Charles "Bud" Nason is one of three Carroll County Board of Education candidates, along with George Harmening and Jim Roenick, running in a block to remove Common Core from the county public school system.
Incumbent Virginia Harrison, Bob Lord and Devon Rothschild are also vying for the three seats that are being contested in the November election.
Common Core, a controversial set of standards in math and English language arts, was implemented in Maryland schools during the 2013-2014 school year.
"What Common Core has done to math, to any of us who have looked into it, is complicated the living daylights out of it," Nason said.
According to Nason, education fads, such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, have gotten progressively worse over the last five to six decades.
Nason said he wants to "hit the pause button" on Common Core in Carroll and, if elected, have the local Board of Education send a message to the state board that they will not use the standards in the county.
Nason, 78, born in Baltimore, attended religious-based private schools, and said he knows the importance of education.
"Education got me out of Fulton [Avenue] and Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore," Nason said. "If you know the neighborhood, then you can see education was my ticket to a decent life."
Two of Nason's children attended religious-private schools, and the other two graduated from the Carroll County Public School System.
Nason, who now lives in New Windsor, became involved in the school system when his two youngest children attended Francis Scott Key High School. He said he monitored his children's progression with the help of the then-principal.
While his children and grandchildren have completed secondary school, he said he is running to ensure other students receive quality educations in Carroll schools.
One of the major issues in the school system is the lagging teacher's salaries, Nason said.
Carroll County teachers have not received a step increase in four of the last five years. But, through a three-year negotiated contract with the school system teachers received a 2.5 percent bonus in fiscal year 2014, a 3 percent bonus in fiscal year 2015 and a 1 percent bonus and 2.5 percent cost of living adjustment is scheduled for fiscal year 2016.
Nason, who has worked in public sector organizations represented by a union, said that while teacher bonuses are great, they do not impact the base salary and do not add wealth to the retirement package.
"There's something ethically wrong with that kind of approach," Nason said. "It calls for a slim retirement package at the end of the trail."
If elected, Nason said he would call for a fiscal and a performance audit of the school system to see if it can find better ways of cutting costs without affecting teacher's salaries.
To address concerns of a large population of Carroll Community College students who attended the Carroll schools that need remediation, Nason said the school system has to ensure students are earning their diplomas, "rather than handing them out by the state for time served."
More individualized or specialized programs in the school system may help struggling students better prepare for college or the workforce post-graduation, he said.
While Nason notes that several school facilities are in need of repair, he said the focus should first be on getting students excited to learn, rather than allocating funds for new facilities.
"We can have the brightest, cleanest, shiniest new building — even sterile — but students can't learn unless they have a willingness to learn, and they can't learn unless they have capable teachers," Nason said. "Learning is supposed to be fun."