Ann Dodd 6213 Light Point Pl., Columbia Age: 39
Village administrator for Kings Contrivance Community Association; former high school, middle school teacher; classroom volunteer for eight years; member of Howard County's Library Building Board and Long-Range Service Plan and Foreign Language Textbook Review committees, Columbia Association's budget committee, two school committees and PTA executive committee; delegate to governor's conference on libraries; coordinator of Concerned Citizens for a Second Elementary School in Owen Brown; has two children in county schools.
1: To improve education in Howard County, I would concentrate on enhancing writing skills by lowering class sizes, especially in those classes requiring frequent evaluations of written work. Also, a greater emphasis should be placed on the study of good literature. In order to learn to write, students must be exposed to good writing. I would emphasize the training of administrators to diagnose and specifically prescribe methods for teacher improvement. It is the responsibility of principals and supervisors to maintain a high level of instructional quality. I advocate enclosing open space in schools by the use of innovative architecture that will preserve some of the good aspects of open space while adequately defining space and providing a buffer from the noise and confusion of open classrooms. As programs are implemented, I would evaluate their effectiveness in an effort to determine which ones would receive budgetary approval each year. There is no specific program that I am contemplating deleting at present, but the effectiveness of each program -- old and new -- should have to be demonstrated yearly.
2: No, I do not think that teachers receive adequate compensation. Compared to other professions requiring college preparation, teachers receive very low salaries. This is evidenced by the number of teachers leaving the profession and the number of good students who do not consider becoming teachers. I approve a raise in teachers' salaries and might consider a larger jump in salary to accompany tenure. I think it is important to join with the teachers' association in an effort to develop realistic ways to redirect or dismiss weak teachers. Howard County citizens will need assurances that their decision to pay teachers more money will guarantee them the highest quality teachers. I would not consider a merit pay program as long as teacher compensation is as low as it is. Allen F. Swanson
5400 Mad River La., Columbia Age: 36
Speech-language pathologist with Baltimore County Public Schools for 10 years; vice chairman, Citizen's Advisory Committee to Board of Education; chairman, Task Force on Vocational Education for the Intellectually Limited; cochairman, Association for Retarded Citizens Education Committee; commended by the Board of Education May 1984 for involvement; PTA board member; active in community programs and youth soccer; member of several professional organizations; has two children in county schools.
1: My first priority would be to review all budgetary and policy options in terms of the impact they would have on the teaching and learning taking place in the classroom. I would encourage increased citizen input into the decision-making process, particularly at the neighborhood school level. I would increase the emphasis on both written and oral communication. I would also favor increased staffing to allow the flexibility necessary to provide the best teacher/student ratio to better meet the needs of students in specific programs. I would deemphasize those areas of the educational bureaucracy that cannot be shown to have a positive impact on the classroom environment -- for example, paper work not directly related to teaching.
2: No, a common theme in the current school reform movement has been that teacher pay should be increased. We cannot expect to attract and retain excellent teachers unless we provide a more competitive salary, improve working conditions and restore respect for the profession of teaching. I recognize that merit pay programs could provide an incentive for improved performance. However, I do not believe that such plans could be fairly administered under the present evaluation system. It is essential that teachers, citizens and administrators work together to develop an evaluation system in which each group has confidence. I would not consider adoption of a merit pay program until the development of an acceptable evaluation system.