Candidate Survey: Gaston Horne for Baltimore County Board of Education
I grew up going to Baltimore County Schools. I went to Catonsville Middle and High school. I then attended Coppin State University for 3 years and now I’m finishing up that degree.
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I’ve coached youth sports, tutored, and taught driving school in different areas in Baltimore County.
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Why are you running for office?
I think that BCPS isn’t providing children with an education that adequately prepares students for being an adult. 90 percent of our students graduate on time, but there are high schools that have only 2% math proficiency. We can do better to make sure our students are totally prepared.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
Michelle Obama is probably my political role model. There’s a quiet fierceness about the way she went about her business and you can very clearly tell that she is passionate about the issues she fought for.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
What is your favorite book about education, and why?
I don’t have a favorite book about education. In my opinion, education happens differently for everyone and there isn’t a right way to teach. I think we would all be better served listening to our students because they would know what kind of instruction they need.
What will be your top priority on the Board of Education?
Making financial literacy a mandatory class for graduation. Students need to know about credit, loans, buying a house or car, how to save money, how to invest money, etc.
What is the biggest issue facing your county schools?
My county has many different issues. I think the most important is addressing students’ readiness for college or moving into the workforce after high school.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland schools?
The curriculum in BCPS is certainly rigorous, but it isn’t modernized and updated as much as it could be just yet. Class sizes and school safety issues are making education a more stressful venture for teachers and students and we need to push vocational opportunities to help students prepare for life after high school.
Have you read your county schools curriculum? If so, which parts do you like and which parts do you dislike?
The curriculum is very well rounded and offers lots of rigorous course options. However, I feel it does not prepare students for the realities of adulthood (especially in regards to money) and I feel it doesn’t offer as many opportunities for exposure to vocational or tech-based work opportunities.
What is your position on school spending?
School spending should be spread evenly throughout districts as opposed to distributing it based on merit. i also think spending should be on more academic programs because that will affect the greatest number of students.
Please identify the three areas which you believe should be prioritized when it comes to school funding
Administration Pay, Arts Programs, Extracurricular Activities
What is your position on teacher tenure?
Teacher tenure is extremely important. BCPS teachers do not have pay that is keeping up with the cost of living and we must do better by our teachers to make sure they stay longer. Teacher stability ultimately helps students.
What is your position on standardized testing?
Standardized testing may be necessary because we have to evaluate students’ academic growth, but test performance should not be what dictates funding, teacher standing or curriculum. It should be a tool to identify where we can make curriculum stronger.
What is your position on classroom size?
Anything we can do to shrink class size is a good thing. Teachers are stressed enough already, and shrinking class sizes not only reduces the stress of the teacher, but it ensures that students can receive more individual attention.
Do you believe the Board of Education should having taxation authority?
I don’t really think they should, at least not by themselves. The board should have to work with the County Executive or the County Council when it comes to taxation.