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Candidates' forum comments - Board of Education

October 20, 2006

Paul W. Bailey, 72, Hagerstown (incumbent)


Strategy to decrease number of high school graduates not ready for college: Students who are not prepared should be identified before they graduate. Now offering most Advanced Placement courses that are available. Interventions are available for students in math and English. Should be proper counseling for those who plan to go to college.

How to attract and retain more highly skilled teachers: Need to get creative. New teachers are coming to positions with college debt and housing problems. Business community could get involved. New Teachers Academy has helped the county's teachers. Could be more help with pay and enhanced benefits.

Should teacher pay be linked to student achievement? Don't think you can link pay to student achievement. So many intangibles that make it difficult. Performance levels vary from group to group.

Support voluntary prayer in schools: Yes. Thinks it was a disservice when prayer was taken out of schools. If voluntary, supports it. Has been a church-goer all of his life. Believes in prayer, and supports legislation making it voluntary in schools.

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Ruth Anne Callaham, 57, Hagerstown


Strategy to decrease number of high school graduates not ready for college: Not succeeding in college is more than just grades. It's knowing how to study and socialize and still make good grades.

Programs for students with above-average academic status: Talented and gifted students come in all forms. Students can be gifted academically or in music, etc. All students with special gifts need special programs. Academically gifted students should take upper-level courses. No matter what school, these students should have access to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at North Hagerstown High School.

Should teacher pay be linked to student achievement? Performance should not determine teacher pay. A student who takes the SAT the morning after homecoming might not perform well. That has nothing to do with the teacher. Many factors are out of the teachers' control. Some students' drive thrives with certain teachers and others wilt.

Role of vocational and technical programs in schools: These include trades, informational technology, graphic arts and work force development. Great that teachers, including a Boonsboro High School teacher, have said that many trades students are hired from high school.




Jacqueline Fischer, 60, Clear Spring (incumbent)


Role of school board in day-to-day workings of public schools: The board has no role in day-to-day operations. That is the superintendent and staff. The board makes policy for school system operations and other oversight duties. Board listens to concerns from parents and taxpayers.

Why aren't students taking the SAT, and why are the county's SAT scores below state average? Hagerstown Community College does not require the SAT. Some students choose to take the ACT. Try to make students feel they can do well in college. Have offered the PSAT free to all 10th-graders, and that has increased test takers. Have provided additional counseling. Climate in the county that a college education is not necessary.

How to attract and retain more highly skilled teachers: Difficult problem the county is facing. Colleges in Maryland are only producing half of the teachers needed in the county. Need to increase opportunities for teacher education. Should have programs for free tuition for teachers who teach in Maryland. Improve teacher pensions.

Should teacher pay be linked to student achievement: Teachers who prepare students for HSA and MSA should be paid extra for their effort, but pay should not be linked to student achievement.




Wayne M. Kretzer Jr., 38, Hagerstown


How does federal No Child Left Behind legislation change the way the school system operates? It's a strain on teachers. Puts an emphasis on test scores. Has not allowed teachers to teach the way they need to. Not the best things for the schools at this time.

Why aren't students taking the SAT, and why are the county's SAT scores below state average? Parents need to get behind kids. Students will need the SAT if they want to transfer out of Hagerstown Community College. Promote the SAT more in schools. Students are being pushed through lessons to move onto another level, but they are not retaining the information.

How to attract and retain more highly skilled teachers: Job security. Don't like the restructuring of schools. It's like an athletic team. Shouldn't replace members of the team because then you have new team members that don't know how to work together. Likes the New Teachers Academy.

Plan to deal with overcrowding at county's schools: Schools are overcrowded now. Developers need to assist in building new schools. County Commissioners and Board of Education members need to talk about what to do. Is against redistricting.




Virginia Powers, 46, Hagerstown


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