Thursday, March 29, 2012

Candidate Morris Panner responds to Parents' Coalition Questions

1.  Do you support an online checkbook for MCPS such as is used in a number of other public school systems including Miami-Dade County Public Schools?

* I strongly support financial transparency.  I am not familiar enough with the online check book system to know if it is worth the effort.  I tried the one of the Miami-Dade website and wasn't able to get enough information to understand whether it would be truly useful.  I would like to learn more. 

2.  MCPS has minority contracting goals—we want more business to flow to people of color.  Currently, do you believe the practice of awarding non-bid contracts supports these goals?  What would you do to make MCPS always use a fair and open bidding process?

*  I support vigorous competition for contracts.  You get the best price and the best product that way.  The more open the process, the more likely you are to get good results.

3.  Do you suppport a U turn away from a one-size-fits-all education and restoring and improving wider choice of education opportunities for our children, including restoring learning centers for special education students, restoring honors classes, and restoring non-IT vocational education?

*  There are certain basic things we all should know, if possible.  Still, this can require special assistance and accommodation and that not all people will reach the same level.  I have a son with an IEP, so I have some sense of the limits of one size fits all education.  In addition, there is no question that we can do a better job helping people build on their individual strengths and find a path to a fulfilling and happy educational experience.  So, I don't know if I support a U turn, but I certainly support an effort to improve our ability to help individuals realize their potential.

4.  Do you support requiring new initiatives and new curriculum be required to undergo a legitimate pilot study that meets the minimum standards from the U.S. Department of Education for reasonable evidence before deploying to the whole county?  Do you support assessing all new initiatives against the minimum U.S. Department of Education standard of "what works"?

* In general, we should be looking to best practices to ensure that we are taking advantage of others' experiences.  We should also be piloting before wide-scale deployment.  My sense is that the US Department of Education has good guidelines, but that we need flexibility to decide what works for us. 

5.  If elected to the Board of Education, will you support or oppose MCPS' practice of permitting principals to assess students fees to attend public school classes?
* oppose

6. Do you support a U turn from current policy of paying attorneys for advice on how to skirt the Maryland Open Meetings Act to a policy of full compliance with the Act and spirit of the law of open meetings, and even going beyond the legal requirements of the Act?

* I am in favor of complying with the open meetings laws and being transparent. 

7.  Do you support returning the preparation of the MCPS budget to the public Board of Education table?

*  I do, although you are going to have to do staff work in advance of that so you can have productive meetings.

8.  Do you believe that the MCPS Educational Foundation should be transparent in its sources of funds and its expenditures?

* yes

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