There are two candidates running to fill a vacant seat in the Alabama House of Representatives in District 5 (Limestone County) in a special election on Feb. 16. They are Republican Danny Crawford and Democrat Henry White. We sent questionnaires to both asking about education issues. We have already posted the responses of Henry White.
Here are the responses of Danny Crawford:
Because of short falls in the state General Fund budget, there is continuing talk of combing the Education Trust Fund and the General Fund. Do you think these funds should remain separate or be combined?
It is true the General Fund has issues with the budget and budget reform is the answer first to solve this problem before any discussion starts with combining Education Trust Fund and general fund into one budget. Removing ear marks, accountability measures, streamlining and efficiency measures seems to be the common sense process to solving the general fund problems. The zero-based budgeting as proposed by Republicans this session will achieve much in resolving the general fund woes, then each budget can stand on its own
In 2013 the legislature passed the Alabama Accountability Act. Reports from the state revenue department show that as of Dec. 31, 2015, it has diverted $66 million from the Education Trust Fund to be used for scholarships to private schools. At least 1,000 scholarships have gone to students who were already attending private schools. Do you think the Accountability Act is working as it was supposed to? Do you feel that it has helped students in your district.
The Alabama Accountability Act in theory has merit. In District 5, the only students eligible for the scholarships would have to be from income deficiency families to qualify. District 5 is much different in low socio-economic backgrounds from many other districts in Alabama. I support choice of parents to send their child to the best school possible and available to them. In District 5, all schools are great!
Recently the draft of a bill known as the Rewarding Advancement in Instruction and Student Excellence (RAISE) Act of 2016 became public. Educators across Alabama have expressed their opposition to this bill. Do you oppose it or support it?
The RAISE Act has not been filed yet to the best of my knowledge. It is a changing document each week.Until the final bill is filed and I get a chance to read and understand it, I cannot support or oppose it. From what I have read, many house members oppose the first draft. I support a teacher pay raise.
Educators were not asked for input on either the Alabama Accountability Act, nor the RAISE Act. Do you believe the legislature should formulate education policy without input from Alabama educators?
It is always more acceptable when everyone with a stake in the outcome is involved in the development process of the legislation. Human nature is that most times, people do not like change. The goal of everyone should be the best education possible for our childrenin Alabama.
Do you think education is a profession and do you consider teachers to be professionals?
Education is a responsibility of state, administrators, school boards, educators and parents. Educators are professionals. My wife is a retired teacher and proud to be considered a professional.
Did you attend public school for your K-12 education?
I attended public schools all my student life. We did not have kindergarten when I started to school.