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2022 Voter Guide: Robin Harvey, candidate for Baltimore County Board of Education District 1



Baltimore County Board of Education
District 1

Robin Harvey



Windsor Mill, Baltimore County

I am currently the Executive Director of the Maryland State Department of Human Services Office of Licensing and Monitoring which is responsible for licensing and monitoring private foster care agencies across the state.

I received my Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the College of William and Mary.

My political experience has been centered in supporting political candidate campaigns and advocacy. I have supported candidates through volunteering, including phone banking, working the polls, and canvassing. I am currently the Chair for the Randallstown NAACP Environmental Justice Workgroup and District 1 Commissioner for the Baltimore County Commission for Women where I am a member of the Public Policy Subcommittee.

Why are you running for office?

I believe that every child has a right to a quality education that propels them towards opportunity and that taxpayers should see the return on our investment. The Baltimore County Board of Education is charged with determining the educational policies of the county school system regarding school policy, school budget, and school property. As a Baltimore County resident, I have a personal interest in the success of our public schools. As a Social Worker, I am ethically bound by the core values of service, social justice, the dignity and worth of a person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. As a parent, it is important to me that every child has an opportunity to receive a quality education in an environment that fosters a love of learning.

What do you see as the most pressing issue the county school system faces and how would you address it?

Ranking issues that all feel like priorities can be difficult. When I look at the major issues the school system is facing, including teacher recruitment and retention, student support (academic and otherwise), and safe environments conducive to learning, I find that teacher recruitment and retention and have a cascading effect on the other issues. Along with administration and support staff, teachers are leaders in the school. We rely on them not only to teach our children, but to help motivate them to learn. Teachers build relationships and our children come to rely on their constancy in the school setting. Without certified teachers who are committed to educating our students, we open up fissures in the schools that diminish the ability to prevent or mediate conflict, provide student-based support, and create a welcoming learning environment.

How should county schools assist students in recovering from the learning loss?

A foundational social work principle is “meet people where they are”. One strategy that meets students where they are and can help them close learning gaps and make up unfinished learning is the strategy of Learning Acceleration. Learning Acceleration combines several in-school and out-of-school academic supports. Strategies include establishing a baseline that children should meet to maintain grade level; implementing tutoring, including high-dose tutoring; offering out-of-school opportunities, including experiential and project-based learning; and offering summer learning opportunities.

Should the county school board redraw school boundaries further? If so, using what criteria?

The goal of redrawing school boundaries should be to maximize equity across school districts-to ensure that each child, no matter what school they attend, receives the same resources and quality education. If that is not happening, redrawing school boundaries should be a consideration. Rather than taking a criteria-first approach, it would be beneficial to work backwards from the goals we set.

What efforts do the county schools need to make to address systemic racism in education and society?

We are past the discussion of whether or not systemic racism exists across societal institutions, including education. It is an indisputable fact. Because systems are designed to achieve exactly the results they get, we understand that poor student performance, increased disciplinary actions, decreased engagement in enrichment and advanced classes among students of color and of lower economic status is exactly the outcome of a system woven with the vestiges of racism. Equitable funding for schools is a beginning. Schools with students that are majority students of color or of lower socio-economic status are often underfunded, overcrowded, and under-resourced and outdated. Stemming systemic racism in the school system also means eradicating opportunity hoarding. Restricting access to resources to a group that needs and giving those resources to a group that wants is indicative of the very notion of the deserving and the undeserving and is rooted in racist ideology.

What, if any, changes would you propose to the school system’s discipline policies?

Children cannot learn in environments where there is fear or chaos. It is a reasonable expectation that students behave appropriately in school. However, it is also reasonable to consider their socio-emotional development, including brain development, the presence of Adverse Childhood Experiences as they all impact how a child “shows up” for school. Personal accountability is a character trait necessary for success. Discipline is often reduced to punishment-consequences for bad choices. There is some data that shows that punitive disciplinary actions in schools do not improve student behavior or academic performance. Before proposing changes, I would need to know how the schools are implementing Character Education, Conscious Discipline, and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports. It is important to know if these approaches are robustly implemented with measurable goals. These strategies are intended to foster self-discipline which is the preferred outcome. Changes should occur based on the success of the current strategies.

How would you set priorities for school construction and renovation? Has the county devoted adequate resources to maintaining or replacing school buildings?

School construction and renovation priorities should be set with an approach of student and faculty health and safety first. All schools should have appropriate heating and cooling, potable water, working plumbing, appropriate ventilation, and adequate infrastructure to prevent overcrowding. After that, priorities should focus on the amenities offered to students in their learning. Do some schools have state-of-the-art science labs while others use makeshift classrooms? Do some schools have the most updated technology labs while others have outdated equipment? We have to set the standard and make sure it is equally applied across every school.

Baltimore Sun Media’s voter guide allows candidates to provide their background, policy and platforms on issues, in their own words. Any questions or feedback can be sent to, or read more about the questionnaire process here.

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