Editor’s note: The Frederick News-Post is profiling candidates for various public offices in Frederick County leading up to the July 19 primary elections. Each school board profile will include an audio recording of the full interview.
Cindy Rose, a Brunswick-area mother and outspoken critic of Frederick County Public Schools for more than a decade, said she is again focusing on parents’ rights and fighting outside influence in her fourth campaign for the Board of Education.
Rose sought a seat on the board in 2012, 2016 and 2018. In 2012, she fell short in the primary elections. In 2016, she advanced to the general, but finished fourth in a race for three seats. In 2018, she finished sixth in a race for four seats.
“It’s always been the same thing. It’s been returning local education back to the local level,” Rose said. “We have too many corporate insiders, politicians, special interest groups, political activist groups taking control of public education.”
Rose’s son, Ben, has cerebral palsy and attends Rock Creek School. Rose ventured into “the politics of education” for the first time to advocate for Ben, who she argued shouldn’t be subjected to state-mandated standardized testing. She worked with local lawmakers to introduce “Ben’s Rule” in Annapolis, which would have exempted students with disabilities from the test. The bill was considered three times, but never passed.
Until about a year ago, Rose said, she had no intention of launching a fourth campaign.
“I won’t run for Board of Education again unless you can get me three other like-minded people who think exactly like I think,” Rose recalled thinking. “I didn’t want to go up there and be the lone conservative on a very liberal board.”
But then, Rose said, she found allies in Nancy Allen, Olivia Angolia and Mark Joannides. The four have formed the Education Not Indoctrination slate and are raising and spending money as a group, with a shared mission, aiming to secure a majority on the seven-member school board.
Rose has been decrying what she calls “indoctrination” in FCPS since at least 2011, when she appeared on Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News after challenging a social studies textbook from her daughter’s third-grade class.
“It’s just gotten worse and worse over time,” Rose said.
More than 10 years later, the Education Not Indoctrination slate argues that FCPS offers a “politicized, sexualized, emotionally driven education” instead of one focused on academics, according to its website. The four members have taken issue with the district’s health curriculum, the way it teaches about race and more.
On its website, the group promises to “ban the use of all materials” dealing with anti-racism or “LGBTQ+ diversity training.” It also says that if elected, members would place cameras in every classroom and reduce the number of employees in FCPS’ central office.
The slate outlines more granular goals, too, like reinstating the term “Christmas break” rather than “winter break” because “America is a country founded under Judeo Christian laws.”
Rose said she was concerned about incoming FCPS Superintendent Cheryl Dyson, an area associate superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools. Rose argued that the current board should have waited until after the November 2022 general election to appoint the district’s next leader. Former Superintendent Terry Alban resigned in December 2021.
“You could possibly have a new majority whose vision of education isn’t what this Montgomery County person’s vision of education is,” Rose said. “Montgomery County politics is very progressive, liberal — it’s more of the identity-driven divisiveness.”
Rose said every goal on her campaign platform came back to one principle.
“We need to get back to core, basic education,” she said.
The other candidates in the school board race are: Liz Barrett, Ysela Bravo, David Brooks, Heather Fletcher, Rae Gallagher, April Marie Montgomery, Ashley A. Nieves, Tiffany M. Noble, Rayna T. Remondini, Dean Rose (who is not related to Cindy Rose), Justi Thomas and Karen Yoho.