Paulette Anders is running for the Frederick County Board of Education on a simple but influential message.

“We’ve got to get these kids back to school,” she said.

Anders, a mother of a senior at Middletown High School, became a new addition to the Board of Education race less than a week ago, but her name won’t appear on the ballot.

Because she filed her campaign with the Frederick County Board of Elections so late in the game, Anders is considered an official write-in candidate. Her ability to win, apart from her campaign, rests on voters both writing her name down and spelling it correctly. Her campaign’s Facebook page is filled with reminders that spelling variations on the ballot will not be counted.

She is one of many parents across the county who are disappointed with the current board’s lack of progress on returning students to school. Anders decided to take her disappointment one step further.

“It is no secret that I want kids in school...I find it absolutely awful that the Board of Education is not following the desires of the parents,” Anders said. “I felt compelled to represent the parents that responded to the survey in July that they wanted their kids back at some point.”

If she manages to win one of the three seats up for grabs, Anders understands she is only one vote and may not sway the direction of the board. She is hopeful that she will be able to enact change both with reopening schools and other issues, and she says is well-versed on a variety of education topics.

Anders has been in the education field for more than 25 years. She holds a master’s degree in education and has worked at both Mount St. Mary’s University and Johns Hopkins University. She has also done work for FCPS. She once co-chaired the Calendar Committee and has served as a long-term school counseling substitute.

Besides being focused on getting kids back into the classroom, Anders said she hopes to also focus on racial equity issues, if elected.

As the country has gone through its own reckoning of race relations, Anders said she has been trying to educate herself by researching and reading books that explore the topic.

She wants the FCPS curriculum to include more authors of different backgrounds and underrepresented communities and thinks modern-day content like the 1619 Project from the New York Times could be used in upper-level classrooms to have discussions around race and address current events.

“[Students] really appreciate frank, true discussion. They don’t want just the fluff. They really want to get real in the classroom with their peers and have a safe place to do so and training our teachers to facilitate real discussions, especially at the secondary level, I think is really important for the social issues,” Anders said.

Anders also wants to increase teacher pay but realizes it’s easier said than done. She admitted she is not a fan of teachers’ unions.

“For many reasons, I think [unions] hurts teacher salaries. I think these unions are great to make sure these teachers aren’t overworked...to support teachers if they’re not being treated fairly in the workplace,” Anders said. “I think where sometimes the unions hurt teachers is that there are teachers out there who are working night and day to make this virtual world work, and wouldn’t it be great if we could reward those teachers for doing that...and currently, right now, we can’t do that.”

She also knows that the virtual model of learning could continue for some time and said she appreciates that students get some sort of connection with teachers on a daily basis. Anders also said FCPS has done a good job of preventing and mitigating the number of tech outages or other issues.

However, Anders did say that she has been hearing from parents that students aren’t getting the required 3.5 hours of daily instruction required by the Maryland State Department of Education.

“There are teachers out there who are not doing their full live instruction on the times that they’re supposed to,” Anders said. “I do recognize parents are happier than they were in the spring because it is better than it was in the spring, but it is not yet where it can be, and just because it’s better, that doesn’t mean our students are getting the education that they deserve.”

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill.

(15) comments

Greg F

How about no? We see massive surges that were predicted coming true. This is not the time.

yogib

Ms Anders is puzzling. She wants to be on the school board so she can expose all of our children and their teachers to a pandemic? If she is on the Board what plans does she have when it spikes and people die? Sorry Ms Anders as a voter I would not wish to be complicit in scheme.

HappySeller2014

My neighbor's pet, a llama named Bonkers, has decided now to run for the FCPS School Board. Please write in "Bonkers" as you vote.

I already voted, so I cannot vote for Bonkers. But I like Bonker's platform. Bonker's platform is "FCPS is Bonkers, you need to be too!"

Actually, FCPS doing a passable job lately. I just wish my kids had normal six hour virtual school days rather than just 3.5 hours. No other jobs in the US economy went virtual and had their hours cut 50%, yet retained full pay. Kids just now on computers instead of in classrooms...not other discernable difference.

FCPS children being heavily shortchaged and falling behind their MD peers and I believe the FCTA union is sadly misguided.

bosco

Thanks happyseller. One more choice for the presidential race. [thumbup][ninja]

HappySeller2014

You crack me up bosco. Sometimes I love you and sometimes I cannot stand you. But you have a wry sense of humor and I respect that.

MD1756

Instead of opening schools, how about lightening the workload and continue school through the summer to make sure all the material is covered? Then eventually go to school sessions that last all year as the new normal.

jth7100

Correct

jth7100

Brad voted for them to open.

mgoose806

Correct...Brad voted to open because that is what the majority of taxpayers aka voters want. Teachers Don’t and Brad isn’t going to seek re-election to board. If was he would have voted for keeping teachers home. “...for the safety of the children”

vrini66

My daughter is a teacher (not in Frederick County) and is waiting for her COVID-19 results. I hope Frederick County doesn’t open too soon.

Dwasserba

'“I felt compelled to represent the parents that responded to the survey in July that they wanted their kids back at some point.'” "At some point" being the grey area....now? As it ramps up again with no vaccine available?

DickD

Brad did the right thing. Brad was concerned with the health of children, parents and grandparents - teachers too. And that's where our conern should be.

mgoose806

Brad is concerned about running for higher office. He is no different then Ron or Karen Lewis Young.

Aperiodic.Moralist1

Mgoose- [thumbup]

MD1756

Your statement should be broadened to the concern of the safety of the general public. Increased infections may start through contact at schools but it spreads out from there especially as those parents go back to work since they don't have to stay at home to watch the children they decided to have.

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