Candidate Survey: Leslie Coker for Charles County Board of Education
B.S. Political Science/Criminal Justice
Trending: The Elephants in the Room
2009-2011 Teen Mediation Summer Youth Program
2009-2017 Provide Conflict Management Workshops and Training to Middle School and High School students in Prince George’s County
2014-2015 PTO president for Wheatley Education Campus (Washington, DC)
Campaigned for Edouard Haba – Council Member in Hyattsville, MD
2014-2015 Emerge Maryland – Statewide
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Why are you running for office?
I am running for Board of Education because I can make a positive difference in the lives of students and teachers. I plan to provide insight on discipline and safety policies and increase professional development opportunities for teachers and staff. Charles County is in need of additional funding to make schools great again and I plan to assist in solving this problem.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
My political role model is Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass believed that education was the path to liberation for slaves. He was a proponent for quality education for all and I believe if we all fight to make sure our teachers have proper resources and adequate trainings, we can ensure all children receive a quality education. One of my favorite quotes from him is “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
My favorite book about politics is Animal Farm by George Orwell. This book is about animals on a farm that overthrew the human owner in an attempt to have better living conditions. It starts out great but by the end of the book, they are living in miserable conditions. I read this novel in 6th grade and this was my first introduction to socialism and fascism. Before this book, I only understood what democracy and monarchy governments were. After I read this book I became immediately interested in world politics and political philosophies. I also knew that I never wanted America to turn away from democracy.
What is your favorite book about education, and why?
My favorite book about education is Shift Ed: A Call To Action For Transforming K-12 Education by David Houle and Jeff Cobb. The book explores education in America and proposes new ways to incorporate technology and leading education innovations in public schools K-12.
What will be your top priority on the Board of Education?
My top priority will be to work with community organizations, businesses, local and state elected officials to have more money appropriated to Charles County Public Schools for safety and student advancement opportunities. We need to get creative and find more funding to really address the problems within Charles County Public Schools.
What is the biggest issue facing your county schools?
The biggest issue facing our County schools is the increase in special education students and students learning English.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland schools?
1. School Construction Improvements
2. Safety and discipline in public schools
3. College Readiness
Have you read your county schools curriculum? If so, which parts do you like and which parts do you dislike?
Charles County school board implemented the Common Core State Standards in 2013. I am currently reviewing the curriculum and will express my likes and dislikes in future forums.
What is your position on school spending?
School spending should be focused on improving public education which for me means compensation for teachers and upgrading technology and learning tools.
Please identify the three areas which you believe should be prioritized when it comes to school funding
Classroom Technology/Computers, School Maintenance, Security
What is your position on teacher tenure?
I agree with teacher tenure. I also think that the tenure and due process policy need to be examined to make sure teachers are held accountable for quality in instruction and providing students with an adequate learning environment.
What is your position on standardized testing?
I think standardized testing is necessary to see where students are on the spectrum, however I do not agree with teachers teaching to the test. It is one tool to understand child performance.
What is your position on classroom size?
Classroom size should never be more than 25 students per teacher. Anything more than that is too much for one teacher.
Do you believe the Board of Education should have taxation authority?