YOUR VOTE COUNTS

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.



Regarding a moratorium and review of suspensions, I would be interested, as I believe the public would as well, in reviewing the research that school Superintendent Terry Alban speaks of that, "shows that the same offenses might get a different reaction depending on the race of the student", and details on the initiation of the program that is "focused on leadership and really trying to unpack our own journeys and our own "cultural competencies and implicit bias." 

First, I do not find that research generally culminates in a result of "might." Research is a tool by which theories can be tested, to find an answer and advance knowledge. The purpose of research is an ongoing process of correcting and refining hypotheses, which should lead to the acceptance of certain scientific truth.
 
Given the population of any given school in the Frederick County school district, the balance in numbers of impoverished, ethnic minority and others, may give an appearance of disproportionate rates of out-of-school suspensions when being compared to one another. To what is this result being measured against? Are the numbers in total groups of the student body being considered? 

I do agree that that equal educational access should not be delayed, however, I believe that the integration of a moratorium and review of any administrative recommendation of only ethnic minority students, would lead this issue down a path of increased degradation of what the suggestion of this action is attempting to prevent. 

I believe, unfortunately, that we, as adults, have contributed to the increasing segregation of impoverished, ethnic minorities, and others by making a conscious effort to indicate that there are differences, not in the numbers of each group of students, but only the numbers that would indicate disproportionate rates of which one group of students is being disciplined vs another. 

I would prefer to view the specific actions that result in out-of-school suspensions, rather then the race, sex, or ethnic background of a student that performed an action that resulted in disciplinarian action. 

In conclusion, I do not disagree with a review board to ensure adherence to a standard of impartiality that we should all employ when dealing with the student body, however, if this seems to be an appropriate action, perhaps a review of "all" proposed disciplinary actions involving "any" student infraction should be in order.

Regarding the disparity in the number and percentage of African American teachers hired by Frederick County Public Schools over the last four (4) years. 

The data provided certainly reinforces that fact that there are disproportionate numbers of African American teachers in relation to non-minority teachers, however, what the data does not offer, is the numbers in which each represented group of applicants there were for teacher positions in Frederick County Public Schools. 
If changes are made to the current hiring system simply to increase the number of African American teachers hired in FCPS, what then, would make that situation any better than what is being suggested now, which appears to be an unfair advantage of any applicant for a teacher position in FCPS? 

There should be no regard made to the race, nationality, gender or otherwise, for an applicant for the position of a teacher in any school district. The hiring of teachers should solely be based on their educational background, competency, skills, enthusiasm, energy, professional standards, and desire to contribute to the positive growth and development of our children and the needs of any given school.

Perhaps we should address tenure. Tenure results in performance complacency. Motivation typically results when someone has a goal or a need that is unsatisfied. When an employee has a lifetime employment commitment from an employer, regardless of performance, one can easily lose interest and perform in relation to that lost interest. 
Tenure generally allows employees to stick around longer, which results in less focus on µeveloping new teachers, and removal of tenured teachers results in expensive legal grievances. 

The possibility of removal of tenure would also address the issues of racially motivated liarassment of ethnic minority students, as well as any disproportionate disciplinary actions, and improper conduct of school staff, as a teacher that experiences fear of losing their job as a result of such atrocities, would certainly result in decreased incidents.

I am in complete support of an informational campaign by the Frederick County School System to ensure that the students and their parents are aware of the opportunity of two years of free tuition at community college for families that meet a means test and students that have maintained a 2.3 grade point average.
Seth Eisenberg
Candidate for Board of Education

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