Hamilton, Clermont County, OH November 2, 1999 Election
Smart Voter

Jim Yunker Answers Questions

Candidate for
Board Member; Forest Hills Local School District

Candidate Answers Questions on the Issues

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of Hamilton County and asked of all candidates for this office.

Read the answers from all candidates.

Questions & Answers

1. What effect would the community (charter) schools have on the public schools in your district?

These new independent public schools seem to be the latest trend in school reform and may be wonderful alternatives for many parents in urban school systems seeking to turn around failing schools. While charter schools may provide for creativity, competition and accountability, as proponents claim, it's too soon to know their effectiveness. Relative to Forest Hills School District, I do not believe such schools will be needed within our district given the recently published report by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). All district taxpayers and residents as well as teachers -- and our students -- should be proud that Forest Hills School District met 27 of 27 of the State of Ohio's minimum performance standards for 1998-99 proficiency test scores, attendance rates and graduation rates. According to the ODE, a district is considered "effective" for achieving 26 or more of the 27 standards. Our district was one of only five of Hamilton County's 23 districts which achieved 27/27. Furthermore, Forest Hills is, by far, the largest district of those top five which makes the achievement even more meaningful.

2. Evaluate the adequacy of support services, beyond state standards, presently provided for special-needs students in your district.

Based on my personal volunteer involvement and participation as a classroom Dad in my children's FHSD elementary school, I am genuinely concerned that the current level of support services -- and that includes personnel -- are stretched very, very thin. Following a series of fact-finding conversations I currently am having with the nine building principals, Central Office administrators, parents and teachers, I will have a better understanding of the situation and be in a position to offer a personal evaluation based on facts.

3. Has the use of proficiency tests in your school improved the education of students?

Probably not! The emphasis placed on the State's proficiency testing has indeed focused teachers and students in many schools on being prepared for the tests, but that doesn't necessarily translate to "improved education." All taxpayers, and particularly parents, teachers, administrators -- and our youth -- should be proud that Forest Hills School District met 27 of 27 of the State of Ohio's minimum performance standards for the 1998-99 proficiency test scores, attendance rates and graduation rates. That said, however, as a parent and former teacher, I am concerned that our curriculum not be driven by the State of Ohio testing system, but by what's important for our kids to learn and how our teachers can best help them learn.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League, but formatted for Web display. Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 300 words for all 3 answers. Simple spelling or typographical errors were corrected after confirmation with the candidate.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 11, 1999 14:58
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