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Red Maryland Candidate Survey: Stephen Austin for Montgomery County Board of Education

Name
Stephen Austin

Age
46

County
Montgomery

Education
University of Texas BFA

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Career/Occupation
Finance

Education Experience
Substitute teacher

Political Experience

None

Website
stephenaustin4boe.com

Social Media Accounts
@stephen_austin_ (twitter), Stephen Austin for MoCo BOE (facebook)

Why are you running for office?
To bring accountability and transparency to the BOE

Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
Governor Ann Richards – A great Texan, a feminist pioneer, and she led with integrity

What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
Plato’s Republic – It was a huge early influence

What is your favorite book about education, and why?
The Smartest Kids in the World – It gives great perspective on new ideas

What will be your top priority on the Board of Education?
To bring a parent voice to the table and deliver increased accountability

What is the biggest issue facing your county schools?
Closing the achievement gap with effective data-driven methods that get real results.

What is your position on the Kirwan Commission recommendations?

I particularly like the emphasis on early childhood education. I worry about the tax burden on the Maryland economy overall.

What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland schools?
Getting kids on a level playing field of preparedness by kindergarten, hiring and retaining experienced and motivated teachers, and better focused resources for all schools.

Have you read your county schools curriculum? If so, which parts do you like and which parts do you dislike?
Yes. I like anything that keeps rigor in schools for those kids who excel. I have issues with teachers espousing their political viewpoints onto kids.

What is your position on school spending?
Spend on what is effective, but also look for creative methods to generate revenue internally (to the system) like optimizing real estate holdings, and look to cut unnecessary expense. I think that MCPS should have an external third party overseeing its operations, like an Inspector General.

Please identify the three areas which you believe should be prioritized when it comes to school funding
Classroom Technology/Computers
School Maintenance
Teacher Training

What is your position on teacher tenure?
I think the current system works fine.

What is your position on standardized testing?
Until we find a better way to measure effectiveness of education, it is the best we have.

What is your position on classroom size?
Smaller is better. Schools with more challenged kids should have the smallest.

Do you believe the Board of Education should have taxation authority?

No



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