I recently wrote candidates for Frederick County Board of Education in order to become a better-informed voter. Out of the candidates who responded to my emails to them there were three that struck me as the type of candidates that we need to be representing our community’s parents and kids. As a parent of three high school-age students and one college-age student, I have a vested interest in who sits on the BoE. That’s why I am writing to tell you who I am endorsing for BoE and why. I struggled to make that choice, because I like what many of them had to say, but three of them best represented the changes I would like to see in my children’s school. Therefore I am endorsing, and will be voting for Ken Kerr, Michael Bunitsky and Cindy Rose for the following reasons:
Kerr was the most enthusiastic about the importance of music and its ability to transform lives. Not only has he studied music and played professionally, he gave me examples from his own experience and other how music programs in school were critical to saving students. He also cited some of the benefits of music, such as increased attendance and retention, improved math and science scores, more engaged students, reduced discipline issues and increased concentration, cooperation and commitment. He made it clear his support of music by saying, “music education will have a friend on the Board of Education if I am elected.” The BoE has plenty of representation for academics and athletics, but direly needs someone to represent the voice of the music programs at our schools. He will do just that.
Bunitsky has a diverse and experienced background in education. His lifelong career in education has involved him in everything from teaching to leading to determining curriculum to coaching sports. To put it into his words, he has a “unique perspective and can represent a variety of constituencies.” He expressed his belief in a pragmatic and balanced approach to critically reviewing school programs during budget cuts. He also shared that he believes both athletics and arts are important to developing students, and that they “need to have multiple activities outside the classroom to learn about our world, how to interact with others, and to experience the social and competitive interaction.” He is a candidate who has both the wisdom that comes with experience and the understanding that comes with the diversity of roles he’s been involved with.
Rose not only understands the importance of music for developing minds, but also understands its importance for giving kids a sense of community. She also has a bold agenda to fix the main issue causing the problem with many of the decisions being made by outsiders in our schools, which is to “restore county/community controlled education.” She sees the importance of localized control of our schools and parents’ rights to have a say in their children’s education. In her words, her No. 1 goal is to “Restore local authority, remove Common Core and PARCC assessments and begin again the time honored tradition of teacher created curriculum and community controlled schools.” Parents need an advocate like her on the board.
I respect all who are willing to serve our communities, schools, parents and children, and greatly appreciated all of the responses I received from the candidates. I hope that all parents will take an interest in this very important election and especially the BoE election, which will impact the lives of our children. The best example I can give to my kids about civic duty is to talk to them about the election process, who I’m voting for, why I’m voting for them, and then to go out and do it.
Dennis “Nathan” Cain