Tomorrow is Primary Day. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Willie J. Mahone, President of the the Frederick County Branch of the NAACP, recognizes the important role every voter plays in the election process. "It's important for all of us to understand the impact we can have on local politics if we exercise our right to vote. While we do not endorse one candidate over another, we feel that it's important voters are aware of key issues in this upcoming primary that may influence their choices." 

The Government and Political Affairs Committee of the Frederick Branch recently prepared a list of questions, listed below, for the candidates running for the Board of Education and the City Council.

Questions for candidates running for the County Council.

  1. Although several requests have been made, there has been no information regarding the participation of ethnic minorities and women in contracting by the Frederick County government. Do you think that such information is important and what actions would you take to actively support the involvement of ethnic minorities and women in Frederick County contracting.

  2. The City of Frederick has agreed to eliminate "check the box" on applications for employment in city government. Would you support doing the same in Frederick County government?

  3. In other jurisdictions in the State of Maryland have statutes giving specific protections to women, ethnic minorities, and LGBT individuals. Would you support such legislation in Frederick County? 

  4. What will you do to facilitate involvement of ethnic minorities in the hotel/conference center construction and operation?

  5. Government has a bad track record when it comes to investing in conference centers and hotels. In a June 7, 2017 article, the Baltimore Sun noted the Baltimore city owned Hilton Baltimore Convention Center had an accumulated deficit of nearly $85 million. The same financing model is being used for the hotel/conference development in Frederick. What will you do to protect County taxpayers from the burden of paying for this project?

  6. With the passing of the gambling revenue bill in 2008, money was to be put in a lockbox for funding our schools, yet portable classrooms predominate every campus in the county. What would you do to ensure that revenue from gambling goes toward educating our children? 

  7. Do you support a living wage and family leave for Frederick County? 

  8. Do you support funding universal pre-kindergarten?

Questions for candidates running for the Board of Education

A December 23, 2017 Frederick New Post article highlighted that impoverished and ethnic minority students are given out-of-school suspensions at disproportionate rates to other students, and noted t11at several offenses for which the students are suspended "rely much heavily on the discretion of teachers and administrations ... '' The article reported that the school Superintendent Terry Alban acknowledged that "Research shows that the same offenses might get a different reaction depending on the race of the student" and that she has initiated a program "focused on leadership and really trying to unpack our own journeys and our own cultural competencies and implicit bias". Superintendent Alban projects that "in the next two to three years we will begin to see some changes in those discrepancies". 
The Frederick County NAACP condemns the suspension system that unfairly impacts any class of students, including ethnic minorities .. We further take the position that equal educational access should not be delayed to begin in two to three years, and steps should be tak.en to immediately abrogate this injustice. To that end we have called for MORATORIUM and REVIEW. 
Specifically, we are calling for the establishment of a Suspension Review Panel that would review a proposed long-term out-of school suspension of ethnic minority students, and make an advisory recommendation. The panel would include community members who are not employees of the Frederick County Public Schools, and may also include school staff and employees. The panel would necessarily consider alternatives to suspension and modes of intervention, and would not be precluded from concurring with the suspension recommendation. As such the Panel may indeed end up validating the proposed action. 
Please indicate whether you support the establishment of a Suspension Review Panel, and if not, the basis of your opposition to such a Panel.
Recently obtained data indicates a significant disparity in the number and percentage oaf African American teachers hired by the Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) over the last four (4) years. Additionally a Frederick News Post article of November 18, 2017 quoted a member of the Frederick County Board of Education as stating that the school system has a goal of having the teaching body match the demographics of the students. Ken Kerr stated that the district would have to hire 82 minority teachers to reach that goal. However the school system only hired 3 African American teachers in 2015, 9 in 2016, and 8 in 2017. Juxtaposed is the hiring of 150 non-minority teachers in 2015, 216 in 2016, and 248 in 2017. African Americans represented 2% of new teacher hires in 2015, 4% in 2016, and about 3.6% in 2017, while the African American student population hovered around 39% for those years. Under the current hiring system. not only will parity remain elusive, but continue to regress, notwithstanding the enunciation of laudatory goals.
Similarly, preliminary review of data regarding the academic placement of ethnic minority students indicates an unconscionable disparity of ethnic minority disparity of ethnic placement in the more challenging and life-rewarding curricula. 
Additionally, the NAACP has received several complaints of racially motivated harassments of ethnic minority students, ranging from name calling, utterance of racial epithets. improper conduct by school staff, and actual physical assaults. 
In light of the above, as well as documented disproportionate disciplinary actions, the NAACP is calling for the establishment of a Minority Affairs Advisory Committee. That Committee would have jurisdiction to investigate and make recommendations regarding the foregoing issues, as well as other matters relating to minority students staff. The Board of Education currently has several standing committees, as authorized·by Section 4-112 of the Education Article of the Code of Maryland, in the areas of Special Education, Family Life, Career and Technology, etc.
Please indicate whether you support the establishment of a Minority Affairs Advisory Committee, and if not. the basis of your opposition to such a Committee.
Recently the Maryland legislature passed a law allowing tow (2) years of tuition £tee community college for most Marylanders. There is a means test that most families can meet. and the student must have maintained a 2.3 grade point average. We see that legislation as creating a window of opportunity for many struggling families and students who would not otherwise conceive of advanced education. 
Do you support an informational campaign by the Frederick County School System, or any other actions, top ensure that the $}dents and their parents are aware of this opportunity?

Willie Mahone
NAACP Frederick County Branch


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