Editorial board questionnaires   

Portrait of Barney Michel

Barney Michel

Non-Partisan candidate for Maryland Board of Education

Barney Michel

Non-Partisan candidate for Maryland Board of Education

Portrait of Barney Michel

Education: M.S. - Systems Analysis, Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) B.S. - Government & Politics, University of Maryland (UMCP)

Occupation: Independent Defense Consultant, Research, Development and Acquisition

Home: Bel Air

Age: 64

Previous Political Experience: Serve on several community boards with a focus on defining and meeting the STEM Education and Workforce needs of the Northeast Maryland Region for grades K-20. These include the Susquehanna Workforce Investment Board and Youth Council, the Northeastern Maryland Technology Council, the Northeastern Maryland University Research Park, the Northeast Maryland Higher Education Advisory Board and the Army Alliance, Inc.

Responses to our questionnaire

Q: How will you address the budget issues that each year leave Harford County Public Schools millions of dollars short of what school system officials say they need to operate?

HCPS have been systematically underfunded for years. This has led to a structural deficit in education funding that cannot be addressed overnight. All stakeholders must participate fully and openly in a collaborative effort to identify, validate and prioritize the current and future funding needs and sources. Education must not continue to be treated as an expense to be minimized. We need a new approach that recognizes education as an investment in our human capital for our community's future.

Q: In the wake of years of tragedies committed in schools across the country, please explain your position on school safety and security and what, if anything, should be done in Harford County Public Schools.

I do not believe it is possible or realistic to plan for every contingency. HCPS strikes the proper balance between providing for the safety and security of our students and educators while not interfering excessively in the daily operations of our schools.

Q: What is your position on two controversial cost savings measures – ending bus transportation waivers for students who live close to school and having tiered schedules in elementary schools to save on the number of buses needed.

Both these measures, while well-intentioned, have had unforseen effects and together do not generate enough savings to warrant the negative impact on our students. I suggest we consider a more comprehensive, system-wide approach to maximizing our student transportation efficiency. We need to include our bus contractors in this process, leveraging their insights to achieve this.

Q: How will you address student achievement in all ages in the various testing programs?

I do not understand this question.

Q: How has HCPSS performed in implementing the Common Core state standards? Should anything be done differently as the school system continues its implementation?

Overall, I would give HCPS a grade of "B." The basic work has been done but there is room and need for improvement. The fact that it was rolled out at the same time as the new teacher evaluation system has resulted in oversaturation for both teachers and administrators. The system needs to fine tune the process based on best practices identified from lessons learned.

Maryland Board of Education