Greetings once again, from the Northwest Voice! I am excited to reconnect with the community. You may know that the newspaper initially launched in January 2005, and after four years of an enjoyable run, we suspended publication. Like the Northwest Voice, most of our advertisers were small businesses. The economic crisis that hit in 2008 was devastating to many of us. But you take stock and find ways to rebuild.
The Voice returned in 2014 to print a special political edition in time for the gubernatorial general election. We thought it was essential that people understood the impact of the redistricting that changed the boundaries for legislative District 10 and created a new District 44B, and know a little about the candidates running in these districts. After much thought, we decided that it was important that we return to a regular monthly schedule in the new year.
We understand that we are bucking a trend. At a time when print publications all over the country have gone under and are going under, I am certain there is still a need for community newspapers. The community thought so too. A number of people, including community leaders and elected officials, wanted to know when the Northwest Voice was “coming back.”
You may wonder why I have a special interest in northwest Baltimore County. It’s because I care about this community and the people who live here. I have been a part of it for nearly four decades. I have lived in Woodlawn, Pikesville, Reisterstown and Owings Mills and I spend a lot of time traveling throughout the county, talking to people, attending meetings, trying to keep up with what’s going on. As you may have heard me say before, an informed community is an empowered community.
Keeping abreast of national and international affairs is important, but what’s happening in our backyard is what counts the most. That is, what our local politicians are doing, how our schools are performing, etc. It bothers me when something important is going on inside the community and I hear someone say they didn’t know about it. The strength of a community is decided by how informed it is, and how effective and resonant are residents’ voices.
Conversely, an uninformed community will always be an underserved community. Trust me, there are plenty of people with business interests and political interests who operate on the premise that the community will be ignorant to what’s going on.
Our mission is to inform, educate, entertain, inspire and celebrate. We will share the news and information we are aware of, and we hope you will do the same. Be sure to pick up a copy of the Northwest Voice at one of the many drop-off locations, such as at senior centers, libraries and eateries. This time around, we will also be online at nwvoicenews.com. So, visit us often for updates.
The cover story of this February issue is on Baltimore County Schools Superintendent S. Dallas Dance. Let me say that yes, I am a supporter of Dr. Dance. I am pleased that his contract was renewed at the Feb. 2 board meeting.
Education should be focus for all of us, whether we have children or grandchildren in the school system or not. I am not new to the education circles in Baltimore County. I had three daughters go to BCPS and the system served them well. In the 90s, I was a PTA president, I chaired the county’s Northwest Area Education Advisory Council, and I personally interacted with three superintendents—Robert Dubel, Stu Berger and Joe Hairston. There were debates and controversies, as well as accomplishments and successes associated with each of them.
I believe Dr. Dance has done an impressive job. For example, according to Maryland Report Card, BCPS’s four-year graduation rate in 2011 for all high school students was 82 percent and 80 percent for African-American students. In 2014, the average graduation rate increased to 88 percent for all students and 87 percent for African-American students.
I can only begin to imagine what kind of world is waiting for our students. When we look at the technology that’s changed the world—World Wide Web is 27 years old, Facebook is 12 years old and Google is 17 years—and try to imagine where we will be in another five to 10 years. Our students must be prepared to adapt.
I recognize that a lot of folks are afraid of change. But we should keep in mind that Dr. Dance was brought here not to maintain the status quo, but to move the system forward. Let’s get out of his way and let him do just that.