Sunday, January 5, 2020

HoCo Board of Education: Candidate Considerations

As we approach the filing deadline, file this post under information that should be obvious but nonetheless must be explained (to some).

- Local boards of education are inherently political offices. Decisions made by boards of education can, and have, sparked debates and led to court cases involving rulings on the rights and liberties of Americans.  See: Brown v. Board of Education,Tinker v. Des Moines, Abington School District v. Schempp, etc...etc...etc...

- Some who serve on boards of education go on to seek other elective offices and oft times, they affiliate with a political party.  Focusing on Howard County for a moment, this includes such local figures as now-Delegate Courtney Watson and former Howard County Council Chairwoman Mary Kay Sigaty.

- Knowing that their decisions might touch upon constitutional issues and further recognizing that some use BoE experience as a credential when running for another public office, voters have a right to know the worldview of Board of Education candidates, and that includes their party affiliation.

- Understanding that there are Democrats and Republicans of varying stripes (although this is less the case than it was 50 years ago), BoE candidates should be transparent about their partisan leanings.  If they decline to state their political affiliation (whether D, R, Green, Libertarian, Unaffiliated, or Other), voters have an absolute right to factor this chosen silence into their BoE candidate vote decision-making process.

- The individual members of the electorate must decide for themselves which candidate selection criteria is important to them.  Given the connection between ideology, values, policy stances, and the choice to align with a particular political party, a decision of a BoE candidate to not reveal their partisan affiliation represents a willful opacity.

These are some points that 2020 BoE candidates should bear in mind when questionnaires come their way, as they will.

In solidarity.

No comments:

Post a Comment