Representation and Civility

When I decided to run for Howard County Board of Education, I did so for three reasons. The first was because I felt I had something to add to the conversation. I’d spent much of my working life focusing on K-12 education and the health and welfare of children. This is my passion, and with my experience and education, I wanted to make a difference.

The second was because I believe that governing bodies that represent communities, particularly around education, should be representative of those communities. My participation on the board, I felt, would bring a perspective that often gets drowned out. Many voices are seldom, if ever, heard in the community conversations leading up to Board of Education decisions and I want to ensure these conversations are inclusive and representative of our county’s rich diversity.

The third is that I believe wholeheartedly in the U.S. public education system, in no small part because I have two children being educated in this system, but also because our education system is essential to fulfilling the promise of our nation’s founding. I ran because I want Howard County’s public schools to be the best they can be for students, educators, families, and our community, and because I am concerned about the direction of education policy nationally, on the state level, and locally.

In choosing to launch a campaign for a position on the Howard County Board of Education, my plan was always to share my ideas and vision for our school system and make the case to the residents of Howard County as to why they should entrust me to make decisions regarding their schools. This is an idealized version of campaigning, but it is the standard to which I hold myself and it is the best approach to allow voters to make decisions based on the respective qualifications, positions, and visions of each candidate. Respectful, transparent debates about education are essential to making positive progress for our school system and most importantly our students.

Running for office I know puts one in the public eye, open to scrutiny about what you believe, how you will make decisions, what values you hold, and how you will do your job if elected. Together we can focus our conversations on our schools and our students. I recognize that passions run high in campaigns, especially those for our Board of Education because of the lifelong impact schools will have on our children. When all is said and done, however, it’s important to remember that we are all neighbors—we will pass each other at school, in the grocery store, or at community meetings, and we all deserve respect and a chance to make our voices heard.

If you too believe in the values I hold, I would encourage you to learn more about me and my campaign. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to a healthy debate about the future of our schools over the next two months.

Sabina Taj, September 17, 2018