While I have posted several pieces about Matt Brown since Governor Bentley announced last week that he was nominating him to the District 1 seat on the state school board, as a one-time journalist, I thought it only fair to reach out to him for answers to some questions. So I emailed Matt twice. Neither bounced back. But I received no response to either attempt.
Here is the email I sent, I have edited it slightly to save space.
I write from Montgomery. I am a long time supporter of public education and have written articles on this topic for state newspapers for some time. And recently started a blog about Alabama public education. I contact you because of your appointment by Governor Bentley and the response this has received from the education community.
Of course, in such cases there is solid information and a lot of misinformation. Having made my living for a number of years as a journalist, I thought it only fair that I contact you so that you can have your say. I am posing a number of questions and hope you will respond to each as best you can. My intent is to post your responses on my blog (which has had more than 10,000 hits in the last two days)
- What motivated you to seek this appointment?
- What role did Senator Trip Pittman play in this?
- Did Governor Bentley interview you? If not, who did?
- Have you ever attended a state school board meeting?
- What is your previous involvement with public schools? For instance, have you been a member of a PTA, a booster club, mentored students, been a school volunteer?
- I have heard that you have stated that your own children will not attend public schools. True or false?
- Are you still an employee of the MPO?
- According to press reports, the MPO published a report earlier this year stating that Baldwin County will need 16-20 new schools by 2040 and that you were responsible for this report. If so, how do you justify the role you played in the effort to defeat the March school tax vote that appears to be contrary to the report findings?
- How many children do you have? Their ages?
- What do you feel your major asset to the state board will be?
- What is your position in regards to the Alabama College & Career Ready standards?
- Have you been in a classroom where ACCR was being used?
- When was the last time you were in a public school? Why were you there?
- This school district is geographically very large, running from Bayou la Batre in Mobile County to Highland Home in Crenshaw County. Will you have the time required to visit schools in each of these districts, attend events, etc?
- There are 10 school systems in this district. Do you know any of the present superintendents?
- Are you familiar with the rolling reserve act? Do you think it is helpful or hurtful to our present education finance situation?
- Do you favor combining the education and general fund budgets?
- what is the best thing public schools in alabama are now doing? what is the worst thing?
- Are you familiar with the Alabama Accountability Act? If so, do you think it is actually helping failing schools in the state?
- How familiar are you with charter schools? What is your opinion of them?
- Do you have any experience with high poverty schools?
- Why did you take such an active part in the effort to defeat the tax vote?
- Do you consider yourself a member of the tea party?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Alabama public schools at this time?
- How will you as a SBOE member work to address this issue?
- The SBOE, like any political body, is often divided on certain issues. In such cases, do you consider yourself a team player (supporting the will of the body) or do you believe that minority opinions should be vocal and disruptive?
27. Since receiving this appointment, what are you doing to get up-to-speed?
- Do you know Dr. Tommy Bice, state school superintendent?
- The term for this district ends in 2016. Will you seek election to it?
I look forward to hearing from you.