letters 11/6

November 03, 2000

Letters to the Editor 11/6

Election important to school progress

To the editor:

The governance of public education involves an important trust placed in boards of education. The system of representative government (our American democracy) is dependent upon the impartiality and independent judgment of public officials. True vision and mission of educating all students well is a requirement for board of education members.

The Washington County Board of Education adopted the Code of Ethics of the National School Boards Association which states:

As a member of my board of education, I will strive to improve public education, and to that end I will:

Attend all regularly scheduled board meetings insofar as possible, and become informed concerning the issues to be considered at those meetings;


Endeavor to make policy decisions only after full discussion at publicly held board meetings;

Make decisions in terms of the educational welfare of all children in the district;

Base decisions on available facts and my independent judgment, refusing to surrender that judgment to individuals or special interest groups;

Encourage the free expression of opinion by all board members, and seek systematic communications between the board and students, staff, and all elements of the community;

Work cooperatively with other board members to establish effective board policies and to delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the superintendent;

Communicate to other board members and the superintendent expressions of public reaction to board policies and school programs;

Keep informed about current educational issues by individual study and through participation in programs providing needed information, such as those sponsored by state and national school board associations;

Support the employment of those persons best qualified to serve as school staff, and insist on a regular and impartial evaluation of all staff;

Avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest and refrain from using my board position for personal or partisan gain;

Take no private action that will compromise the board or administration and respect the confidentiality of information that is privileged under applicable law;

Remember that my first and greatest concern must be the educational welfare of the students attending the public schools.

New board members have an awesome task before them as they are sworn-in on Dec. 5 by the Clerk of the Court. The Oath of Office reads:

"I do swear (or affirm as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland, and support the Constitution and laws thereof, and that I will, to the best of my skill and judgment, diligently and faithfully, without partiality or prejudice, execute the office of member of the board of education of Washington County, according to the Constitution and Laws of this State. So help me God."

The strong elementary and middle school reading skills initiative begun by Nancy Grasmick and the Maryland State Board of Education in 1993 has been enforced by Theresa Flak's county initiative in March of 1998 (before Herman Bartlett became superintendent, 4-0 vote).

Supervisor Jim Newkirk and his team of classroom and resource teachers and principals are to be highly commended for their diligence to instruct successful students.

Please support consistent quality improvement of public education in Washington County. All children are our most valuable resourceand our future.

B. Marie Byers

Board of Education Member


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