Thursday, March 13, 2014


You may already have read a statement from Howard County Schools which begins like this, "There have been widespread rumors over the past few weeks..."

And if you did, you might be tempted to believe this is all about misguided people spreading rumors. Except for one thing. The situation we are in right now is one entirely created by the school system. How?

Let's look at the Petition created by HoCo Families for Music and Arts in our School.

HCPSS did not ensure:

1. That any changes to the elementary curriculum and schedule be developed with significant and meaningful contribution from teachers, administrators, and parents.

2. That any such plan developed be shared freely and openly with the public with time built into the process for discussion and parental input before being put to a vote by the Board of Education.

And because they did not, the petition requests:

3. That, in order to guarantee the achievement of these goals, they shall be made verifiable through the appointment of observers independent of the board/central office staff, that is, one each from PTACHC and HCEA.

Now, you shouldn't meet these requirements simply to avoid having people spread rumors. You should meet them because it's the right thing to do.

I noted with surprise that "Vision 2018: Filling the Promise of Preparation was developed by capitalizing on the expertise of more than 2,400 stakeholders, including students, staff, families, and community members." I would love to know where that number comes from, who those people are, and if their input was in any way meaningful to the end result.

I read recently, "Diversity Is Being Invited to the Party; Inclusion Is Being Asked to Dance". When it comes to changes proposed for The Model Schools initiative, there has been so much secrecy that it is difficult to know who, if anyone, was invited to the party. The lack of "significant and meaningful" contributions from stakeholders makes it pretty clear that few were asked to dance.

I know some very intelligent local people who, if similar tactics were employed by the CA Board or the Columbia Association, the County Council or the County Executive would be up in arms. There would be talk of over-reaching, disenfranchisement, dirty deals in back rooms. What we are seeing now in the Howard County Schools is a steady dismantling of the power of parents to engage in the future of their children's education.

That's a big issue, not a rumor.






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