Table 4 Summary-2016 BOE Candidate Forum

November 5, 2016

  1. Mavis Ellis

    1. What is your view on magnet schools, given that they are supposed to be located  in underprivileged areas to encourage certain people to attend?

      1. Montgomery County (where she works) magnet schools are effective and working.

      2. Mavis is working hard to make sure they are efficient.

      3. There are certain qualifications and requirements in order to go to magnet schools.

    1. What is your stance on magnet schools and affirmative action?

      1. She believes there should be neither quotas nor population ratios for recruiting people to magnet schools.

    2. What about the extremely gifted and talented students that are not challenged enough normally in school?

      1. She advocates for specific certificate courses and additional programs for gifted children.

    3. Nearly every student is on the GT/AP course curriculum, but some students are not necessarily qualified. What should be done?

      1. GT/AP courses should be more challenging, and students should feel that way.

      2. The program is a good idea, but its success is dependent on how well the teachers can apply the system to the students.

    4. Programs like “No Child Left Behind” are draining resources for the average students. What do you think needs to happen?

      1. “No Child Left Behind” is no longer being applied.

      2. Teachers need to be put at higher standards so parents don't have to push their children to do better.

      3. It is the teachers responsibility to give students harder work if they need it and vise versa.

    5. What is your view on standardized testing?

      1. Reduce testing because it lessens teaching time.

      2. Calls for parent support in order to reduce testing.

      3. Supports more involvement by parents and students in decision-making for testing.

      4. In support of music and fine art programs.

    6. What do you think is the biggest challenge to the Board?

      1. Wants to change the culture of Board.

      2. Believes the current Board superintendent is inadequate.

      3. Advocates for transparency between the board, parents, and students because no one is getting the information they need right now.

      4. Thinks collaboration extremely important, especially communication with parents and students.

    7. Some teachers reign freely over their classes and act like “dictators”. How do you suggest we correct this issue?

      1. Suggest parents raise concerns as a group as opposed to individually.

      2. Pushes for the need to have unbiased classes for students.

    8. How would you help to establish a system for evaluating teachers?

      1. Acknowledges there is a need to be a system to evaluate current teachers.

  1. Christina Delmont -Small

    1. What is your stance on professional development classes for teachers?

      1. Believes professional development classes are out of touch with what actually happens in the classroom because the superintendent is making decisions for educators.

      2. Teachers need to be given more respect and their opinions should be acknowledged.

      3. The Board only wants to hear the good results of the legislation being passed, but negative feedback is necessary as well if the system wishes to improve and grow.

      4. Wants to see changes in terms of getting teachers what they need as opposed to what they are getting right now.

    2. How does the Board of Education work and how is it structured?

      1. There is 1 superintendent who makes the decisions with no checks and balances to reduce his/her power.

      2. There is no overseeing of others in the system (teachers, students, parents).

      3. The Board is more system-centered rather than student-centered.

      4. Advocates for a Board that asks the right questions at the right time.

      5. Currently, teachers are asked to give only good feedback, which it completely unacceptable.

    3. Some teachers reign freely over their classes and act like “dictators”. How do you suggest we correct this issue?

      1. Anecdote - A student needs a recommendation letter from a certain teacher, which makes it difficult to challenge the teacher in the classroom.

      2. Advocated for a feedback system that sends data straight to the Board instead of school authorities because they are usually associate with teachers as friends.

      3. Understands that some teachers need help to become better teachers as well as a need for a method of direct communication to help students.

    4. How do you think teachers should be evaluated?

      1. Current SLO method is inaccurate and inefficient.

      2. Advocates for a feedback system that is completely unrelated to teachers to minimize bias and favoritism.

    5. If a teacher receives a bad evaluation, does that lead to the teacher being fired?

      1. Acknowledges the teachers union and their influence, making it difficult to fire teachers arbitrarily.

      2. Advocates for a better relationship with the union.

      3. Explains that teachers that need help should have access to help, but if there is no improvement, then the teacher would be fired.

    6. There is a very fine line between completely revolutionary ideas versus improvement. How do you suggest we walk that fine line?

      1. The Board should be more accepting of parent and student ideas/opinions.

    7. How do you think we should fine tune the education system?

      1. The current Board is not very good at accepting bad results from decisions the superintendent makes.

      2. There needs to be feedback in order to be more open to change and improvement.

      3. There needs to be more communication with teachers because there is a disconnect between authority (making the decisions) and teachers (that actually experience the repercussions).

      4. Need to work to make a good school system even better.

    8. Nearly every student is on the GT course curriculum, but some students are not necessarily qualified. What should be done?

      1. If everyone is in GT, then no one is in GT.

      2. Each individual school needs to adapt to their own GT standards, as opposed to the goals the county sets.

      3. Parents and students should be able to have flexibility when it comes to moving in and out of GT programs.

  2. Name: Vicky Cutroneo

      1. How do you think teachers should be evaluated?

        1. Advocates for a 360° evaluation.

        2. Below the teachers are the students giving feedback and above the teachers are the authorities giving feedback.

      2. Some teachers reign freely over their classes and act like “dictators”. How do you suggest we correct this issue?

        1. An evaluation process should be developed to redirect less effective teachers out of the system because the teacher and principal loop now is ineffective.

        2. Acknowledges that because of the teachers union, it is very difficult to fire teachers.

        3. Teachers should listen more to the students’ feedback.

      3. If you were elected to the Board, what would be the biggest change you would advocate for?

        1. Wants collaboration, wants people to listen and do something about the issues that arise.

        2. Very pro minority groups.

        3. There need to be more action and less talk.

        4. Improvement to the budget and spending because there is a lof money being wasted on unnecessary things (gallup polls, MAPP testing). The little things build up and a lot of money is being wasted on things that do not have to do with education. However, the current Board is not asking the correct questions about the budget and money usage.

        5. Wants to reduce class sizes.

        6. GT classes need to be more challenging to prevent students from losing interest because the county is too concerned with numbers, but students are not data points.

        7. The system need to work to elevate everyone, not pull certain people down.

      4. How do you think teachers should be evaluated?

        1. Social media venues should be used more often to help teachers speak out.

        2. Teachers should not be scared to raise criticisms in regards to the education system.

      5. What is your stance on affirmative action?

        1. Wants to bring up the standards for GT and AP classes because that is where the root of the problem stems from.

        2. Understands that certain people have to spend money and seek help outside of school because the education is not there.

        3. There are complex problems because the students are being pushed too hard.

      6. What is your opinion on block periods and breaks in high school?

        1. There is a lot of wasted time to lunches.

        2. Open to new ideas.

        3. Believes breaks are very important because clubs use that time to gather and they reduce stress.

      7. What is your stance on later start times?

        1. Acknowledges the need for later start times and more sleep.

        2. Issues that arise: an 9:15AM start time for high schools is not okay because high schools have after school jobs, clubs, sports, etc.

      8. What do you suggest should be done about the overpopulated schools in our county?

        1. Something needs to be done now.

  3. Name: Kristin Coombs

    1. Nearly every student is on the GT course curriculum, but some students are not necessarily qualified. What should be done?

      1. Teachers are being told to get students into GT and AP classes.

      2. Students can’t even drop out of GT and AP classes because the county wants higher numbers.

      3. The mental and physical well-being of child is not as important as the number of students in Howard County that are in GT and AP programs.

    2. How do you think teachers should be evaluated?

      1. The teachers union and Board have developed a consulting teacher program in another county.

      2. If a teacher is struggling then consulting teachers (retired teachers) are sent to help with time management, teaching, etc.

      3. If no improvement is observed, then the teachers are let go.

      4. It is a good program because there are more opinions involved, but Howard County did not adopt the program.

      5. The parents should be able to provide input, and there should be a feedback loop

    3. Some teachers reign freely over their classes and act like “dictators”. How do you suggest we correct this issue?

      1. Teachers are scared to speak up because the county tells them to only give positive feedback and not comment on failures.

    4. What do you suggest should be done about the overpopulated schools in our county?

      1. Have more students move west.

      2. More regional programs to draw students to under capacity schools (ROTC)

      3. Redistricting is the main way to solve the issue at hand.

        1. Make a plan to follow for redistricting (flow chart matrix).

        2. The chart would provide a scientific way to explain decisions.

    5. What is your opinion on block periods and breaks in high school?

      1. Wants educators involved in decision making.

      2. Needs to know the impact of breaks on students in real life.

      3. Decisions made in a bubble

    6. What is your stance on affirmative action?

      1. Advocated for a merit based system.

      2. Wants early intervention initiatives for children ages 0 to 5.

      3. Wants to make people more aware of the resources that are available to them before they enter the school system.

  4. Name: Janet Siddiqui

    1. As a former member of the Board, why should I reelect you given the notable lack of transparency between the Board and parents, students, and teachers?

      1. Authority comes with the entire board

      2. Superintendent Foose met all the goals that were set for achievement gaps, resources, etc.

      3. Superintendent Foose took risks that benefited the system.

        1. She benchmarked our high school students to students in China, Singapore, and Finland.

        2. She put special emphasis on infrastructure.

      4. There have been increased teacher salaries.

      5. Teachers have been able to teach what they are good at.

      6. Teachers have not left the system, in fact, 300 new teachers come every year.

        1. Teachers want to teach in Howard County because of the benefits that are available.

      7. Board had to make a lot of difficult financial cuts this year.

    2. Some teachers reign freely over their classes and act like “dictators”. How do you suggest we correct this issue?

      1. There needs to be a better feedback system with checks and balances.

      2. It would be a collaborative effort.

    3. What do you suggest should be done about the overpopulated schools in our county?

      1. Redistricting is a very difficult decision to make.

      2. For the short term, portables, regional programs, etc.

      3. For mid to long term, STEM programs at a school. JHU land is open with opportunity to expand there. Open enrollment must be done correctly and must be socioeconomically fair.

    4. How are principals chosen in the system?

      1. Decision is based on the Superintendent, not the people.

    5. How would you recommend we increase communication between students, parents, and teachers?

      1. There is currently not enough time for communication.

      2. Board still needs to sit down and have those conversations.

    6. Students taking the same class may have different teachers and therefore different tests. How is this fair?

      1. Common Core allows for resources for teachers.

      2. There needs to be more communication between teachers regarding tests.

    7. Why is the PSAT required for all students?

      1. The PSAT is available to all students because there are merits for doing well.

      2. Not every school has same policy on the PSAT.

  5. Name: Robert Miller

    1. What do you suggest should be done about the overpopulated schools in our county?

      1. Something needs to be done.

      2. When redistricting, try to keep communities together.

      3. Socioeconomic distribution should be relatively even.

      4. There will be a skewness in districting (towards the west).

      5. The priority should be to fill schools that have not reached capacity as opposed to decreasing travel time for students.

    2. Nearly every student is on the GT course curriculum, but some students are not necessarily qualified. What should be done?

      1. Do not get rid of honors courses in high schools.

      2. For skill-based classes (reading, math) - should be distinct levels. Do not push students into taking classes they cannot handle. People who learn at different levels placed in one class is a loss-loss.

      3. Students should be able to easily move between classes.

      4. For non-skill based classes (social studies, science, fine arts, music) everything other than english and math should be heterogeneous based on level because students can be exposed to and work with students of differing levels.

      5. Wants to reduce tests to make time to connect with parents and provide assistance to individual students.

    3. Some teachers reign freely over their classes and act like “dictators”. How do you suggest we correct this issue?

      1. Feedback is absolutely necessary, however, good teachers build it into the class.

      2. Most teachers take criticisms well but one never knows.

      3. There needs to be a way to anonymously communicate between students and teachers and give feedback to teachers.

      4. Advice should come from the student level first, then the parents, and lastly the administrators.

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