Friday, May 29, 2020

this questionnaire shows MoCo school board candidates' commitment to equity

As we speak, voters in Montgomery County are receiving ballots for the June 2 primary, which includes a crowded and often nasty race for school board. To help voters learn about the candidates, a group of progressive organizations put together an "Equity Questionnaire" on major issues affecting students.
Click to see the entire questionnaire.
Montgomery County Public Schools is the largest school system in Maryland, and its Board of Education is responsible for 165,000 students and a nearly $3 billion budget. It's a very diverse system and a fast-growing one, which raises questions about how MCPS should best use its resources.

While this year's school board race has largely revolved around a sometimes-controversial look at school boundaries, there are other big questions, like whether MCPS should do more for LGBTQ students or place police officers in schools.

There are also a lot of candidates in the primary, from which the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November. Thirteen people are running for the at-large seat, which is vacant.
Incumbent board member Shebra Evans has two challengers in District 4, which covers Silver Spring and Wheaton, while fellow incumbent Rebecca Smondrowski has a challenger in District 2, which covers Gaithersburg and North Potomac. (Since there are only two candidates running in District 2, it won't appear on your primary ballot.)

To help voters understand the issues, over a dozen progressive organizations in the county teamed up to make the "Equity Questionnaire," which asks candidates about everything from school boundaries to teacher hiring. Those organizations, which include SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice), Impact Silver Spring, the LGBTQ Democrats of Montgomery County, Jews United for Justice, and One Montgomery, aren't making any endorsements but share a commitment to social justice. There's a chart showing the candidates' answers to 12 yes/no questions, followed by more in-depth answers on specific topics.

This questionnaire only reflects the candidates' answers, which don't always line up with answers they gave to other organizations or public statements they've made. If you're really interested in digging into this race, you can also check out the League of Women Voters' voter guide, which includes all of the Montgomery County school board candidates.

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