If elected, what are my top priorities.
1. Identifying operational inefficiencies that are too quickly depleting/draining operational budget resources. As a member of the Operating Budget Review Committee, 2016 – current, I am convinced that there is still improvement to be made in this area.
2. To strengthen HCPSS BOE legislative advocacy and engagement at the County and State levels by harnessing the power of the voice of HCPSS parents and staff in the areas that directly impact our schools. Howard County’s voice and partnership in Annapolis, from the perspective of advocating for our schools must be a priority. The issues of greatest concern for me include safe schools legislation; MOE & funding formula amendments; strengthening bullying protections; enhancing programs and funding support to address the school to prison pipeline; continuing to pursue balance in the Special Education burden of proof model; and advocating that the freedoms and liberties we cherish in America are not abridged for any one cause.
3. As much as possible, being the bridge between the community and HCPSS Teachers and Staff. In my personal experience as a mom, I have found that too often assumptions are made before there is real dialogue. Personally, I was guilty of that as the mom of an only child in his K – 2 years. The reality is that with few exceptions, there was no ill intent. During my tenure on the BOE, I will focus on enhancing dialogue, not merely information/data output, to move HCPSS partnership with parents forward.
How do I define equity?
Let me first state that the true definition of equity seems to have been lost in today’s political climate, and that is unfortunate for all of us. Equity is defined as impartial, freedom from bias or favoritism, and when decisions that do not meet the standard for being free from bias are made out of emotion or fear it is not equitable. To be clear, there is substantial history and data regarding minority and low-income HCPSS students that clearly show that there are programmatic needs that have gone woefully unmet. A specific example is the recently published data publicly considered during the Equitable Suspension Work Sessions. Those and other need to be addressed with action to include funding and innovative, proven programs. Not rhetoric, because to not do so will ultimately be negative for all of Howard County. However, that horrible history inequitable outcomes doesn’t warrant making unwise programmatic investments in misguided effort to right wrongs, because doing so then unfairly penalizes other students. As a BOE member, I will first seek community input, conduct personal research and look for programmatic outcome justification before supporting any demand being made under the guise of equity, without fear or concern for being called bigot.
Every reliable research study indicates that a students readiness for Kindergarten impacts their academic performance through graduations. Pre-Kindergarten is one component of a system supports that is necessary to affect children's school readiness. In Maryland we will soon face the decision of how to implement aspects of the Kirwan Commission Report recommendations, including universal Pre-K. If elected, I will support policy, implementation and funding for Pre-K that does not presuppose absorbing all Pre-K into HCPSS. I will partner with HoCo parents and business owners to advocate for funding and program partnerships that recognize the importance of family choice and each child's unique need to ensure optimal school readiness and success.