant program for school districts seeking financial assistance? No
A school District cannot depend on grant funds to support normal business functions. Again what happens when the funds run out. Districts need to work their budgets to supply the services needed while staying within budgets. This can be done by cutting top administrator salary, and eliminating redundant administrator roles. I rather hire a new teacher then an assistant to the assistant of the superintendent.
10. Should federally-funded charter schools be required to meet the same fiscal and educational accountability requirements as traditional public schools? Yes
11. Do you believe that absent special circumstances, virtual/digital schools (as distinguished from online learning as part of the overall school program) if used as a primary source of a student’s K-12 education is a satisfactory way of providing a well-rounded education? No
At the maturity level of students in k-12 and lack of parenting that runs rampant in our society today I see switching to virtual/digital schools as being disastrous to the basic education of our youth. Especially in inner cities where for many students going to school is the only normal part of their day.
12. Do you support or oppose legislation to provide federally-funded private school vouchers to the states?
13. Should local school districts be required to collect data and develop reports that are not relevant to the purpose of implementing a specific federal grant? No
Why mandate a report which means a cost must be incurred to collect data then another cost to organize and create reports that no one will look at.
14. Since school boards have the primary responsibility for local school governance under state law, should the federal government encourage mayors to assume that function?
I do not understand the question. I believe Mayors should be on the school board to ensure input and that the board or committee is being effective, but he shouldn’t be the Czar or encompass the entire school board.
15. Should Congress’ top education funding priority go toward meeting the cost of federal mandates required by Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act? Yes
Generally speaking no one should enter into a commitment then fail to meet there financial obligations to that commitment. With that being stated we have to consider the amount of debt the country is currently liable for and the necessary steps needed to pay down that debt. My goal is to cut the budgets and amounts of money given to foreign aid to known areas of the world that continue hostile intention toward the United States so that we can minimize cuts to programs like Title I and Disabilities Education Act.
16. When Congress created the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, it committed to pay 40 percent of the costs of this important federal mandate but currently pays 17 percent. How long should it take for Congress to reach 40 percent funding for the program?
I would need to further investigate what fully funding the program entails. Again our country is an extreme situation with the amount of debt we have taken on and ensuring we remain solvent is a top priority.
17. Federal K-12 education programs, which comprise about 1 percent of the entire federal budget, are currently subject to an 8 percent across-the-board “sequestration” cut on January 2, 2013. Should K-12 education be protected from this sequestration? Yes
But that does not mean that the budget is to be completely sheltered from pains of raining in on out of control spending. In a perfect world we would look at the amount of our deficit for the year plus add a modest payment to pay down our debt. All areas of government would share the burden by having their budget reduced by a total dollar amount equal to their proportional % size of the total budget times the amount needed to be cut. That methodology would ensure the areas of government remain with the same proportional % of the new reduced budget. But as mentioned I would like to ease the burden on specific areas like education by eliminating foreign aid to areas of the world that do not honor agreements and incite violence against the United States and our allies.
18. To maintain a state’s funding priority for K-12 education, federal law currently requires that, as a condition for receiving education funding in major programs, a state must provide at least a minimum level of K-12 funding based on the previous year’s funding level with exceptions for economic hardship. Should federal legislation continue that policy? Yes
19. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the No Child Left Behind Act), has not been reauthorized for nearly 11 years and is five years past its renewal schedule. Will you urge your Congressional leaders to commit to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act prior to June 30, 2013 to enable an orderly transition for the 2013-14 school year? Yes
Part of creating and executing a comprehensive budget package is to address all areas that the federal government has taken on some form of fiscal responsibility. Although I would like to see States take a greater role in funding school districts within its borders, when ever some oversight is impressed upon a financial burden is also assumed.
20. Should Congress require the Department of Education to provide at least a 30-day public comment period for proposed regulations, rules, and grant notices in non-emergency circumstances? Yes
21. Will you consult with local school boards in your congressional district when considering or voting on K-12 legislation? YES
Whenever considering specific subject matter, people on the ground need to be consulted. The decisions our congressional delegation make directly affect individuals back home. To haphazardly vote on a bill effecting education without consulting the experts in our own districts would not only be foolish, but pigheaded.
22. There are a number of other significant areas in which the federal government is or can be involved such as science, technology, mathematics, foreign languages, the arts, the use of technology in education and school safety, etc. Are there areas where the federal government should or should not be involved that were not covered in this survey?
My main thought is that the Federal Governments role is to benchmark progress and set a standard for all States to attain. That Standard should consider global factors and be used to ensure the United States is a world leader in educating our youth which it currently is not. That does not mean that the Federal Government then Micro manages how to attain the Standard. Control to design and implement curriculum must remain at the State and local level. One area which was not covered was extracurricular activities, including sports, drama clubs, band (musical). Growing up these were the activities that I remember tied in performance in the class room to participating in “fun activities” Using Sports as an example, encouraging or youth to participate not only gets them active but allows us the opportunity to impress upon our youth the importance of high academic performance along with discipline and teamwork. By pushing a student athlete mantra if you will, regardless of activity be it sports drama club or band to name a few we can capture a student’s non academic interests and use that interest to aid in academic performance. The city I live in spends millions in education, and has had to cut sports, band, as well as other extracurricular activities because of budget cuts. What I have witnessed is a fall in academic performance and a consistent up roar that we aren’t spending enough money. Given the size and some administrator salaries in the city I call home I do believe we are spending enough money, we just aren’t spending it in the right areas. Bring extracurricular activities back to our schools around the country; encourage participation mandate it in cases of “at risk youth” and every bone in my body tells me we will see a drastic improvement in academic achievement.