John H. Francis
4900 Keir Ct., Suitland Age: 37 Dental officer for D.C. Department of Human Services at Children's Center in Laurel, also dentist in private practice; BS, Howard University, DDS, University of Maryland, MBA, Southern Illinois University; prospective astronaut candidate for NASA; member of Southern Maryland Health Systems Agency, Prince George's Doctors Council, Suitland/District Heights Citizens Advisory Commission, Suitland Democratic Club, Black Democratic Council and Southern Prince George's Coalition on Black Affairs; married to school teacher, father of two children.
1: As a member of the Prince George's County Board of Education my priorities will be the following: (1) Teachers and teacher salaries. (2) Instructional programs. (3) Materials. (4) Administrative staff. (5) Extracurricular activities. (6) Maintenance of buildings and grounds.
2: Segregation cannot be tolerated in our schools. It is my intention to aggressively work to insure a completely desegregated school system. After the recommendations of the panel of experts are submitted, I will review their solutions and work to implement their recommendations or propose additional recommendations that I think would be fair and appropriate to insure the quality education our children deserve. Sarah J. Johnson
Incumbent 4120 Will St., Bradbury Heights Age: 44 Case manager for special education, D.C. Public Schools; holds master's degree in special education; past president of local PTA groups, has been regional vice president of County Council of PTAs; has served on Prince George's County Private Industry Council and Council for Exceptional Children; merit badge dean, Boy Scouts of America; executive committee member, Bradbury/Boulevard Heights Civic Association; her three children have attended county schools.
1: It is extremely difficult to prioritize educational services to students. Within the classroom setting, teachers are the most significant persons in the lives of our students. In order for Prince George's Public Schools to hold on to and attract more qualified teachers, we need a competitive salary schedule. The building administrator is the captain of the ship. This is obviously essential staff in all schools. A classroom without instructional materials and supplies ceases to be an educational environment. With the health concern generated by asbestos and the growing need for the expansion of programs within the trades and indstury centers, maintenance has become an increasingly significant budgetary item. As a parent of two Prince George's Public Schools graduates, both of whom were very much involved with extracurricular activities, I am very much aware of how important this exposure and interaction is to the production of a well-rounded student.
2: It is true that there is a court-appointed panel that has the responsibility of studying the Prince George's school system and coming forth with a plan. Hopefully this plan will allow more equity of quality instruction and educational opportunity for all students in Prince George's County schools. I am encouraged that this panel -- through discussion with the superintendent, staff, parents, community leaders and board members, a perusal of demographic data and visitation of schools -- will come forth with a plan that will make for positive change for all students in Prince George's County schools. I am not an advocate for the closing of 22 schools. We must be mindful that this was a staff proposal -- not a Board of Education recommendation. Marcy Canavan
Rte. 1, Accokeek Age: 31 Researcher for J.F. Coates Inc.; led appeal of closing Accokeek School to Maryland state Board of Education; in PTA, has served as secretary, chairman of computer, academic fair and bylaws committees, and served on county Council of PTAs; in Prince George's schools, has served on Title IX and textbook review committees and as TAG secretary; undergraduate degree (magna cum laude) from Dunbarton College, has done graduate work; member of Women's Political Caucus and Brandywine Democratic Club; has three children in county schools.
1: Top priority in the school system must be teachers, because the classroom is where learning takes place. Administration is the lowest funding priority. Prince George's County has the highest percent of nonteaching personnel of any school system in Maryland. Instructional programs are another top priority. We need radical revision of our instructional program, as demonstrated by the disastrous scores on the SAT Functional Writing Test and on standardized math tests. Materials are third priority. Many of our schools need better materials, but a good teacher can do wonders with paper, pencils and a chalkboard, while a poor teacher will not be any better for having brand new textbooks. Maintenance of buildings is fourth priority because in the long run it is cheaper to maintain buildings regularly than to be saddled with major repairs due to neglect. Extracurricular activities are beneficial in many ways, but the schools must place a basic education for everyone as first priority.
2: Rather than closing schools and instituting more busing, which discourages parental participation in education, I favor a school magnet plan similar to the one given approval last year to settle a desegregation suit in Bakersfield, Calif. The plan would work as follows: Students are assigned to their neighborhood school with an option (at their parents' discretion) to attend a magnet school instead. Magnet schools are schools that have special programs, such as computer-assisted instruction, day care, a "back-to-basics" curriculum and a program for talented and gifted students. This way, parents -- not school officials -- would decide whether to bus a child. Also, special programs could be offered that would not otherwise be available. The system must not close too many schools, because increased growth in P.G. County along with the mini-baby boom that is under way indicate that we can expect a rise in enrollment. Norman H. Saunders Incumbent 8506 Churchill Ct., Upper Marlboro Age: 53 Visual information officer at National Defense University; elected to Board of Education in 1973, has served as chairman and vice chairman; past delegate to state PTA Congress; board member, German Orphans Home; member of Camp Springs Citizens Association, three Democratic clubs, Allentown Recreation Council and Women's Business and Professional Club; his two sons were educated in county schools.
1: My number one priority has always been to improve the instructional program, and that program must continue to have first call on our resources. Of course, a significant aspect of quality instruction is having sufficient teachers to have a reasonable class size. We need to give priority to hiring additional numbers of teachers to further reduce class size. We must also compete to get quality educators, and therefore, we cannot afford to ignore teacher salary improvements as a third priority for the future.
2: To the extent that there are valid educational reasons for further school closings, and those closings can assist in further desegregation, we ought to at least evaluate such proposals. However, there may be other approaches that will satisfy the court, and that is why the panel of experts is at work. We must await their recommendations and weigh them carefully. Hopefully we will be able to concentrate our resources and efforts on the quality of our programs for all of our students.