Today, public education is at another crossroads, nationally and locally. Stories appear in newspapers, on television and on social media that dwell on many problems occurring in our schools and classrooms. For the past three years, budget cuts, increasing student enrollment and increasing class sizes have been continual themes for our school system, as well as no increase in benefits for our staff.
I believe that there is much work that must be done. In that spirit, I have three major priorities that will drive my actions if you elect me to the Board of Education. I believe that these priorities are important to all residents in Montgomery County, especially in light of the fact that over 70% of our households have no children in the school system.
First, we must make additional, and long lasting progress, to close the achievement gap that exists among student racial, ethnic, language and income groups.
Although financial resources and personnel have been committed to eliminate the achievement gap, we still have disparities in student achievement that must be addressed aggressively. Every student must have the same learning opportunities that our community expects and students deserve.
Secondly, I will continue to support, and seek improvements for, our strong public school system.
In that spirit, it is very important that our Board Education works well with the County Council, State Legislature and Federal representatives to obtain the appropriate financial resources to attract the best employees for our schools, as well as businesses that are drawn here by a strong public education system.
Finally, I will encourage my board of education colleagues to initiate a careful analysis and resulting action plan on what works and what needs to be changed, or eliminated, in our school system.
With an over 2.2 billion dollar operating budget what can we do to be more cost effective? I do not see this as a one or two month study, but rather a comprehensive analysis that is based on best practices and examples from other successful school systems. For instance, are there alternative routes to high school graduation other than the traditional four year program? Additionally, are appropriate services being provided to our students with special needs? I will work with all communities to support students and families.