How to Conduct a Legislative Interview, or Survey of Candidates or Elected Officials
The purpose of this type of interview (or survey) is to gauge the attitudes, knowledge, and interests about arts education of candidates or elected officials of the Ohio House, Ohio Senate, State Board of Education, or other elected offices. The interview provides an opportunity to become acquainted with candidates or elected officials and to develop a rapport with them. The interview/survey is not the time to lobby for a particular issue, but is a “fact finding mission” to determine which candidates or elected officials are supportive of the arts, which are not, and who can be persuaded with the appropriate information.
These questions can be used to conduct an interview/survey by email, mail, phone, or in person. The questions can also be asked at a candidates’ night forum.
To locate your current representatives in the Ohio House or Senate visit: www.legislature.state.oh.us
To locate your State Board of Education representative visit: education.ohio.gov
To locate candidates for office please contact your county board of elections at: www.sos.state.oh.us
Before the Interview/Survey
1) Be sure to make an appointment if you plan to conduct an interview in person. If you plan to conduct a survey by mail, then include a cover letter to explain its purpose, and a self-addressed and stamped envelope for the candidate/official to use to return the survey to you.
2) Do some research about the candidate/official so that you can personalize the interview, especially if the interview is going to be conducted in person. Check newspapers, campaign literature, committee assignments, or ask colleagues what they know about the candidate/official.
3) Be prepared to answer questions about the arts education programs in your school and district, especially programs supported by grants from the Ohio Arts Council, since these are funded through the state’s biennial budget.
4) Bring a colleague along to serve as a recorder if you are doing a personal interview. It is very difficult to conduct a conversation and also record answers, so have someone accompany you to record the responses and keep the interview on track.
During the Interview
Allow the candidate/official to do most of the talking. This is an opportunity to find out their opinions and what they want to do in office. Listen to points of disagreement to determine if the positions are based on principles or a lack of knowledge. Be courteous. Remember that today’s foe is tomorrow’s ally. Thank the candidate/official for past support of your school, the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, or other arts organizations.
After the Interview
Send a thank-you note to the candidate/elected official, and any follow-up materials that were promised.
Interview/ Survey Questions for Candidates and/or Elected Officials
**Questions can also be used at a Candidates’ Night
1. What value do you think an education in the arts (dance, drama/theatre, music, visual art, media arts) provides students in the 21st Century?
2. How would you support high quality instruction in the arts for all students?
3. Should school districts receive specific state funding (through a separate formula) to support arts education K-12?
4. Will you support a requirement that all students in Ohio’s public schools graduate with one-credit in the arts? (The arts are defined as dance, drama/theater, music, media arts, and visual arts.)
(Under current law, Section 3313.603 of the Ohio Revised Code, some students are required to complete two semesters or the equivalent in grades 7-12 in the arts in order to receive a diploma.)
5. Will you support a way to measure and rank the creative/innovation learning opportunities that schools/districts offer students?