Educators use a variety of assessment tools to evaluate student performance and promote further progress. Of late, there is a growing movement toward using similar tools to evaluate teachers and principals. It seems only fair to extend that practice to the evaluation of candidates for the Frederick County Board of Education.
I developed the following tool a few years ago as part of an assessment literacy presentation. It may help interested citizens make informed selections from the current field of school board candidates:
Unsatisfactory: Is a “one issue” candidate, often seeing board membership as a stepping stone to other political office; has a personal mission to overturn any idea or approach invented after 1950; already knows all the answers; storms out of meetings when outvoted on an issue; can never find agenda packet; disagrees with the need for a superintendent; sees staff as the root of all evil.
Emergent: Has at least some interest in education; prefers to discard most new ideas in favor of “the way it used to be”: expresses but seldom listens to dissenting opinions; supports only decisions with which they personally agree; will occasionally read agenda packet prior to the meeting; would really prefer to be superintendent; tolerates staff as a necessary evil.
Proficient: Primary interest is education; willing to consider new ideas and approaches; tolerates dissenting opinion; accepts the board’s final decisions, regardless of personal vote; comes prepared for most meetings; occasionally needs to be refocused on policy and direction; understands the superintendent’s role and the responsibilities of staff.
Distinguished: Goal is to improve education for all students; looks to the future by welcoming new information and approaches; seeks out all sides of controversial subjects; supports the board’s final decisions, regardless of personal vote; comes prepared to all meetings; helps other members maintain focus on policy and direction; respects the superintendent’s role and the responsibilities of staff.
Voters selecting “Distinguished” candidates can be confident that these individuals will be able to work in collaboration with other members of the board of education, continuing their efforts to maintain and further improve an effective school system. Voters selecting “Unsatisfactory” candidates are essentially voting to interfere with those efforts.
Choose carefully, and VOTE on Nov. 6.
Stephen K. Hess, Frederick