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Diversity of opinion on board a strength, not 'dysfunction'

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  • pamythompson
    From ExploreHoward http://www.baltimoresun.com/explore/howard/opinion-talk/letter-editor/ph-ho-cf-letter-dyer-20110801,0,1363267.story
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 1, 2011
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    • Allen Dyer
      attached and appended (in rough format) is my unedited letter (09/01/2011) to the editor.. allen ... From: pamythompson To: howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 1, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        attached and appended (in rough format) is my unedited letter (09/01/2011)  to the editor..
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Monday, August 01, 2011 4:52 PM
        Subject: [howardpubliced] Diversity of opinion on board a strength, not 'dysfunction'

        August 1, 2011
        Letters to the Editor
        Howard County Times
        5550 Sterrett Place, Suite 312
        Columbia, MD 21044
        Dear Editor,
        Regarding Howard County Executive Ken Ulman’s recent criticism of the Board
        of Education as “dysfunctional”, I respectfully disagree. As one often outspoken
        member of the Board, I will be the first to acknowledge that current Board
        members possess varied and often profoundly different opinions how to best carry
        out the mandate of our citizens. That said, I view the diversity of opinion on the
        Board as a strength, not a “dysfunction.” The current Board has consistently
        worked within tight budget constraints to address a wide variety of critical issues
        impacting Howard County's children, the treasures for whom we Board members
        are stewards, and ever-mindful of protecting our frequently overlooked, but most
        essential asset — Howard County’s public school classroom teachers and support
        Recent accomplishments of the current Board include the advent of a "world
        language" pilot program at the elementary school level; the successful conclusion
        of labor negotiations during tight economic conditions; and, the approval of a
        programmatic review of the impact of the 1954 Supreme Court decision in
        v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
        . I am particularly excited about the
        system wide review of the impact of
        Brown v. Board of Education because it will
        inexorably lead to a motion and vote on whether the Howard County Board of
        Education should issue a formal apology for over half a century of operation of a
        racially segregated school system.
        Finally, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Ulman’s ill conceived approach to
        introduce partisan politics and related gerrymandering into the election of our
        expressly non-partisan Board of Education. Why would we in Howard County
        invite the ills demonstrated so vividly by the wasteful wrangling and brutish
        bickering of partisan politics in the recent national debt limit fiasco into the
        governance of our County's well respected public schools system?
        While Mr. Ulman should be applauded, not condemned, for urging an increased
        opportunity for minorities to be elected as members to the Board of Education, I
        would point to the writings of Lani Guinier and other voting system experts who
        recognize the value of proportional voting systems in providing greater
        opportunities for elected minority representation. I urge citizens to review the
        Internet literature on voting systems by searching terms such as: proportional
        voting; rank voting, and choice voting. Proportional voting systems are a proven,
        mathematically sound approach to increasing minority representation while, at the
        same time, maintaining a vigorous discussion of policy alternatives that
        culminates in a decision by majority vote.
        In the year 2000, during my first campaign for election to the Board of Education,
        I proposed a proportional voting system as a way to increase minority
        representation. I steadfastly continue to support a nonpartisan, countywide
        proportional voting system for the election of all Board of Education Members.
        Allen Dyer
        Speaking not for the Board, but rather as an individual member of the Board of
        Education of Howard County
        cc: Board Members
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