From Jansen Robinson, candidate for Harford County Board of Education-District A:
When County Executive David Craig spoke before the attendees at the NAACP Candidates forum, he told the audience, that shortly after he took office, he was approached by the school board with a request to build a new Bel Air HS.
He asked them “what about building a new Edgewood HS”. He then remarked, that “is was apparent that Edgewood was not even on their (school board’s) radar”. Edgewood’s [representative] to the school board at the time of the request is the current board of education president.
A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Edgewood MS’s second year of making AYP. This is a great accomplishment. But we have to remember that Edgewood MS has been a problem school for almost a decade. And one has to wonder if the state had not threatened to take the school over, would the school board have acted when it did?
Could it be that some of the same young people, who were part of the failed middle school program, are now involved in the criminal/gang activity plaguing our community? Edgewood’s representative to the school board during this time frame is the current board of education president.
Prior to having school board members elected by councilmanic districts, Edgewood and Joppatowne schools were represented by two board members. The Joppatowne district included Joppatowne HS, Magnolia MS, Joppatowne ES, Riverside ES and Magnolia ES. The Edgewood district included Edgewood HS, Edgewood MS, Deerfield ES, Edgewood ES and William Paca/Old Post ES.
How many times do you think that either of these board representatives could have visited the communities that these schools serve, to learn about the school-related issues important to them? Now one member will represent all of these with the exception of William Paca/Old Post ES which is outside district A.
My opponent will not only have to become and remain intimately knowledgeable of issues and concerns not only for the communities that each of these schools serve, but also for the Kenwood HS community (in Baltimore County) for which he is being paid. It is imperative that District A schools communities receive our board members undivided attention.
Why. Because the research reveals that Schools are a reflection of the communities that they serve. And to be an effective school board representative for District A, the board member must be intimately knowledgeable of the community that each school serves.
My opponent, like the current member that represents Edgewood, lives north of I-95 (in the District-not in the community); teaches in Baltimore County Public School System (he may know the issues in the Kenwood HS community, which are entirely different from those in the Edgewood/Joppatowne community); belongs to local, state and federal teachers unions (so he can’t Vote on issues with Teacher Union implications); has little/no knowledge/record of working on behalf of either community; and was not a supporter of the elected school board legislation. To make matters worse, he is supported by the current Edgewood representative on the school board, who is also its’ president.
Since we have no incumbents running for this position, we have no record of performance in the position for which to review. We have to examine each candidate’s background to determine if they first have EXPERIENCE required to perform the primary legal responsibilities of the board of education.
Next, we should look at some of the intangibles, such as those mentioned above, to help determine if the candidate has the propensity and time to serve on behalf of the entire school community.
Now, my opponent wants the voters to believe that because as a teacher, he is more qualified to represent District A on the Board of Education. But, this election is not just about electing someone who will represent teachers (there are three former teachers currently serving on the school board). This election is about electing someone to represent the entire school community on the school board, because the entire community (Edgewood in particular) matters. Anything less will be detrimental-not just to our community, but to all of Harford County.
Note: My opponent in his letters to the editor and other news sources has yet to deny ANY of the assertions that I have made.
Lastly remember if we elect the same kind of person that we have been selecting, how can we expect anything different?
Jansen Robinson, Candidate
Harford County Board of Education-District A