Candidates for school board present their positions

September 01, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

Crowded schools, outcomes-based education and partnerships with business were among issues Carroll school board candidates stressed Tuesday at the monthly Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

Chamber members invited the 11 candidates to give three-minute, snapshot views of the problems facing Carroll schools to heighten interest in the primary election Sept. 13, said chamber President Lee Depot.

The candidates, who spoke in an order determined by a random drawing, did not debate with each other. They are competing for two school board seats this year.

Candidate views were:

* Laura E. Albers, an outspoken opponent of outcomes-based education, said she thought education was taking a back seat to multicultural diversity, which she said increases divisions among children.

She also said she opposed teaching collective decision-making, which might pressure a student to agree with standards he's morally opposed to, and questioned why teachers seem reluctant to teach phonics.

* Michael R. Baker, who said he dropped out of school as a teen-ager and returned later, said children should be taught to value education as he does.

He also said students must be prepared to enter the work force or continue education after graduation.

* Gary W. Bauer stressed his involvement with political organizations, ranging from the Hampstead Town Council to the Maryland Municipal League's central committee.

He suggested the board consider split schedules rather than building new schools and, when building is necessary, construct larger facilities to prepare for growth. He opposed doing away with individual achievement tests, saying parents can use the results to gauge a child's progress.

Mr. Bauer also said he is opposed to outcomes-based education because of the expense and said what he termed federal requirements for such education programs will force the county to give up control of its system.

* Evelyn E. Butler, whose husband is an administrator in the county's alternative education program, said she's opposed to increases in administration salaries because there is too great a gap between their pay and that of teachers.

She also said she thought that current curriculum revisions were too expensive and that the money should be spent on computers and educational software.

"The money should be spent on technology, not curriculum guides which will have to be changed in another five years," Ms. Butler said.

* Wayne Cogswell, who said he was interested solely in serving the public, said he thought the school board had an "attitude problem."

He cited the board's initial refusal to reveal former Superintendent R. Edward Shilling's contract and statements by board member John Myers that people unhappy with the system should start their own schools.

"We need to elect people who are honest, trustworthy and will provide efficient leadership," he said.

* Kathleen P. Hamblet said she was most concerned with crowding in schools and providing a good education for all Carroll students.

"My personal educational goal is to see that every child gets the best education available to them," she said. "Just as we push our lowest students to achieve their best, we should push the best students to achieve even more."

Ms. Hamblet said she thought schools should emphasize more math, science and foreign languages.

* Thomas G. Hiltz said he thought schools should foster more partnerships with industry and the community, citing several programs sponsored by IBM, McGraw Hill, Kodak and other large businesses.

"I would work to foster a marriage between the community, businesses, parents and the public schools," he said. "Schools should be the nucleus and center of our community."

* Deborah J. Paisie said Carroll County should look to the past and avoid mistakes made in other communities and eras.

For example, she said board members should review the growth trends in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Also, they should make sure mistakes made at the turn of the century are not repeated.

"In the last century, we were in the midst of an industrial revolution and mistakes were made in the schools," Ms. Paisie said, citing some classes that have been repeatedly dropped and returned to curriculums.

"We should not make the same mistakes now that we are in the midst of a technological revolution."

* Carole M. "Cyd" Pecoraro said her candidacy for school board was an extension of her public service in the community. She said she thinks that population growth is the biggest issue and that the Board of Education, county commissioners and state delegation should work together to solve school crowding.

"Our school population is growing 5 percent every year, or the size of a typical Carroll County middle school," Ms. Pecoraro said. "We need to make the state fulfil its obligation of paying for its share of school construction or turn to a more drastic remedy. The commissioners can limit growth."

* Carolyn Scott, the only incumbent in the race, stressed her experience with the board and her membership on statewide educational committees.

"On these committees, I can not only share Carroll County's successful practices, but give us a local voice in state decisions," she said.

* Deborah Jane Winter, a nurse at Carroll County General Hospital, said she entered the race to ensure a quality education for her three children.

"I just want to have some input in the education of the three most important things in my life over the next 12 years," Ms. Winter said.

Among her concerns were large class sizes, students being grouped by age rather than ability and the school system's emphasis on cooperative learning. She also thought that students need better language skills and that the system's gifted and talented program should be expanded.

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