Shirley Brandman discusses key issues for upcoming race
Shirley Brandman, a candidate in the upcoming Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) race, spoke to Blair's Young Democrats on Tuesday April 4 in room 134 at 3 p.m. Brandman briefly discussed her experience in education before moving into a longer dialogue with members of the club.
In her introductory speech, Brandman noted the importance of the BOE, a group that makes financial proposals to the County Council in order to fund educational programs and supply classroom materials.
A former abuse and neglect lawyer and member of the Montgomery County PTA, Brandman talked about her professional experience with children, a job history that she feels has prepared her to serve on the BOE.
During a question and answer session, Brandman discussed centralizing educational decisions in Rockville, a system she opposes. "If it's not helping anyone to learn, then it's useless," she said. "Top down [processes] are going to meet a lot of resistance."
Brandman also questioned the terms under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in which student success is measured through standardized testing, stating that students should not be measured solely upon a static standard. "If it doesn't improve on teaching and learning, we should get rid of it," she said. Brandman also offered an alternative solution to the current testing policies under NCLB, suggesting that students be assessed on "how much they have grown over the course of a school year."
In addition, Brandman made note of her plan to amend the total ban on R-rated movies in classrooms, suggesting that the BOE work with teachers to "avoid sections of the movie that earned the rating" and judging appropriateness based on the film's relevance to the curriculum.
In the discussion, Brandman was hesitant to fully support the new academies instituted at Blair. While she acknowledged that the academies "do have a place in our curriculum," Brandman also stated that they "make students narrow themselves." She expressed her concern with measurable academic instruction, which she feels takes away from class time that could be "spent just discussing something" and "being creative and using [students'] imagination."
Above all, Brandman encouraged students to get involved in the race. "This doesn't affect anybody more than it does you," she said. "You will be the ones to get people's attention."
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