Cast your vote for Dr. Linfeng Chen by July 19

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Vote Dr. Linfeng Chen. He will put our children’s education above politics, focusing on academics and insisting tax dollars are used to ensure resources are in place so all children can reach their greatest potential. Dr. Chen is the leader we need making decisions and providing direction on the Howard County Board of Education.

Follow him on Facebook at DrChen4BOE and visit his campaign website Chen4BOE.org to make contributions and sign up as volunteers. His grassroots campaign needs your help! You can make a difference!

Better Education for All! Vote for Chen!

What do Devices, Social Emotional Health, the HCPSS Budget, and Equity have in common? 

Looking at the HCPSS budget for devices, the proposal is to provide devices for all students, whether they need them at home or not.  It is also proposed to have 20% replacement ready to go in case of loss, stolen, breakage or failure.  Cost for 1 device:1 student is: $23M.  How often do they break?  Very often!  Cost for 20% replacement each year: $4.7M.   Bringing devices back and forth to school, especially for young children, is costly, accidents are bound to happen. Nearly 3750 devices have been reported lost or stolen in FY2022-21, at a cost of $1.5M.  

Have you noticed your kids play less outside and spend more time with chromebooks?  Exactly how much of that screen time is causing a problem with our children’s mental health?  According to the Mayo Clinic, too much screen time and regular exposure to poor-quality electronic contents has been linked to: obesity, inadequate sleep schedules and insufficient sleep, behavior problems, delays in language and social skills development, violence, attention problems, and less time learning.  Is it important that every student be able to watch YouTube and put up TikTok videos or would it be more equitable to ensure every student receives a quality education?  I believe we have to approach this in a different way.  

1.  We must recognize that shutting down school caused extreme harm to all our students and a full virtual option should never be considered again. The emergency preparation should focus on mitigation methods and sustaining in-person instruction. Therefore, 1:1 device is no longer necessary.  What is necessary is a plan to bring students into class even when our Covid numbers increase, or if any other communicable disease rears its ugly head in the future.   

2.  Elementary school children should not have a school device at home.  They need to be outside playing, not attached to a screen.  They can and should get their homework done with a piece of paper and a stubby pencil. It sounds uncool and rudimentary, but in reality, it stimulates more of the student’s senses and hightens learning. An added bonus is it costs a lot less money and the young student won’t be tempted to travel to internet locations unsupervised or simply google the answers. Let’s focus our budget on ensuring every elementary student leaves the fifth grade as proficient readers and math ready.  

3. According to the US Census, the median household income in our County is $124,042.  Many Howard County households have more than one computer at home. Parents I talked to said, they want their children to use the computers they have at home for at home schoolwork because they can monitor the use better, and they don’t have to worry about being charged when a school computer is damaged or lost. Does that mean everyone has a computer at home?  No. It means HCPSS should not be budgeting for a 1:1 student device ratio.  If a family requests a computer for their student, the school system should provide a computer.  To me that’s equity, if you need a computer to do your schoolwork, you get a computer to do your schoolwork.  If you don’t request a computer, you still have to do your schoolwork, that’s taking responsibility for your education. HCPSS should be fiscally responsible and spend taxpayer dollars for those who cannot afford a computer at home. The savings on this can go directly into lowering class size, a much better use of taxpayer dollars.

4.  A teacher suggested to me that many parents need training on helping their students navigate school use applications and how to monitor computer use. We have an obligation to educate parents as well, and do it in many languages. Let’s help our parents be partner’s in their child’s education by providing them the tools they need to keep their children safe, but learning, while online. 

5.  Finally, we have to limit the time all students are on computer screens at school. A computer should not take the place of hands-on teaching and learning for normal subjects.  It is more valuable for a student to actually conduct the experiment, observe the reaction, and write down the results rather than watch someone do the experiment online. Does that mean computers don’t have a role to play in our children’s education? Absolutely not. I can think of reasons why students should have access to a computer at school, not the least of which is allowing a student to take a class not offered at their school.  Again, that’s equity, no one should be denied an opportunity to learn because not enough students wanted to take a particular class at their school.

My heart goes to the families, friends and neighbors of Robb Elementary School

Dear Howard County Neighbors,

I wanted to take the time and also give you the time to grieve, reflect, and think about the event in Uvalde, Texas before commenting. My heart is aching for the families, friends and neighbors of the 19 Children and 2 teachers who were killed at Robb Elementary School, those who were wounded, and those whose life has been changed forever. I am saddened that it appears lessons have not been learned from previous school shootings, of which there have been way too many. I want to reiterate my stance that SROs are needed in our schools, and I will VOTE to keep them in our schools and expand their presence as necessary. I want to reiterate that portable classrooms are not safe for our students in any extreme weather event like May 27’s or in any lockdown, not an easy fix because our student numbers keep growing and our classrooms don’t, but I will work hard to expand capacity by requesting funding for permanent additions to existing schools. I promise you, if I am elected to the Howard County Board of Education, I will insist that all policies associated with school safety are evaluated on a yearly basis and lessons learned from other attacks on schools are incorporated into our safety policies, that each school is periodically checked for adherence to school safety policies and potential safety vulnerabilities are corrected immediately. In addition, I will work tirelessly to expand mental health services in our schools to support not only our students, but also our teachers and families and make these become a permanent resource.

All children need a safe, nurturing, learning environment where they can grow into caring and responsible adults ready for whatever the future brings. We can do better!

Join Dr. Chen on 2022 Candidate Forum on May 14 (Sat.), 1-5:30PM at Miller Library

Come to join me and other candidates (Executive, Councilman, BOE) on May 14th 1-5:30PM at Miller Branch Library, hosted by Asian American Communities (CAPA, KSM, IONHoCo). I look forward to seeing you there!

1-1:15 networking

1:152:30 County Executive
Allan Kittleman
Calvin Ball

2:45 – 4:15 County Council D1
Sean McCurdy
Nuveen Kurtom
Liz Walsh

County Council D4
Hank Boyd
Janssen Evelyn

4:305:30 Board of Education:
Tudy Adler
Linfeng Chen
Susan Dreisch
Julie Hotopp
Jacky McCoy
Dan Newberger
Monique Richards
Meg Ricks

Join Dr. Chen on Howard county BOE candidate forum on Wednesday, May 11, 7:00 – 8:30 pm at Oakland Mills High School

Join me and other candidates on Howard County BOE candidate forum hosted by PTA Council of Howard County (PTACHC) on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm at Oakland Mills High School (9410 Kilimanjaro Road, Columbia, MD  21045). 

The format of the forum will be similar to past live events hosted by PTACHC.  There will be a moderator.  Candidates will be given an opportunity to introduce themselves, and then asked to answer a series of scripted and unscripted questions.  Equal time will be allotted for all of the candidates to answer the questions and present their views.  

Dr. Chen’s answers for League of Women Voters’ Questionnaire

1. If elected, what are the top three priorities you will pursue during your term?

My top three priorities are:
(1) addressing the staff shortage;
(2) providing adequate school infrastructure;
(3) improving student physical health and mental health.:

2. What actions will you take to address the impact the pandemic has had on students, especially related to learning loss, social development, and mental health?

HCPSS should provide and sustain a safe in-person learning environment for all students and bring back classroom instructions to pre-Covid levels. In-person learning is critical for children’s social development and mental health. In terms of learning loss, we can recruit high school students and staff to tutor students and reinforce any identified weak spots after school and during summer break. 

3. What changes would you make in how school funding is allocated so as to obtain the best results for students at the most responsible cost to taxpayers? Which interventions would you emphasize to provide the greatest benefit to students?

The allocation should have a priority list each year and be agile enough to meet new challenges. Staff salary and benefits should be No.1 priority this year due to staff shortage and the high inflation rate. The school budget needs to be sustainable and reflect the county revenue projection. Additionally, HCPSS should always scout cost effective new technologies/methods to solve pressing issues. 

4. What are the factors that should be considered for attendance area changes (redistricting), and what should trigger that review?

Redistricting should be least disruptive to students and families. Redistricting should only be based on school utilization and should be done less frequently and more predictably. Redistricting is the least effective method to address academic performance. HCPSS should work with the community to build a supportive and encouraging environment inside and outside schools. 

5. How would you support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of all students and their families in our schools?

I support diversity, equity, and inclusion and this is one of my platform issues. An inclusive school system should treat everyone fairly, appreciate their differences, and recognize their identities. Everyone should feel safe and welcomed at school. No one should be treated less because of their race, gender, identity, or ability. 

Dr. Linfeng Chen calls for volunteers for support

Dr. Linfeng Chen needs your help and support to win this election and make a positive impact on our schools. Please visit his website at http://www.chen4boe.org/volunteer to sign up for volunteer opportunities. Also you can write to Dr. Chen at Chen4BOE@gmail.com, he will get back to you with questions and inquiries. Thank you for any help on Dr. Chen’s Campaign for Howard County Board of Education!

My Concern on Mental Health of both Students and Teachers in Howard County

Do you care about the Mental Health of both Students and Teachers in Howard County? I certainly am concerned, and that’s one of the reasons I am running for the Howard County Board of Education. Join my team of volunteers and help me prioritize mental health in our school system. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our students and teachers. Click here to join our campaign team.

I will be looking for ways to work with the Superintendent, Howard County Council, the County Executive, and our Howard County Health Department to get much-needed support into our schools. Not only for our students but also for our beloved teachers who have shouldered a larger burden of educating our children during a pandemic.