Candidate Survey: Tom Fitzpatrick for Harford County Board of Education
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5 year incumbent on the Harford Co Board of Education
twenty years of community activism and 5 years on the board
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Why are you running for office?
To finish the job I started five years ago!
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
Frankin D Roosevelt. He took the nation from the depths of the Depression to the most powerful nation on earth. I walk out the front door of my home, and I see how the New Deal transformed my community. I look to the right and see Tydings Park and the city marina (expanded and built by the WPA), to the left is the hospital (built by the PWA), the old Post office (WPA), my street was paved by the WPA. I worked to transform downtown Havre de Grace with new streetscapes and a new middle and high school is rising because of the work I did on the Board.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
Man of the House, four volume Robert Caro biography of LBJ, Truman (McCullogh)
What is your favorite book about education, and why?
Don’t have one.
What will be your top priority on the Board of Education?
Advocating for a higher committment to public education in our county. We are almost at the bottom of the state in per pupil funding for our schools, and forth from the top in scores. The public is getting a good deal overall. We want to backfill some of the positions we have lost, restore some programs. I also want to work with staff (and perhaps the Community College) to develop programs working with local employers to provide career readiness options for students who may not choose college.
What is the biggest issue facing your county schools?
The divide between the more urban and suburban areas of the county and the rural north.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland schools?
Diversity money, money, and money
Have you read your county schools curriculum? If so, which parts do you like and which parts do you dislike?
Staff brings it to us.
What is your position on school spending?
We spend near the bottom in the state, and yet we have a much better than average system. We missed out on BRAC in large part because of this, a complaint which was reflected over and over again by people considering relocating . Harford County will continue to lose out in the race for the employers of the future if we don’t change this.
Please identify the three areas which you believe should be prioritized when it comes to school funding
Teacher Training,Techonology Programs, Vocational Skills
What is your position on teacher tenure?
What is your position on standardized testing?
Everyone hates the PAARC assesments.
What is your position on classroom size?
We need to backfill some of the positions we lost to attrition during the recession, because class sizes in core courses have been rising.
Do you believe the Board of Education should have taxation authority?
I don’t have the power to change the State Constitution.