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From the Desk of Board of Education Candidate Robert Johnson

I am a lifelong resident of Frederick County, and a 1978 graduate of Walkersville High School. I have a B.A. from Wheeling Jesuit University in Organizational Leadership and Development, and an A.A. Frederick Community College. Management experience in a variety of fields as both business owner and in supervisory capacities, as well as the discipline and critical thinking skills gained from Jesuit education; renders me well qualified to sit on the Frederick County Board of Education.

I am one of the few candidates not accepting donations. I am neither beholden nor accountable to any special interest or constituency except the taxpayer. Unlike any other candidate I speak plainly and bluntly. I will not engage in obfuscation, or speak in condescending and patronizing tones to those that elect me. A public servant is just that, a servant of the People. Unlike the current Board and top FCPS administrators my door will always be open to the public.

My number one priority is fiscal responsibility and accountability to the taxpayer. Government at all levels is insolvent. We are facing a budget crisis that will require severe austerity measures resulting in program cuts and personnel reductions if finances are not reigned in within two years. Taxpayers, me included, are tired of paying for a system that holds the general public in contempt and yields abysmal results.

Apply a judicious approach and use cost/benefit analysis to justify every expenditure, department, and program. We could cut waste, end duplicative and underperforming programs and plow that money back into updating the curriculum and modernizing older school buildings. I favor privatizing certain departments such as food service, IT, transportation, and clerical positions.

FCPS is top-heavy with administrative staff, many whose sole function is to administer idiotic, ineffective programs such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. The savings gained from refusing federal funds and eliminating these administrative positions (and other cost saving measures) could be plowed back into the system to increase the quality of the curriculum and increase the MOE from the current $11,367 to $15,000 or more.

Too many children graduate from our system functionally illiterate. If the FCPS was properly educating our children then institutions such as Frederick Community College would not be required to provide so many remedial math and English courses. I am acquainted with many parents whose children took AP classes and graduated with a 4.0 GPA and yet have to take remedial courses in college. Such a situation is absurd

The curriculum is pathetic with too much emphasis placed on "self-esteem," and not enough on rigorous instruction and accountability. I propose a return to a classical core curriculum comprised of English, math, science, civics, American history, classical languages (Latin and Greek), arts, and physical education.

Iím not in favor of charter schools. Instead I advocate a strong core curriculum in EVERY SCHOOL. If our educational system were performing as it should, charter schools would not be required. This shouts out the need for curriculum reform.

I propose the removal of all illegalís from the FCPS. They are a drain on the system and take resources away from citizens and LEGAL immigrants. The onerous burden in the form of unfunded mandates, health services, extra instructors, and instructional space that illegal aliens place on the FCPS violates the civil rights of citizens. Too many resources are wasted on people that have no place in our educational system or our country.

I will work to end all diversity and multicultural programs; they provide a disincentive for assimilation of immigrants. These programs, in the opinion of this writer, undermine American culture, language, and history. These programs encourage balkanization and foment racial, ethnic, and religious tensions. Witness the ethnic tensions in states such as California, where some teachers, administrators, and even government officials openly agitate for the return of the southwestern United States to Mexico. An area under Mexican sovereignty for less than twenty years, I might add.

I support educational choice (school vouchers) with two caveats:

  • Vouchers would equal the lesser of the Maintenance of Effort, or the cost of private/parochial school tuition.
  • Vouchers must be used for private/parochial schools within Frederick County.

It is the right and duty of every parent to provide the best education for their children. If the public schools cannot provide that education then parents have the right to use their tax dollars to send their children to the educational institution of their choice.

I have been a licensed insurance agent in Maryland for almost twenty years with many years of experience in personal lines (life, health, property, and casualty), and commercial insurance. The current "self insurance" system is a joke and a budgetary accident waiting to happen. More than once in recent years the system has operated with a deficit.

I propose a change from a self-insured health plan to a market-based "cafeteria" plan. A market-based system where major carriers compete coupled with the buying power of more than five thousand FCPS employees and dependents; would result in lower costs, superior service, and more choice. Most importantly, fiscal solvency for the most important benefit offered by an employer would be assured and relieve the FCPS of one budget conundrum.

Read position papers of other candidates running in the 2010 primary