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Arizona Daily Sun - "Universal health insurance: CD-1 Dems say yes, GOP no; But on abstinence-only sex ed, the tables are turned"

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Arizona Daily Sun - "Universal health insurance: CD-1 Dems say yes, GOP no; But on abstinence-only sex ed, the tables are turned"
Editor's note: Third in a five-part series



1. Do you support tying federal school funding to schools' test scores?

2. Do you support the use of public money to fund private or religious schools?

3. Do you support sex education programs that teach abstinence only?

4. Do you support increased teacher testing and/or merit pay?

5. Do you support universal health insurance for Americans?

6. Do you support federal funding for expanding stem cell research?

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Barry Hall, Sedona

1. Yes. I was a public school teacher and do not feel the average teacher needs more performance pressure than the job itself demands. I understand that the testing itself is an issue. Nonetheless, some teachers and schools fall so far below acceptable achievement standards that test scores have a place.

2. Yes. Non-public schools should not be viewed as threats to the public interest, and therefore full participants in the arena of education. A slight potential that we as a nation have not encountered is that private and religious schools could some day exist to teach extremist anti-American terroristic dogma.

3. Yes. The abstinence orientation ought to be the most apparent and respected building block in any logical sex education program. I prefer that the schools honor abstinence only and leave any other approaches to family counselors and families.

4. Yes. The children are tested. Why not the teachers too? Educational programs can be overly idealistic, hoop-oriented, and rigorous, and therefore lose the practical concerns for which they were created. Revision can be in order. The merit pay aims at modifying the efforts of teachers to improve.

5. No. I would consider aggressive public and commercial partnerships.

6. No. I would support conservative stem cell research.
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Tom Hansen, St. Johns

1. No. Standardized tests should be used as a guide for continual educational improvement, but not as the sole means to judge the quality of an education. We must provide an environment that encourages educators to teach our children how to think and instill in them a lifelong thirst for knowledge.

2. Yes private, no religious. Arizona's generally excellent experience with home schooling, open enrollment and charter schools has demonstrated that giving parents options can improve an individual student's education. In all cases accountability for accreditation must be assured, however.

3. No. I should not make that determination for others. Parents, through their local elected school boards, should have the right to determine what will be taught to their children in sex education classes. Not federal or state officials. I support the right of a local school board to make that decision.

4. Yes. But, implementing the concept of merit pay must include proper and complete training for the people evaluating educators to ensure the program does not become a "pay for popularity" program. Evaluators may need to be fully independent from administration to ensure this program works fairly.

5. No. Severely limiting malpractice liability for medical caregivers is the first step that needs to be taken to reduce the cost and improve availability of affordable, quality health care.

6. Yes, but only if the stem cells are not derived from, or in any way alter, live embryos, or create effective cloning of human beings.
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Sydney Hay, Munds Park, Scottsdale

1. No. I prefer strong state and local accountability measures.

2. The wording of this question misses the point. The funding belongs to the child, not the school Education dollars should follow every child to the school of their parents choosing, whether public, private or religious. This empowers parents to seek out and find the best educational opportunity for their children.

3. Yes. Abstinence programs have proven effective by giving young people the tools to say, "No."

4. Yes. As a former teacher, I believe that teachers ought to be respected like the true professionals they are. These programs are best handled at the state and local levels.

5. No. I believe in market-based reforms to lower the cost of healthcare, provide greater access to insurance at lower costs and to keep healthcare decisions between the patient and doctor, not government actuaries or insurance administrators.

6. Adult stem cell and cord blood research has resulted in amazing cures and has great promise. This is where our focus and our funding should be directed. Embryonic stem cell research has been a colossal failure and is wrong. I would oppose increased federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
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Preston Korn, Flagstaff

1. No. I believe the control of the schools belongs to the local schools, not the federal government. Any money from the federal government should come with no strings attached.

2. Parents have the right to choose how to educate their children whether it be homeschool, private, public, charter or magnet. If they've paid taxes into the system for education they should have the right to choose how it's used. It's the parent's choice, not the government's.

3. Yes. I believe sexual activity belongs inside marriage. Abstinence is the most effective measure against both pregnancy and STDs.

4. No. Teacher performance has too many factors out of their control which come into play such as quality of home life, quality of parents and quality of child training at home. All children and their situations are different. Our system is not flexible enough which is why I support school choice.

5. No. We currently can't fund the future of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. How are we going to fund yet another entitlement program? Insurance companies should be allowed to operate across state lines. Some pay $1200 per month in one state and $600 in another for the exact same coverage.

6. I do not support funding of any kind for embryonic stem cell research. Adult stem research I do support.

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Ann Kirkpatrick, Flagstaff

1. No. We all want our children to attend good schools with inspiring teachers who prepare them to compete in a global economy. President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act fails to achieve that goal. We need a system that offers local control, delivers real student performance and supports teachers.

2. No. The public school system is a cornerstone of our democracy, ensuring that every child is afforded the opportunity to succeed. We need to invest in our public schools in order to keep that promise to future generations.

3. No. Research has shown that abstinence-only education is not the most effective way to decrease teen pregnancy. Sex education programs should advocate for abstinence, but also give students age-appropriate information about preventing pregnancy and disease.

4. No. I support efforts to improve teachers' salaries and training, but I believe that merit pay can be divisive and discourage cooperation among teachers. Great teachers are the most critical element to a good education, and sharing knowledge and experience is vital to improving teachers' performance.

5. All Americans should have quality, affordable healthcare. As we work toward that goal, we must fix some critical short-term problems by ensuring that all children can see a doctor regularly, easing the burden on small businesses, and guaranteeing that no one is denied treatment because of a pre-existing condition.

6. Yes. Stem cell research could produce the cure for debilitating diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes and stroke. Federal funding will improve our chances of finding new treatments and cures.
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Howard Shanker, Flagstaff/Ahwatukee

1. No. It's often the schools with the worst test scores that need the most funding. It also further encourages educators to solely teach to the test, rather than focus on a well-rounded education.

2. No. I don't believe it should be the burden of the taxpayers to fund sending children to private or religious schools.

3. No. Sex education has to be based on the realities of the society in which we live.

4. I do not support merit pay based on student test scores; again, this encourages teachers to simply teach to a test. I do, however, support the National Education Association's program to educate, prepare, and support teachers, and I am a strong believer in providing healthy teacher salaries to retain strong educators.

5. Yes. It is within our power to provide everyone with adequate health care while saving our economy billions of dollars. We can do this through the universal, single-payer health care bill introduced into Congress by Rep. Conyers. This will also provide enormous help to small businesses.

6. Yes. Stem cell research offers promising results for solutions to major illnesses and diseases that have plagued us for generations.
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Mary Kim Titla, San Carlos, Chandler and Tucson

1. No.

2. No

3. No.

4. No.

5. Yes. I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure every American has the same benefits I would have as a member of Congress.

6. Yes. I would support research on existing lines.

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Brent Maupin, Village of Oak Creek

1. In short, Yes. However, first and foremost I believe in overhauling or even repealing the No Child Left Behind Act. This being said, holding our schools accountable is necessary and tying funding to their performance is one tool in which to do so.

2. No

3. No

4. Yes

5. In short, yes. Although I have not found the perfect system. Perhaps we could have both private and a government sponsored medical insurance program, one that all participants must pay into. However, we as citizens must become more responsible for our health.

6. Yes. Recent breakthroughs now allow for research to be done without using a human fetus.

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