A 2016 Task Is Already At Hand
After I saw a Facebook entry that Jay Mason is running for Frederick County Board of Education, I moseyed over to the county’s Board of Elections to see if there are any other candidates. Mr. Mason is the first candidate to throw his hat in the ring.
I don’t know Mr. Mason other than he’s a Realtor®, and product of Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS). He seems to be well-known by the Frederick County Teachers Associations (FCTA). Current school board member Elizabeth Barrett says we should take a look at him, so I will.
So should we all.
If you’ve been paying attention to anything I’ve written over the last six years, you know that our classrooms are no longer in our control. They aren’t even under the State of Maryland’s control.
Corporations and philanthropists like Bill Gates currently have control over what our children are learning and how they learn it. If you’re fond of the test-to-death status quo, you need not read any further.
If you are like the growing number of parents and teachers in Frederick County, and all across the country, you’ve noticed you don’t like what you see happening in your children’s classrooms.
If you know something just isn’t right, but can’t quite put your finger on it, you’re going to want to follow my TheTentacle.com columns from now until the elections in November 2016.
Many people poo-poo Board of Education elections and often either select the incumbent without knowing their qualifications, or they don’t vote those positions at all.
It’s important to not skip over them, but more important to know whom you are voting for.
Frederick County’s Board of Education historically rubber stamp whatever the superintendent recommends. So instead of pushing back against Dr. Theresa Alban and the State of Maryland, which it has every legal authority to do, it acquiesces to all the mandates and changing of standards.
All these changes come with a financial price tag. Worse, they come with an emotional and academic price tag. Students and teachers are suffering greatly under the current weight of reform interference.
If you want more of this, pay no attention to the Board of Education race in 2016. If you want honest-to-goodness change brought by men and women who actually have the ability to say “no” to the State of Maryland, Superintendent Alban, her staff and other outside forces, you’re going to have to pay attention.
There are a lot of good people who want to fight for what’s right for our children and our schools, and many work within the walls of FCPS buildings. Right now their hands are tied by an administration that has no idea what it is doing. Teacher morale is at an all-time low.
Music teachers are quitting because they are told not to let their students sing anymore; it’s not “academic” enough.
Children are bullied into participating in high stakes assessments. Parents are intimidated and lied to in order to gain their participation.
We can work to fix this by adding three new members. I have a great deal of respect and fondness for Katie Groth; I like Dr. Zakir Bengali. Joy Schaffer was divisive; but, in her non-leading role, her edges have smoothed a bit. But it’s time for all three to move on to other endeavors.
Rule #1 in picking a Board of Education member: Never choose a member solely simply because you like them.
Our schools are held hostage by corporate outsiders because past Boards of Education haven’t had the stomach to say “no,” or to question FCPS administration. They blindly “follow” when they’re supposed to “lead.”
In my future columns, I plan on writing about each candidate and how I think they’ll fit in to “my” vision of public education. So, you don’t have to comb through my Facebook page or elsewhere, here it is:
Education isn’t to create the workforce of tomorrow. In 12 years, who knows what the workforce will look like?
Education should spark imagination and foster in children the desire to discover while giving them the tools to do so. Their worlds are expanded through literature, music, sports, art, science, government and even math.
My vision isn’t necessarily yours. I’m okay with that. When you read what I share in the months to come, keep in mind what my vision is.
I’ll recommend voting for candidates based on their wanting to teach to the “whole” child, not the desire to create a worker bee. I’m ferreting out those who will continue this outside controlled, institutional, homogenized mess we are currently embroiled in.
Let’s make 2017 the year we change Maryland public education from outside controlled to community controlled.