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 County Council.

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.

I am absolutely fine with the creation of a Suspension Review Panel. The proposal for the panel that was laid out in paragraph three sounds very reasonable. As a teacher, I have concerns about letting students know that there is a moratorium on any type of discipline. However, I am not in favor of out of school suspension to begin with. Of course, there are certain infractions, such as bringing a weapon to school, that unfortunately make this type of punishment a necessity. We need our students in school, being supervised and learning, whenever possible. And we need discipline to be applied fairly.  

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.

I feel that the establishment of a Minority Affairs Advisory Committee would be beneficial to FCPS. This would seem to me to be a low-cost method to begin to address this issue. As you are well aware, research shows that all students, but especially students of color, benefit when the staff looks more like the student body.
I will include here my answer to a question from the Frederick News-Post questionnaire on the teacher shortage, particular of minority teachers. “The implementation of the salary scale is a good start. It has meant a great deal, particularly to newer teachers. It helps send the message that Frederick County values its teachers. Aside from financial compensation, prospective employees need to feel that the school system has resources and supports for successful teaching, as well as opportunities for career advancement. Beyond the school system, we need to ask ourselves what the community has to offer and if it is a welcoming environment. We need to look at the successes of other jurisdictions and implement their strategies. We should find ways to work more closely with colleges that have greater numbers of minority pre-service teachers. FCPS already has the Teacher Academy of Maryland at the Career & Technology Center. We need to do our best to recruit minority students to this program, so we are home growing our future teachers.”

Recently the Maryland legislature passed a law allowing tow (2) years of tuition free 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?

With skyrocketing college tuition costs, a major part of my platform has been to support our Career & Technology Center and other measures that would help students achieve gainful employment without accruing massive debt. Tuition-free community college is a wonderful opportunity for our students, especially ones that might not otherwise have seen this as an option. One would hope that the school system, as well as community colleges, would have an informational campaign. The superintendent could have community meetings, as well as the guidance counselors at each high school. Since the community colleges will benefit from this legislation, I would also think they would be promoting this plan. 


Karen Yoho
Candidate for Board of Education


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