Sharon Collins is one of the four Republican candidates seeking a seat in Legislative District 30 House of Representatives. ScrambleWatch asked her some questions on education policy.
Should the AIMS test remain a requirement for high-school graduation?
I think we should do what they do in Louisiana – they have an ‘AIMS’ test for the third and the eighth grade. I also think we should have a two-tiered diploma system for those who cannot pass the AIMS test. I don’t think we should scrap the whole thing because we have been working on the AIMS test for 12 years plus the federal government says we’ve got to have a standards test.
Do you favor any changes for the AIMS test?
There’s not a lot we can do. But like I said, I think we should focus on testing in the third and eighth grades.
Do you support state-funded vouchers for private or religious schools?
I don’t think vouchers would serve anyone in the area. Plus, we already had this fight for two vouchers for $ 2.5 million dollars. One was for children with disabilities and one was for foster kids and I agreed with those. In our Constitution it says that we can’t give text book money to private schools, but the last court said that it was OK. Nothing’s black and white.
Does the state need to spend more on school construction?
That’s the one thing I wanted to take away from the general fund. We did better when we had local bonding. We are spending $500 million to $600 million and all these schools look like prisons.
Should school constructions funds come form the general fund or would you prefer a new revenue source for school construction?
Do you support borrowing money to pay for school construction?
Yes, local bonding.
Do you support merit pay for teachers?
Yes, we have this already; it’s called Career Ladders. It’s only in a couple counties and I would like it in all counties.
How would you determine how merit pay was awarded?
Well, we don’t have the free enterprise system in schools, so really they’ve been using the test scores to do that. I don’t think they all need to be A students, they just need to show improvement.
Do you support sex-ed programs that include information on abstinence, contraception and HIV/STD prevention?
Yes, I support that. What I don’t support is having a movie up in the corner of a classroom showing someone is putting a condom on a banana. That’s embarrassing for everyone.
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