Saturday, October 13, 2012
[Board of Education candidate Morris Panner responds to Frederick Stitchnoth's commentary. Do any sitting BOE members ever respond to parents?]
Thank you for your thoughtful email.
I am sorry I missed the event. I attended a forum the next night at the People's Community Baptist Church in Silver Spring where these issues were also at stake.
My position is that we need to push more responsibility to the principals and teachers who are closest to the community. We are getting lost in the bureaucracy of a large system and losing the flexibility to respond to the concerns and needs of each community.
We face a tough budget. (I have spoken on the need to correct the structural imbalances that the County Office of Management and Budget has diagnosed.) Without pushing responsibility closer to the schools, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for educators to come up with the incremental innovation that will allow us to maintain high standards for everyone.
We can't push a one-size fits all solution from a central command and control authority and hope to manage and respond to the challenges posed by our increasingly diverse community. The success stories from the Race to the Top challenge have shown how innovative educators, even facing the challenges of disadvantaged student populations have improved learning dramatically.
Our goals are clear. Each student should be able to read, write, master basic math skills and be able to think critically and learn so they can succeed in a rapidly changing world.
If we hire excellent teachers, give them the latitude to innovate and hold them accountable, we will make our great schools, even greater.
None of this is easy, but our current path of a centrally planned and insular bureaucracy is not going to work.
Thank you for being so dedicated to these issues.
Best regards, Morris