Do you support the findings of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education? Are you committed to funding associated reforms, and if so, how?
Attar: Overall, I support the recommendations of the Kirwin Commission, which was a transparent and inclusive process, and provides a strong starting point for making serious change. Some of the recommendations have already begun to be initiated, via legislation recently passed. Universal pre-K is a key issue of my platform, and I also strongly support supplemental resources for schools based on poverty levels of students, as well as more help for special education students (an issue I have heard many local parents complain about since I started my campaign). And while I believe we must ensure that teachers are well-paid, and we provide sufficient incentives to recruit qualified, quality teachers, I want to better understand the Commission’s expectations for raising the status to equate teachers with professionals that require similar levels of education. Also, I am concerned about trying to compare other school systems (particularly outside the US) to Maryland’s, and even comparing within Maryland, in different jurisdictions. While we want a globally competitive school system, we have to compare apples to apples, taking into consideration relevant socio-economic factors. I have to review the Commission’s financial report when everything is released. I await their recommendations, but am apprehensive about imposing more mandates to fund the recommendations. I support the lock-box, using casino funds for education, but if that is not sufficient, we may have to support initiating recommendations on smaller scales that are fiscally feasible, before expanding them to reach their ultimate goals.