Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Merdon / Kaufman Education Proposal

Posted by David Keelan on Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Chris Merdon had another press conference to discuss his vision for Howard County school students and teachers.

He was joined by Howard County Board of Education Chairman Joshua Kaufman.  If you recall Mr. Kaufman was appointed to the BoE by Jim Robey.

From what I understand Chris Merdon proposed a number of initiatives:

1. A renewed focus on Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) in the school system.  The Howard County Economic Development Authority has also recognized the need for a renewed focus on this curriculum.

2. Incentives for Howard County Teachers to focus on this curriculmn in their own continuing education efforts.  Merdon said he would provide financial incentives in order to help teachers in this effort.

3. Provide lap-top computers to the incoming 9th graders.  This is a good idea for a couple of reasons.  Text books are turned over up to every 8 years.  Imagine teaching history from an 8 year old book.  With ebook technology kids could have the latest text books right at their finger tips.

4. Promoting the use of technology in the schools.  Enabling technology in the schools.  Maximizing eRate funding.  I don’t know the details but I would hope this would include the incorporation of the Maryland Distance Learning network into our High Schools.  I am not talking about self-paced computer based classes here.  I am talking about live two-way video classrooms that are so interactive it is almost like being in the classroom.  All the major colleges in Maryland utilize this network.  We could bring college level STEM courses directly to our classrooms.

This would also include emulating Microsoft’s and Philadelphia’s School of the Future initiative.

5. As new schools are built or existing building renovated incorporate green technology to accomplish two things: first, it is better for our environment and second, as the technology is incorporated kids can use it as an educational experience.

The fact that Joshua Kaufman was not only present at the press conference but spoke at length endorsing Merdon’s initiatives and vision is, in my book, a tacit endorsement for Merdon’s bid to be our next County Executive.

Merdon Press Release


7 Responses to “Merdon / Kaufman Education Proposal”

  1. I want to comment on your last point regarding an implicit endorsement of Chris. I am not so naïve as to assume that people will not interpret my participation in that way. In fact, that was an argument against doing it in my mind. I am sure that some of my supporters are upset about this, as they also are strong supporters of Ken.

    However, my role as a candidate for a non-partisan position is to work with candidates of any party affiliation on programs that will help the schools. I have said all along that we are facing two long-term systemic issues – student achievement especially the need to pass HSAs for a diploma and the rapidly growing capital needs of our older schools.

    The school system of the future addresses the former. I will be happy to work with any executive candidate that comes up with a plausible plan to address the later.

    Bottom line – I support this plan because it is a good plan. That does not mean that I am endorsing anyone’s candidacy.

  2. hocomd said

    Thank you for the clarification.

  3. Noone said

    Hasn’t this been an idea that Mr.Zou and Mr.Dyer have been proposing for months their campaigns.Also, how do you expect to implement this plan when your previous board has not been able to get SMS right yet?
    -Concerned Howard County Citzen

  4. tomkidd said

    joshua kaufman, you are an elected representative on the board of education and its chairman. it is a non-partisan group. why then, are you partaking in partisan hackery?

  5. Don Marston Jr said

    Howard County has one of the best school systems in Maryland. To stay on top it takes forward thinking and new ideas which Merdon & Kaufman are showing. We know that we are already looking at a projected $20-$30 million shortfall for the next budget. We need to find ways to help our school system provide students with the latest technology and to pay for that technology. The Howard County Public School System Educational Foundation is a great way to get local businesses involved with supporting students and maybe their own future employees. Businesses are willing to pay big bucks to get their names on sports stadiums. Why shouldn’t we try to direct some of that money into our schools? I think that offering laptops could really help students. I would like to see even younger at risk students or students not meeting testing requirements to also receive laptops.

    Some may see the appearance of Howard County School Board Chairman, Joshua Kaufman, as political but we, the voters, need to see our next county executive being able to work with the School Board which spends 60% of our county’s budget. It might have been a little more politically correct to have the entire school board and county council present. There is nothing wrong with planting these seeds for the next School Board and County Council.

  6. A video of the press confrence is now up at Merdon’s website.

  7. Nancy said

    Have the teachers endorsed anyone yet? I know I have a better chance of winning an Oscar than Merdon getting it but will they choose Wallis or Ulman???

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