Cindy Rose is seeking a seat on the Frederick County Board of Education. The primary is June 26.
What is your vision for Frederick County Public Schools over the next four years?
I’d like to see Frederick County Public Schools head back in the direction of locally controlled classrooms. Currently our English, Math, Science, Social Studies and Art (music, dance, theater, etc.) standards are owned and controlled by people who don’t live in our neighborhoods nor have children attending our schools. Our Board of Education has the power to say no to this continual march away from locally controlled classrooms toward for profit, test to success education.
Do you think Frederick County Public Schools have effectively used resources to keep schools safe? What do you think needs to happen to make schools more safe?
According to the FNP February 9, 2018 article, suspension have risen dramatically. 3,744 suspensions in 2016-17; 1,138 in 2014-15 that’s increase of 228%. We aren’t using the resource of “authority” effectively. Teachers and administrators aren’t there to be the students “friends” they are educators and mentors. We’ve blurred the lines. There’s a lack of respect.
When 276 teachers are assaulted, we’ve lost control of something – fear of consequences.
In 2007 Superintendent Burgee convened task force after a rape at Tuscarora High School. That task force made certain safety recommendations. (June 28, 2007 Task Force Report, December 12, 2007 Staff Proposed Action Plan.)
I asked Superintendent Alban if FCPS has inquired at all to the success of those recommendations. I have not received a response.
FCPS has adopted the same policies of Parkland, Florida. We’ve relaxed discipline. Little happens until a situation has reached critical mass. Teachers need to have the authority to discipline students without fear of repercussion.
There needs to be consequences to bad behavior. FCPS has fallen behind on discipline and the students are taking advantage of it. We need to be proactive. “Why” are our children broken? “How” have we contributed?
Do you think FCPS is effective in curbing bullying in schools, and reacts to instances of bullying in an effective manner? Why or why not?
We need to adopt a policy that hands out the Bullying form on the first day of school, along with an explanation of the procedure. Who to contact and how to contact them. A complaint I hear frequently is parents not knowing there was a bullying form, or being told “We’ll take care of it.” by an administrator only to find out it wasn’t take care of.
We need to care more about the students and teachers and less about the optics of reporting bullying, fights, harassment and bad behaviors.
FCPS still has some inequities with certain student groups being suspended at disproportionate rates. Do you see this as an issue, and what could be done to keep student groups from being suspended more often than others? Why or why not?
Unfairly disproportionate? Until we can answer that question with real data I can’t answer the question. One large number compared to a smaller number doesn’t sell me anything about “why” those numbers are dissimilar.
Frederick’s land terrain has presented challenges and increased costs in school construction, what could the Board of Education do to ensure that sites identified as future schools would be less costly to build on?
Most, if not all of our properties are donated by builders. We are saving millions by not having to purchase property. That being the case, we need to negotiate with the builders on getting more desirable land.
Do you feel like FCPS is adequately prepared to address overcrowding and provide a seat to every student in the county? If not, what needs to be done to ensure that it is?
To my knowledge every student has a seat. As a Board member, I would like to look into the realities of overcrowding. Are the classrooms being purposefully packed? We have over 350 staff members at Central Office, many were once classroom teachers. Can we return them to the classroom to alleviate overcrowding?
Is a countywide redistricting needed to combat the overcrowding in schools in specific parts of the county. Why or why not?
This question would be better answered after the new schools open and we determine if we can shift teachers out of Central Office and back into the classroom.
Is the PARCC, or any other standardized test, an effective measure of achievement or growth in schools? Why or why not?
PARCC and all similar standardized tests are incapable of measuring an individual students achievement. They ask questions and compare them to other students and spit out a result. What measures an individual student’s academic “achievement” is a locally created, classroom test on day 1 compared to the same test on day 31.
These assessments have a narrow focus and are a waste of our time and money. What they don’t measure are curiosity, persistence, courage, enthusiasm, humor, reliability, resilience and a myriad of other, more important things that go into making a successful, happy person prepared for their futures.
The current BOE committed to increasing teacher salaries through a four-year scale, and has received funding support from the county. Are you committed to continuing to implement that scale, and is Frederick County currently paying its teachers what it should be in relation to the rest of the state?
As long as funding exists I support the pay scale. I don’t believe in comparing jurisdictions as cost of living differs from county to county; state to state. The taxpayers of Frederick decide what they can and want to pay their teachers.
What, if anything, should FCPS and the BOE do to address the teacher shortage, in particular among minority teachers?
Create an environment where teachers are respected, feel safe and have control over the content of their classrooms and the teacher shortage will disappear.
Who wants to teach in an environment where everything is dictated and mandated from an invisible architect miles from where you are. Teachers want to “teach” not implement someone else’s idea of teaching.
Do you think FCPS has adequately provided funding for its charter schools, and holding them accountable to the charters they signed?
Charter schools deserve full funding. The argument for holding back funding because of transportation is silly. We have thousands of walkers attending our non-charter schools and FCPS receives full funding for those students. FCPS needs to live up to the charters they signed. Allow the charters to hire the teachers and staff they want, who share the vision they are trying to create.
Parents over the last year have raised concerns over the IEP process and the services students with disabilities have received. Does FCPS need to improve its special education practices or programs? If so, how?
At every IEP meeting an FCPS administrator will do their legal duty and hand the parent a “Rights and Responsibilities” booklet. Legally, that’s all they are required to do. The IEP team (excluding the parent), if they are professionals knows the student pretty well (if the student isn’t new). They know what they believe the student needs to access his education and gain life skills but aren’t always quick to offer those suggestions. Those suggestions could cost FCPS money, or be inconvenient or make waves.
Like the bullying and security issue, it’s isn’t about the student’s success, it’s about the “optics” and the messiness of educating our children. If a teacher sees a need, they shouldn’t fear Central Office’s reaction when putting in for a request. We need to get over that and really start putting the students first.