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February 10, 2012

Preparing Students for the Real World Part 2

Amanda Haddaway

Today we continue with the responses of candidates for the Frederick County Board of Education in this year’s election to a basic question. Yesterday we posted the responses of three of them.


The question is: How should the school system appropriately and adequately prepare students for the “real world.”


Here’s what they had to say. The responses are in alphabetical order.


Jim Hoover: “Generally, the way public education is provided has not changed in over 200 years. Students come to school to learn how to read, write, add, subtract and to become good citizens. The percentage of students that go on to earn a college degree has increased over the past 20 years. However, the fact remains the same: the majority of students receiving public education will not earn a college degree. As we continue to face the downturn in the economy, our responsibility of making sure FCPS students are prepared for the “real world” is increasing more than ever.


“The Board of Education needs to evaluate its goals, current practices and curriculum to make sure students are being provided with the best opportunities to enter the workforce immediately after graduation.


“As a member of the Board of Education, I will work with other board members and the administration to revise curriculum programs and opportunities as needed. Emphasis should be put on career path programs such as computer science, technical and industrial classes.”


Emily Ann Meyer: “In my opinion, the best way to ensure students are ready for “the real world” is to provide them with a quality education that prepares them for whatever path they choose – be it further education or entering the workforce.


“I further believe that the best way to do that is to: 1) recruit and retain quality teachers by offering competitive salaries and benefits, and 2) ensure that the curriculum is comprehensive and rigorous.


“However, academics alone is not enough. I also wish to see graduates who are well-rounded and would push to avoid funding cuts to athletics, music and other extracurricular activities as I believe it is important to ensure that creativity and camaraderie are also fostered.


“Finally, I whole-heartedly approve of the recently implemented requirement that all Maryland public schools provide students with instruction in personal financial literacy, which will also go a long way to ensuring that whatever path a graduate takes, he/she will be equipped to make informed decisions regarding money.”


Cindy Rose: “A primary function, if not ‘the’ primary function of the Board of Education is curriculum. Historically the FCPS/BOE has not been diligent in this regard. They have offered our students texts and resources that do not give them an accurate picture of the world around them. A prior BOE member said on the record he chose a specific text book because of its inclusive pictures. He didn't say because it was content rich, but because it had pictures he approved of.


“We need to stop teaching social mores, political ideology and focus more on facts. I can't state it enough that an FCPS curriculum specialist told me ‘facts don't matter.’


“FCPS teaching on government is in need of an overhaul. The state has removed government from the HSA (High School Assessments). It leaves in biology but removes government. Why? They'll say it's about cost. Isn't it more important to know how your country functions than to know the chemical content of an organism? Every person is going to need knowledge of government to function productively in society. How government works, delegated federal powers, your rights under the Constitution (U.S. and state), state's rights under the Constitution, political parties, voting, powers/responsibilities of the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of the federal government.


“These are things students should know when they graduate. FCPS elementary children are being taught we have a ‘national’ government, we do not, it's ‘federal’ and there is a huge difference, but our children don't know it. Do we really feel biology is more important, in your real world model, than government?


“I would do my best to ensure our children get a factually based, complex curriculum vs. a social/political one. We need to teach the world “as it is,” not the world ‘as we would like it.’ I would like to see the hand of bureaucrats OUT of our education system.”


Pam Ward: “FCPS is preparing students to enter the ‘real world’ now by making sure they take a strong course load in math and English, but also because they are required to take technology or engineering courses, they are better prepared to go out into the 21st Century work environment.


“I would suggest that students in 12th grade take one of the four required math classes in their senior year. Too many math processes are forgotten with large gaps of time between courses.


“The course options at the Career and Technology Center offer students the chance to learn valuable trades and skill to put to use in a career directly after high school if they so desire.


“I fully support the implementation of ‘Personal Financial Literacy’ curriculum into the system next year. Preparing our students ahead of time for the responsibilities of running a household budget, understanding how investments are made and how they grow, starting a business, etc., will make them ready for the real world, because these financial transactions won’t be a shock to them, they will already have a knowledge base from which to draw.”


Responses from the other five candidates – Zakir Bengali, Donna J. Crook, Kiesha La Kay Edmonds, Joy Schaefer, and Tom Shade – were not received.


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