Candidate Survey: John Lang III for Baltimore County Board of Education
John Lang III
BS History, Loyola College; Master of Public Administration, university of Baltimore; Graduate level work in Economics, University of Baltimore
I retired from State government with 37 years of service; over 9 of them were as a fiscal and policy analyst with the General Assembly and as committee counsel. My last 9 years were with the State Department of Education where I was Director of Business Services responsible for financial reportuing and the budget, pupil transportation, human resources, purchasing, school nutrition, and school facilities
During my 9 years with the State Department of Education, I worked closely with local school systems on purchasing, pupil transportation (I was acting State Director for over a year), financial reporting and grants administration, and school nutrition services (acting Director of MSDE’s unit for a year and passed a comprehensive revision to school nutrition policies). After leaving state service, I managed over 150 school buses for Baltimore County schools for 4 years and then became Executive Director of the Association of School Business Officials for almost 6 years. I currently am Executive Director of the Council of Education, Administrative and Supervisory Organizations of Maryland, an umbrella organization consisting of 17 education associations.
I am a political novice, never having run for public office before. I did serve in a non-partisan capacity with the General Assembly and later served on Lt. Governor Steinberg’s staff for 2 years.
I have no website
Social Media Accounts
I have a Facebook account
Why are you running for office?
Baltimore County Public Schools are in a leadership crisis and it has lost the trust and confidence of its citizens. The current Board of Education is dysfunctional and sharply divided, and seems incapable of acting. For example, it has been unable to conduct a search for a new Superintendent and has failed to begin the vaunted “audit” of purchasing practices. Both are at least a year overdue. I also question the wisdom of the tens of millions being spent to equip every student with a laptop – the program is being evaluated by Johns Hopkins, something that should have been completed before plunging forward with an unproven program. County taxpayers deserve trustworthy school system leadership and prudent spending. I have extensive experience in public financial management, budget and policy analysis, and school business operations (including purchasing). I am a proven leader who knows how to get things done and knows how to reach compromises.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
Mayor and Governor William Donald Schaeffer. He understood how to move bureaucracies and get things done and was dedicated to the citizens that he served. There was never a hint of corruption or influence peddling associated with his decades in government.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
I just read Arthur Schlesinger’s memoirs – a fascinating look into the movers and shakers in the Federal Government and the unheralded behind the scene movers and shaker who shape the formers’ polices and thought processes.
What is your favorite book about education, and why?
I candidly do not have one.
What will be your top priority on the Board of Education?
Restoring confidence and trust in the Baltimore County school system leadership and reevaluating the huge dollar commitment to education technology.
What is the biggest issue facing your county schools?
Prudent spending practices, including school construction and renovations.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland schools?
1. Ensuring that teachers are compensate at the same level as other highly valued professionals. 2. Adequate funding to implement the recommendations of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. 3.Fostering parental involvement in and support of education.
Have you read your county schools curriculum? If so, which parts do you like and which parts do you dislike?
I have not studied it yet because there are more pressing issues that must be addressed.
What is your position on school spending?
The BCPS budget is huge and the School Board must ensure that the money is spent wisely to support BCPS programs. It must be analyzed throughout the school year by the Board to evaluate whether it is being spent as budgeted and to identify waste and programs that are no longer essential. The Board are the stewards of the public’s tax dollars and must act accordingly.
Please identify the three areas which you believe should be prioritized when it comes to school funding
New School Construction, Security, Teacher Pay
What is your position on teacher tenure?
I oppose teacher tenure.
What is your position on standardized testing?
Some testing is important, but when teachers are compelled to teach to the test, it’s time to reconsider how much testing is essential and how much is over testing. How the results of those tests are used is important in determining their value.
What is your position on classroom size?
Research has proven over and over again that small classes are critical to student performance. This is particularly so when students are from disadvantaged backgrounds or have learning challenges.
Do you believe the Board of Education should have taxation authority?
I do not.