Carroll's BMW BoE slate trending up for these 3 reasons
Ambrose support, Miller's focus on bullying, and the return of masking
With summer winding down and the public’s attention turning back towards school and then November’s general election, Carroll County’s parental rights advocating Board of Education slate, known as BMW for — Tara Battaglia, Jim Miller, and Steve Whisler — is catching a noticeable momentum stemming from three recent developments:
Attracting the support of congressional candidate Nicolee Ambrose
Miller’s differentiating focus on preventing bullying
The reappearance of masking children in schools
Mutual support between Ambrose and BMW
Nicolee Ambrose is a Republican candidate for the House of Representatives, hoping to represent Maryland’s recently redrawn second congressional district, which includes most of Carroll and Baltimore counties.
To do that, she’ll need to unseat the long toothed in government Dutch Ruppersberger, or Out-of-Touch Dutch as her supporters call him, who has made a career out of tax and spend governance and is now completely aligned with the profligate policies being shoved through by President Biden, which are causing the inflationary pressures so many Marylanders now suffer under.
But responsible spending to reduce inflation is just one pillar of Ambrose’s campaign, restoring common sense in education is another. And that is what prompted her to offer support to BMW, who she knows will advocate strongly for keeping school about the basics so that kids can just be kids.
Whisler said he was “so thankful” to have her support, and noted how he shares her commitment to “ensure schools are focused on teachers, kids, and academics”.
BMW slate Chair Bryan Thompson similarly noted how Ambrose’s platform matches theirs:
“We welcome her support, her platform is in alignment with ours, getting distractions out of the classroom, getting the focus of schools back on academics, and supporting parental involvement”
Now, Ambrose and BMW are campaigning together at events. Just this week, Whisler invited Ambrose to join him, alongside Senator Justin Ready, at the Hampstead American Legion 200’s crab feast.
And earlier in August, Ambrose held a campaign kickoff event in Westminster, where Miller was invited to speak, joined by his wife and three daughters who he cited as being his motivation.
This pairing should prove positive for all involved. BMW can benefit from the message amplification offered by an established politician like Ambrose, and the establishment leaning Ambrose can benefit from tapping into BMW’s grassroots momentum.
Miller’s focus on bullying has the potential to be a winner
If there is an easy, albeit untrue, knock on conservatives as a whole, it is that they rarely come to the aid of society’s most vulnerable.
That is why Miller’s emerging focus on reducing bullying, ie. protecting the vulnerable, has the potential to widen his and BMW’s voter pool into those who might lean progressive by default.
Literally no one likes a bully.
But, as it is now, bullies are basically enabled by the public school system, which often refrains from real discipline in the name of restorative justice, a concept that stretches back to the Obama administration which sought to disrupt the so called school-to-prison pipeline by substituting punishment and suspension for talk therapy and restoration.
Bullies no longer get suspended, they get placed right back in the classroom alongside their victims — go the suspension route enough times and your school system will risk a Civil Rights lawsuit for disproportionate disciplinary outcomes.
This mentality is reflected in the Maryland State Department of Education’s model policy for bullying, harassment, and intimidation, where you’ll find words like “restore” and “restorative” over and over again, but never “punish”, “suspend”, or even “separate”.
That background aside, in June, Miller spoke during a Board of Education meeting, telling the story of how one Carroll student was videotaped in the bathroom by a bully, only for the bully to be placed right back in the same classroom alongside them, still in possession of the phone at issue, because the principal could do nothing until the sheriff got involved.
Just like the overwhelmingly unpopular soft on violent crime policies for which there is now a nationwide backlash, standing against this sort of in school cruelty should truly be a nonpartisan issue.
And if Miller can get this message out, it has the potential to be a winner for him and his slate mates.
Masking of children in Maryland not going away
In July, the Maryland State Department of Education released a 12 page report outlining their virus guidance for the upcoming school year. As if there were any uncertainty about what that guidance might entail, the report’s cover page pictures a classroom full of elementary school aged children wearing cloth masks.
Predictably, the report leaves the notion of once again mandating masking wide open, saying: “Schools might need to require masking, based on federal, state, or local laws and policies”.
Mere days later, on August 12th, Prince George’s County Public Schools announced that they would be starting the upcoming school year with a “mandatory mask policy in all schools and facilities until further notice”, citing the transmissibility of the new subvariant.
And keep in mind that, all of these recent developments come against a backdrop where the State of Maryland only finally lifted their statewide school mask mandate in February of this year — just six months ago.
Despite what the mandate hawkish slate of teachers union endorsed candidates would have everyone believe, the masking of children is no legacy issue, but is rather a clear and present danger now and in the future.
And let there be no confusion about where Dorsey, Scanlan, and Jozkowski stand on the issue of masking — they are for it.
Scanlan has published a plethora of columns in the Carroll County Times articulating his affinity for masking, saying things like:
And of course, for a while there, Jozkowski was nary to be seen in public indoors or out unaccompanied by a tightly fitted N95. And she has gone on record a time or two stating clearly how she believes the masking decision sits with higher authorities at the state and federal level, not Carroll’s duly elected BoE.
As for Dorsey, though less active in the newspapers and on social media, she considers herself, in her own words, an agent of the state — and as we’ve seen, the state’s position is clear.
Unsettling though all this may be, it should bode well for BMW purely from an electoral standpoint. Masking kids is, if nothing else, unpopular.
One nationwide survey by Politico and Harvard back in March found that only 11% of parents thought required masking helped their children’s education, while 40% thought it was harmful.
Those numbers would theoretically be even more lopsided if the sample were just Carroll County, which probably leans a little rural and a little conservative relative to the rest of the country — which might just give BMW the nudge it needs to win.