PATCH: Why are you seeking a position in the Board of Education?
Anderson: I firmly believe that education provides children the opportunity to have a full, rich life and that public education is a cornerstone of our country. I retired last June from teaching in Bloomfield for nearly 26 years. As a consequence, I have a deeply felt passion for the Bloomfield public schools. I am running not for personal advancement or recognition but solely because I want to continue my commitment, support, confidence and devotion to the children, parents and schools of Bloomfield in a new capacity as a member of the board of education.
PATCH: What are your qualifications for the position?
Anderson: I have been a teacher since 1970, having taught Kindergarten through twelfth grade as well as on the college level. I bring a strong background in education. I understand the issues facing education in general today and the specific problems and difficulties in our district. I know the district very well and also would bring an institutional history to the board. As a former teacher in the district I can bring a very needed new dimension to the board.
For more information see: http://bestteam2012.com/daniel-anderson-4/
PATCH: What do you see as the top three problems in the Board of Education?
Anderson: These are very challenging times for education due to the effects of the economic downturn; however, Bloomfield still needs to make a continued commitment to education and to our schools to ensure that we have schools where all children can learn and achieve. We need to continue to make sure that our students have the best teachers, materials and support staff. An excellent school system helps to increase property values. Unfortunately, our district has been severely under-funded by the state of New Jersey, thereby putting a tremendous burden on the people of Bloomfield in the form of higher property taxes. By the state’s own funding formula there has been a funding deficit of over $16 million since 2010. In addition, we are being financially burdened by state mandates that the state does not fund.
Many of our schools are overcrowded, over capacity. This problem will only get worse in the near future as further housing development takes place in Bloomfield. I have experienced firsthand what it is like to teach in a school that just has too many children for the space. The children's education suffers from classes that are too large, music and art being "on the cart" instead of in their own classrooms and resources being stretched too far. The solution to the problem is going to take some very creative approaches.
The Bloomfield schools do many absolutely wonderful things that unfortunately are too often overlooked. We have Mock Trial teams from the middle school that consistently do extraordinarily well in competitions. The high school Key Club does so many community-minded events. The music and art departments put on many wonderful programs. We have children who excel at so many things. Yet, these achievements get lost. The board needs to ensure that the Bloomfield Public Schools are recognized by the community for its many wonderful accomplishments.
PATCH: What would you say are some of the best things about the current BOE?
Anderson: The board is moving away from a politically influenced group to a more independently thinking group with different backgrounds. There are many members of the board who have a deeply felt passion for the schools and the town, and really care about our children and their education.
PATCH: How are you funding your campaign? Who are your main financial supporters?
Anderson: Mary, Kent and I each contributed money to get our campaign started. We had a potluck fundraiser for friends to raise money. We are proud that we have not accepted contributions from anyone who would try to influence our decisions as board members.
Editor's note: Anderson is running as a team with Bloomfield resident Kent Weisert and current BOE President Mary Shaughnessy.
PATCH: Anything else you would like to say?
Anderson: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." --- Derek Bok, American educator and lawyer