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Board of Education should OK reforms

Very few people like change. Yet true leadership sometimes requires you to embrace change to meet challenges. That's what the high school reform proposals developed by Harford County Public School administrators are all about.

The Board of Directors of the Harford Business Roundtable for Education (HBRT) has evaluated the reform proposals that the Board of Education will be considering next Monday. We support these proposals, and here's why:

1) Our students will be able to pursue their own life goals, while still being challenged to meet rigorous academic standards.

2) The program carefully addresses the needs of students with special needs, gifted students and students in the middle. Each group will get the attention they deserve.

3) Academic consistency between High Schools will improve efficiency and cost effectiveness.

4) Smaller "learning communities" within our necessarily large comprehensive high school facilities will help address issues of overcrowding.

5) Standards and expectations are being raised, and accountability will be shared by students, administrators and teachers.

6) Our teachers are crucial to enabling our students to succeed. To be successful, they need better training, more consistent supervision, a manageable range of content areas to teach and proper compensation for good performance. This plan and the HCPS budget address many of these needs.

7) This plan was carefully and collaboratively constructed. It was developed with the involvement of all stakeholders and over several years of thoughtful analysis.

HBRT's mission is to support student achievement by advocating on educational issues in the county. We have no illusion that the proposed plan is a "magic bullet" that will address every challenge that our high school students and our school system face, but it is a very comprehensive and carefully developed proposal.

We call on our Board of Education to approve this plan and we ask that our elected officials support them in this bold decision. Our children require your leadership.

Craig Ward

Frederick Ward and Associates

Richard Bock

Huntington Learning Center

Betsy Campion

Campion Insurance

Nancy Donnelly

YMCA of Central Maryland

Warren Hamilton

J. Vinton Schafer Construction

James Meehan

HARCO Federal Credit Union

The authors are members of the Harford Business Roundtable for Education Board of Directors.

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