UGH!!! I just wasted 3 minutes of my life reading an article in the latest edition of Action Line Magazine. Action Line Magazine is a newsletter for us Maryland State Educators Association members. The article was 20 Questions with candidates Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman. Why do I say I wasted my time? Because when the MSEA had the ears of two men who are vying for two of the most coveted positions in the state government, they asked the lamest questions (That just figures. MSEA is a lame ass organization).
They asked questions like “What’s your favorite date night?” and “Who did you pass notes to in class?”. Educators deal with children. The future of our state and our country. And you wanna know what would be served for dinner if we came to their houses. Hmm….Here’s a teacher like question for you? How do you spell stupid? M-S-E-A. I don’t care what they would serve for dinner. Chances are they will never invite me to their houses to eat anyway. I know that MSEA just decided to endorse the Brown-Ulman campaign. That’s fine. But please use this interview to show me (a dues paying member) why you chose to endorse them. I’ve got some better questions to ask Mr. Brown and Mr. Ulman.
1. As an ESOL teacher, I am gravely concerned about the graduation rates of Hispanic students in Maryland, particularly in Prince George’s County. The reasons cited are low literacy rates, teen pregnancy, interrupted schooling and poverty which makes students feel compelled to dropout of school to support their families. What is the plan to address some of the underlying issues that force Latino students to drop out of school?
2. Do you prefer year around school or traditional school years with 8 week summer break? Explain why.
3. Teacher pensions!! Speak on it!
4. Howard County has recently piloted a school-based wellness center which addresses students health needs in school and keeps parents at work. I love that as a parent and as a teacher. Would you consider expanding such a program to other counties across the state (ahem…let’s include Baltimore City in on this too, shall we?)?
5. Speaking of wellness, as a health advocate I am very concerned about the health of our children and how it affects attendance. In the state of Maryland, 32 percent of our students between the ages of 10 and 17 are overweight or obese. And nearly 12 percent of them have Asthma issues. I have been teaching for 17 years and I have seen a sharp increase in the number of students who need to go to the school nurse for blood sugar checks and insulin (there were no students that did that when I first began teaching). What do you propose should be done to address the issue of children’s health in Maryland schools?
6. Where do you stand on teacher evaluations and salaries being tied to students’ test scores?
7. I noticed the proposal for early childhood education degree scholarships as an incentive to get more Pre-K teachers. Impressive! However, I am a mother of an Autistic child in Maryland schools and I’ve noticed something. We need some help!! The number of students being identified as special needs has remained alarmingly high since the 1980s. The United States Department of Education has been reporting a teacher shortage in Special Ed in Maryland (and pretty much every state) for over 20 years. Can we bump up the number of scholarships to entice students to consider special education as a major? (Hint: This make a helluva good case for a special education task force?)
There you go MSEA. Seven critical questions about the real issues. Not 20 frivolous questions about their favorite mystery author (by the way I agree with them both that John Grisham totally rocks!).
Next time you want to interview a candidate for governor, ask teachers what they want to know. Or call me and we’ll create a list over dinner. I won’t tell you what I’m serving. You’ll just have to see for yourself.
Was it something I said? Feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org