Traveling throughout the Far East and other countries on business, C. Scott Stone was impressed with how hard those countries are working to compete with more developed societies such as the United States.
He said his motivation to run for Carroll County school board against incumbent Cheryl A. McFalls was so that he could make sure today's students are prepared to compete on a global basis.
"I think they need to appreciate how hard the rest of the world is working," said Mr. Stone, an engineer for AT&T; Network Systems. "These people are starving in some cases. They have no place to go but up.
"The postwar generation tried to help their children by making life as comfortable as it can be. With that comfort comes complacency," he said.
Mr. Stone urges that more math, science and technology be taught. He supports starting foreign languages in elementary school, as early as possible, although he added that that will cost money.
Schools in most other countries teach their students a second language at the earliest levels, he said. "Many speak a third language as well. They know more about American politics than most Americans."
Mr. Stone said he feels educators should have wide latitude in the early grades for how and when a student learns a particular skill or concept, "but there has to be a point at which the bill is due."
Mr. Stone, 41, moved to Carroll County from Baltimore County 23 years ago. He graduated from North Carroll High School and then received a bachelor's degree in engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and a master's degree in computer science from Loyola College.
He and his wife, Theresa, and two children live in Hampstead.
Mr. Stone said he that has wanted to run for school board for several years but that the travel in his job prevented him from doing so.
He says most working parents don't have the luxury of taking time off as he does to attend school board meetings. So, he advocates twice-a-month meetings, with at least one of them at night.
School board meetings are held the third Wednesday of every month, starting at about 9 a.m. and ending anywhere between noon and 2:30 p.m. Very few parents attend, and only one or two attend regularly.
Mr. Stone said that if the board makes the meetings more accessible by having them at night and making a point of encouraging participation, more parents would attend or at least have the opportunity to do so.
He said he disagreed with recent board decisions not to show students an AIDS videotape that mentioned safe sex and not to add books including "Cheaper by the Dozen" to the elective reading list in schools.
He said he does not support censoring materials already approved by screening committees that the board has charged with that job, unless the materials are obscene or pornographic.
"I'm opposed to censorship, and that's what I think those actions amount to," Mr. Stone said. "We need to be able to expose our children to diverse literary works. If a teacher proposes to use a book, that teacher should have every consideration to use it."
The video on acquired immune deficiency syndrome, he said, showed young people dying of the disease, which he said could reach students in a way other materials might not.
He said parents could always choose to have their child removed from the viewing of that particular video without denying other students the opportunity to see it.
Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said parents would have had to pull their children from the whole sex-education unit rather than just that video showing.
Mr. Stone said there should have been a way to exempt students only from seeing that videotape. "I don't see why they would have to miss the whole section," he said.