The program was scheduled to start at 5:30, and anyone who wanted to write a question was asked to arrive at 5:15 (but they continued to collect questions until about 5:40).
|The room at 5:15, seats filling up fast.|
There were many supporters of Portia Bonner in the audience. By luck of the draw, she went first. You can see some of the audience in the photo below--there were many extra seats being set up just after 5:30, out of shot in the photo, and there were a dozen or so people watching from the balcony. Definitely a standing-room only event.
Anthony Mazzullo was the second candidate to "interview" with us...
...which meant Kathy Ouellette was the last. The entire program lasted until 8:30. Kudos to everyone who stayed through the whole thing (those chairs are not the most comfortable ones to sit in for three hours!).
Although everyone in the audience was pretty tired by the end, there were quite a few interesting conversations about the educational issues raised. One major issue to be discussed was the importance of standardized test scores. Mazzullo and Ouellette were polar opposites on the topic. Mazzullo feels that there is too much emphasis placed on test scores, whereas Ouellette seemed to be a firm believer in basing all action on test score data. I'm not a big fan of test score data, since I rarely tested well. Certainly tests can be an indicator of progress or lack thereof, but information needs to be acquired from other sources. For example, surveying college professors to find out what skills are consistently missing from students coming from the public schools could be very helpful.
I'm not going to try to cover the entire Q&A at the forum (in fact, I missed a chunk of it when I had to step out to a meeting of the Hall of Fame committee). But for more information, you can check out Bryan Baker's Twitter feed. There will also be a write-up in the Republican-American.