Red Maryland Candidate Survey: Andrea Artman for Frederick County Board of Education
Master of Science in Bioengineering, Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering
President of SpectRA Compliance – FDA medical device policy, regulatory, and quality expert
Other than being a lifelong learner, I do not have direct experience in education or education policy.
This is the first election that I have been personally involved in. I am a firm believer in voting and the impact that voting has on the local, state, and national level. I plan to become more involved in the political realm moving forward.
Why are you running for office?
I believe that all children have the right to have the best education in an environment that is welcoming and supportive and I hope to make that a reality for every FCPS child. While I don’t have an education background, I do have a unique skillset that I believe will enhance the board of education.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
Nelson Mandela – He was devoted to democracy, equality and learning. He is an inspiration to those who are oppressed and deprived and provides hope to those who are currently striving to end oppression and deprivation. His leadership through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission provided a pathway of reconciliation for all South Africans and demonstrated compassion, tolerance, and inclusion.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown – I realize this isn’t a “politics and policy” book, but I believe the key to strong politics and sound policy is daring leadership.
What is your favorite book about education, and why?
Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools: The politics of Education Reform by Jack Johnson. As someone who hasn’t spent their career in education, this is a great book that summarizes key political decisions in education. It helps me to understand how we got to where we are as well as the evolution of federal funding and how it has impacted the public schools. This book puts testing in historical perspectives which is beneficial to understanding where to go from here.
What will be your top priority on the Board of Education?
Focus on the Whole Child:
Children are faced with harsh realities at an earlier and earlier age. From active shooter drills to inequality; the ever increasing food choices that continually decrease in nutritional value; increased demands on teachers and caregivers time; daily deluges of technology, our youth deal with a lot. We must ensure our educational system can fully support the demands of our society and our students’ needs.
From emotional intelligence to access to mental health resources, we need to better support our youth. How much easier would it be for students to interact in a professional environment later in life if they were given the tools of empathy, vulnerability, and compassion at a younger age; a focus on self health as well as achievement demands.
I am also a firm believer in health and wellness when fueling your body. Let’s set up community gardens where students work together to grow healthy foods, learn scientific principles, and share the overflow of food with community members.
What is the biggest issue facing your county schools?
Resources – Human and monetary
What is your position on the Kirwan Commission recommendations?
I agree that all 5 of the policy areas are essential for all children to gain access to the education they deserve. The cost of implementing such a program is large; however, the future of our children is worth the investment. With a focus on education, the entire community will benefit. I believe a strong plan needs to be put in place to ensure that the price of the commission is not overly burdensome for the tax payers.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland schools?
Overcoming Achievement & Opportunity Gaps
Have you read your county schools curriculum? If so, which parts do you like and which parts do you dislike?
Unfortunately, I have not reviewed the full student curriculum in enough detail to provide an overview of my assessment on the totality of the body of knowledge. Based on what I have read, below are some thoughts about positives and opportunities for improvement.
There are a lot of options for our students to reach for the goals that they envision for their future. FFCPS has a Career and Technology Center that offers so many opportunities to gain certifications and career experiences. We have a very robust offering of elective courses and opportunities for students to dive into subject areas such as engineering, agriculture, business, computer science.
I fully support that FCPS offers economics in their curriculum as early as kindergarten and is part or the curriculum through 5th grade including budgets and different forms of payment (credit vs cash). Continuing through middle school with a financial literacy course. There are also electives at the high school level.
I would advocate for the inclusion of minority perspective, references, examples, etc. in all aspects of the curriculum. It has to be intentional to weave the minority narrative into the already existing majority narrative. Students of all ethnicities and cultures need to see themselves in the things they are learning and the items they are using to learn them from. It is also important for the students of the majority to see the minority cultures in their everyday educational practice so it is commonplace.
Some examples of oddities in language regarding this topic are provided in a few examples in our early education curriculum. Specifically, SS.K00.20.01.a.3 of the kindergarten social studies curriculum states “compare American families to families in other cultures”. What exactly does that mean? What is an “American Family”? This shows up again in 1st grade, “SS.100.20.01.a.1 Compare American families with families of other cultures by analyzing holidays, art, music, games, and language.”
I plan on reviewing the curriculum over the next few months to be able to intelligently debate and discuss this topic from a more informed viewpoint.
What is your position on school spending?
Our per student funding should be raised to be in line with the top counties in Maryland. We are performing well with one of the lowest per student rates, but this is not a sustainable model for Frederick County. In order to have the best in class education, we need to ensure the funding is there to support it.
While I agree in fiscal responsibility, I also believe that education is worth the investment. As with spending in all areas, I believe in transparency, getting the most out of every dollar, and accountability for how and where the funds are being spent.
Please identify the three areas which you believe should be prioritized when it comes to school funding
What is your position on teacher tenure?
I agree that employees should have a guarantee to due process when facing workplace sanctions or termination. In this case that process is completed through tenure. There seems to be a system in place for FCPS to monitor and remove inadequate employees per similar processes that are used in industries I am familiar with. Therefore, I am in agreement with the current tenure process. However, as I haven’t seen the process in use, I cannot make a full determination of its effectiveness.
What is your position on standardized testing?
We have to comply with state & federal testing requirements; however, I believe it is important to continually evaluate the use of the testing at FCPS & how it is being used to ensure the whole child is being educated. I don’t believe teaching “to the test” is the best way to utilize the testing, but it takes strength and courage to transform education when the stakes of funding are so high.
What is your position on classroom size?
Funding the space needed to support smaller class sizes and finding/retaining additional highly trained professionals isn’t always possible. While personalized attention is extremely important at all ages, I believe it is most important in younger aged classrooms (PreK-3rd) as this is where large discrepancies are being overcome. i would propose that schools first implement smaller class sizes at these grades and then follow with a continued staged implementation after the 3rd grade as funds are available.
There is also research to suggest that not all subjects benefit from having smaller class sizes. Therefore, instead of completing an across the board change, any changes should be strategic and based on the available body of knowledge. I would also recommend researching other opportunities to ensure personalized education outside of the reduction of class sizes.
Do you believe the Board of Education should have taxation authority?
No, but I do believe that they need to advocate on behalf of the students and the staff at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure there are adequate funds to support quality education.