By CAPA JRC reporter Eileen Luo
A parent of two and veteran of education, Michael Fryar is running as one of the District 2 candidates for the Board of Education (BOE) this year. Over a span of over thirty years, he has taught at an elementary school, advocated for students, parents, and teachers in courts, and worked as a social worker.
As a member of the BOE, Mr. Fryar’s main goal will be to resolve the poverty issue in MCPS. His plans, drawn from his experience within the Connecticut school system, include redistricting and creating more themed and magnet schools.
“The achievement gap… goes hand in hand with poverty,” he said in an interview. “[So] in redistricting, I think we’re going to address a chunk of the poverty issue.”
In our interview, Mr. Fryar also mentioned some of the problems with the current district borders. “There’s a large number of kids that don’t go to the school closest to them. We need to redistrict to figure out what’s going on.”
Experience with Chinese Americans
When asked about his experience with the Chinese American community, Mr. Fryar said, “I think the history of the Chinese Americans gets overwhelmed by the focus on other groups.” He believes that, in addition to talking about “the black... [and]... Hispanic experience in the United States”, we should also be talking about the Chinese American experience and their contributions.
“Quite frankly, a lot of the country would not have been built up without the Chinese labor input,” said Fryar.
Although he believes MCPS did a good job of transitioning into an online learning model on such a short notice, Mr. Fryar also considers it time to move to a hybrid model.
“Teachers were never adequately trained [in it],” he said, referring to the online learning model. “[A]nd not all kids work well on computers, specifically special education kids… This level of technology is not something that does well with special education.”
Mr. Fryar suggested that MCPS could look to the school districts that have successfully implemented hybrid models to find ways to step away from the current technology-based model.
As for the current lawsuit against MCPS alleging that Asian Americans have been discriminated against in admissions for the magnet programs, Mr. Fryar believes that no one should be denied a seat on the basis of their race. “We need to increase the magnet program to accommodate everyone who qualifies for it,” he said. “Then we can turn around and [adjust the demographics of the program].”
This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 19 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.