November 10, 2012

As a former Prince George’s County Board of Education member [2002-06] who knows how difficult and complicated the job can be, I offer criticism cautiously. But I was appalled at some of the comments in the Nov. 6 Metro article “Few college graduates on school board in Prince George’s” from board members regarding the need for members to have college degrees.

While I do not think that any individual board member is less effective because he or she does not have a degree, I would expect that any board member would publicly voice support for the idea that a degree is important. Phil Lee’s comment that “I don’t think it should make a difference” and, more disturbingly, Henry Armwood’s comment that “A degree is a piece of paper” send the wrong message to students.

How I wish someone had said that one reason he or she became a school board member was to create opportunities in higher education for students that he or she had lacked. At the very least, one might have acknowledged that having experienced college might make a board member more aware of the preparation necessary to be successful in higher education. We need to be convincing students that college is a possibility for them and that it will change their lives.

Abby L.W. Crowley, Greenbelt