Candidate Survey: Muri Dueppen for Carroll County Board of Education
B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary
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Nonprofit Marketing / Mom / Advocate
My first profession was a Wildlife Educator at a small zoo, presenting hundreds of live animal programs for schools, daycare centers, retirement communities and other audiences. In recent years I have been a vigorous advocate for our local school system.
I have volunteered for the campaigns of local candidates for Board of Education, County Commissioner, and Town Council.
Why are you running for office?
It is the logical next step on my path of fighting for our schools. I will bring the kind of leadership our school system needs. I am knowledgeable about how it works and the challenges it faces. I make thoughtful decisions based on being fully informed. I believe very strongly in the importance of an excellent education and possess the drive and determination to ensure our students have the opportunities and resources they need.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
My role models are not generally politicians but Teddy Roosevelt and Sandra Day O’Connor come to mind as pioneers with fierce intellects who sought to lead beyond the restrictions and divisions of partisanship.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
I have not ready many (mostly humor) but currently am reading The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion because I think it is important that people across the political spectrum better understand each other, communicate, and find common ground.
What is your favorite book about education, and why?
I have two. One is called Teaching Kids to Love the Earth. And, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania is a must-read for every parent planning to send their grown kids to college. Both books reflect my perspective that a variety of enriching experiences are valuable and success takes many shapes.
What will be your top priority on the Board of Education?
My primary objective as a Board of Education member and candidate is to make certain that students remain the primary focus and top priority of all decision-making.
What is the biggest issue facing your county schools?
The combination of funding constraints and diminishing public enthusiasm for the school system.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland schools?
1) How to keep our position as one of the best school systems in the country. 2) Keeping the promise to increase funding (beyond the pace of inflation) from casino money while adequately funding other budget priorities. 3) How to better empower local school systems to innovate.
Have you read your county schools curriculum? If so, which parts do you like and which parts do you dislike?
Reading everything on every subject for every grade will take quite some time. However, just as one example, I believe that our computer science curriculum is inadequate.
What is your position on school spending?
All spending should be justifiable in terms of how it helps students learn.
Please identify the three areas which you believe should be prioritized when it comes to school funding
School Maintenance, Special Education, Teacher Pay
What is your position on teacher tenure?
This controversial topic is one that I need more information about in order to take a firm stance. The current three-year probationary period for Maryland teachers prior to earning tenure seems short but the key is making sure that chronically ineffective teachers are not virtually impossible to terminate.
What is your position on standardized testing?
While some assessments are important tools, the over-abundance of high-stakes testing has serious drawbacks.
What is your position on classroom size?
Class sizes that are too large may hinder opportunity for individualized instruction and can create undue administrative burdens for already over-extended teachers if other supports are not in place.
Do you believe the Board of Education should having taxation authority?
Neither Maryland nor Virginia school boards have taxing authority and it has not prevented them from being among the highest ranked in the country. I do not believe giving local boards of education taxing authority is necessary at this time.