Howard County Families for Education Improvement (FEI) is proud to strongly endorse Dr. Yun Lu for election to the Howard County Board of Education (BOE) in District 5.
FEI’s mission is to ensure every child in Howard County has access to an outstanding education that will enable them to build a successful future. The Howard County school system and the Board of Education are at a critical juncture. The once prominent reputation of the Howard County Public School System is in jeopardy because decisions are being made based on divisive politics, rather than based on data, community input, and what’s best for our children. Real change is needed, and the choice is clear in District 5 – Dr. Yun Lu will bring evidence-based decision-making and collaboration to the BOE and help get HCPSS back on track.
Dr. Lu is a mother of two school-age children in Howard County public schools, a passionate community volunteer, a weekend math teacher, and a full-time statistician working for a federal public health agency. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and has worked for over a decade as a public health data scientist. She serves on the Board of Education Operating Budget Review Committee (OBRC), and believes in fiscal discipline to ensure long term financial stability of HCPSS. Yun has been a long-time PTA member, a Math Counts team coach, and school and community volunteer. She cares deeply about those most vulnerable in our community and has volunteered at every single FEI Foundation Food Pantry during the pandemic, delivering food to families in need. Dr. Lu will bring many important and needed skills to the BOE.
Dr. Lu has stated that she never imagined running for any election, but after observing the decision making process at the BOE last Fall during redistricting, she felt compelled to run. Throughout the redistricting process, she voiced her concerns at public hearings that the Board was relying on inaccurate data, flawed analysis, and inappropriate missing data imputation. For decisions that have a direct impact on tens of thousands of children and their families and all Howard County communities, Dr. Lu believes we must do better. Unfortunately, the BOE has continued to show disregard for a data driven approach, as evidenced by the surprising push by some Board members to vote on a motion in September 2020 to remove School Resource Officers (SROs) from HCPSS schools, without any data upon which to base their decision and without any community dialogue or input. In response, Dr. Lu released the following statement: “What really concerns me was the board voted on a topic that lacks enough information, public discussion among the board members, and public input. As a statistician, I think the BOE should follow science and data to make sound decisions for the future of Howard County children.” We need an accomplished data scientist like Dr. Lu on the BOE – to ensure that important decisions are based on evidence, rather than emotion.
Kids First – Making Children the First Priority in Education
Yun believes that the BOE should base all their decisions on one simple principle – putting kids first. She cares deeply about ensuring the success of every child in HCPSS, and understands the challenges faced by those members of our community who are in need and have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Dr. Lu has also made clear that the mental health of our students will be a top priority for her on the Board. She will ensure that HCPSS takes an evidence-based approach to assess and respond to the mental health needs of students, a particularly important priority as a result of the psychological toll the pandemic is having on our children.
Collaboration and Working Together
The Board of Education is supposed to be non-partisan because politics has no place in education. Yet unfortunately, we have seen divisive political, special interest, and ideological agendas unduly influence the BOE and HCPSS leadership. The Howard County community is calling for decisive change. Dr. Yun Lu will bring that change. She has the temperament and skill set to bring diverse groups together to work towards solutions that put students first. When the BOE and county leaders don’t work together, students and communities suffer. She will foster collaborations between the BOE, county leaders and the community to ensure long-term planning that is thoughtful, responsible, and evidence-based.
The choice could not be more clear in District 5. FEI is proud to join other key Howard County organizations, including the Indian Origin Network of Howard County (IONHoCo) and the Chinese American Political Association Political Action Committee (CAPA PAC), who have also endorsed Dr. Yun Lu. We encourage our community to fully support her efforts for election. To learn more about how you can donate or volunteer for Yun Lu, visit https://www.lu4boe.org or https://www.facebook.com/lu4boe.
Howard County Families for Education Improvement (FEI) is proud to strongly endorse Sezin Palmer for election to the Howard County Board of Education (BOE) in District 4.
FEI’s mission is to ensure every child in Howard County has access to an outstanding education that will enable them to build a successful future. The Howard County school system is at a critical juncture, with staggering budget deficits, lack of a clear educational strategy during the pandemic, and undue influence of politics on the school system’s dealings. The choice is clear in District 4 – Sezin Palmer will value the community’s input over special interests and will use her executive leadership skills to get the BOE and HCPSS back on track.
Ms. Palmer is a lifelong Howard County resident, who herself graduated from HCPSS and now has two children in the school system. She is an accomplished executive leader in a large research and development organization in Howard County, managing a budget of over $60 million in funding. The child of immigrants, her family made education a top priority. She was the first in her family to attend college, obtaining bachelors and masters degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins. She has dedicated herself to national service both professionally and in her community work, serving on PTAs and Boosters for over 10 years and actively supporting many charitable organizations. She cares deeply about those most vulnerable in our community – our children – and has been an active volunteer in recent weeks delivering food to families in need at the FEI Foundation Food Pantry. Sezin will bring many important and needed skills to the BOE.
HCPSS is facing significant financial challenges, with looming budget deficits and lack of adequate budgetary planning and accountability in spending. As a seasoned research and development executive leader, Sezin manages a team of over 200 staff and a $60 million budget. She will bring to the BOE a track record of sound decision-making and management of competing financial and organizational priorities within a complex organization. She is used to making thoughtful decisions based on data and evidence. That leadership and experience is unmatched, and much needed given the current challenges faced by HCPSS.
Transparency: Standing against Special Interests
Sezin strongly believes that politics and special interest influence should have no place in the education of our children. The Howard County community deserves elected leaders who prioritize transparency and ethical conduct. To get HCPSS back on track, the stranglehold of developer and other special interest influence on HCPSS decisions must end, and Sezin will be a fierce advocate for our children’s best interests. She will work to restore the community’s trust in their educational leaders.
Valuing Community Input and Bringing Communities Together
At a time when many of our elected leaders have sought to use the education of children as a platform to divide us, we need leaders like Sezin who will unite communities across Howard County. Sezin strongly believes that valuing the community’s input and diverse viewpoints will allow for the best solutions to HCPSS’ most challenging problems. She has a proven track record of working collaboratively across complex organizations, and bringing stakeholders together around common goals. Her collaborative approach is much needed at this critical time for HCPSS.
The choice could not be more clear in District 4. FEI is proud to endorse Sezin Palmer and encourages our community to fully support her efforts for election. To learn more about how you can donate or volunteer for Sezin Palmer, visit https://www.sezin4boe.org or https://www.facebook.com/sezin4boe/.
FEI will be endorsing candidates for BOE in other districts over the coming weeks.
FEI Strongly Endorses Christina Delmont-Small for Re-election to the Howard County Board of Education – District 1
The voice of Howard County parents and students was overwhelmingly clear during the recent redistricting process. Alongside thousands of Howard County residents, FEI implored the Board of Education to move the fewest possible students to address overcrowding, while keeping neighborhoods together and communities stable. FEI advocated for separate, evidence-based strategies to address the achievement gap. Yet, the majority of BOE members failed to listen to the community, and instead chose to thrust their agendas upon constituents with a lack of transparency and integrity. It was a display of failed government – when elected representatives ignore the key values upon which our nation was founded – “We the People.”
At a time when Howard County is in desperate need of effective leadership, Christina Delmont-Small has distinguished herself as a steadfast and courageous voice of the people – a true leader for the students and parents of Howard County. Her values align with those of Families for Education Improvement, and therefore FEI is proud to strongly endorse Christina Delmont-Small for re-election to the Howard County Board of Education (BOE) District 1.
Listening to the Community
After the BOE vote, Ms. Delmont-Small released a statement thanking the community for their engagement and advocacy. She expressed deep frustration with the redistricting process and outcome, and also affirmed the need for our leaders to listen to the community:
“Listening to the community is vital to making the best possible decisions for all of our students and has made my voice stronger throughout this process because I heard your concerns and ideas.”
Ms. Delmont-Small has demonstrated that she will engage and listen to all members of the community, and advocate strongly on their behalf.
Check and Balance to our Local Government
Ms. Delmont Small does her own research. She is data-driven, and has repeatedly emphasized the need for the BOE to base their policy decisions on accurate data. She will continue to serve as an important check and balance on our local government, and her independent, logical, and evidence-based decision- making will ensure the BOE makes prudent and appropriate decisions for our students.
Advocate for Responsible Spending
At a time when the Howard County Public School System is facing unprecedented budget shortfalls, Ms. Delmont-Small will be a consistent watchdog of unnecessary and inappropriate spending. She is detail-
oriented and laser focused in her analysis, and this will be critical as the BOE makes decisions about how to allocate funding to best meet the needs of our students.
A Proven Track Record
Unfortunately, we have seen our elected leaders’ actions in office defy their campaign promises. In contrast, Christina Delmont-Small’s track record in office is proven and speaks for itself. She has the experience and integrity to build a better BOE and better future for our students.
FEI is proud to endorse Ms. Delmont-Small and encourages our community to fully support her efforts for re-election. To learn more about how you can donate, volunteer, or host a fundraiser for Christina Delmont-Small, visit https://christinaforboe.org/.
FEI has not yet endorsed any other candidates for BOE, but will continue to thoroughly assess each candidate’s credentials and values over the weeks ahead, leading up to the April 28, 2020 elections.