Friday, July 20, 2018

Forget Plastic Straws, Board of Ed. is Dumping Ground Up Tires in Streams in Cabin John Watershed

Remember when FieldTurf told the Montgomery County Council in 2011 that when artificial turf is removed "every single component will be recycled?"

Here we are 7 years later and this is the reality.  The Richard Montgomery HS artificial turf has been ripped up and 120 tons of ground up tires (crumb rubber) are being spread all over the school grounds, parking lot, roads and are going into our storm drains, ponds and creeks in the Cabin John Watershed.

All of the black dots you see in the pictures below are ground up tires (crumb rubber) used as the infill on the artificial turf field at RMHS.  Each artificial turf field requires 120 tons of ground up tires. All pictures were taken in the last two days and after the recent rain storm.

Drain surrounded by ground up tire pellets from artificial turf infill on 
Richard Montgomery High School artificial turf field. 

To report illegal dumping in the City of Rockville:

MD State Board of Ed. President: "Dubious move to reject Advanced Placement"

In a Fordham Institute article the president of the Maryland State Board of Education, Chester E. Finn, Jr. says:
Advanced Placement is about as close as American K–12 education has today to a gold standard—and as close as we come to a quality national curriculum at the intersection of high school and college.
Although Mr. Finn does not identify himself as the president of the Maryland State Board of Education at the end of the article, readers can find his information at this link on the Maryland State Board of Education website.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

And the Somerset Elementary School artificial turf playground is coming apart. #surprised? #2YearsOld

The picture to the left shows a section of the Somerset Elementary School playground where the artificial turf is coming apart at a seam.

The picture below shows the temperature of the Somerset Elementary School artificial turf playground on July 14th.  Should children be playing on a surface that is 146 degrees?  Do the children go out for recess when the field is 146 degrees during the school year?

The Somerset Elementary School parents were allowed by the Board of Education to raise money to put in their own artificial turf field.  Who is going to be funding the repairs to this two year old artificial grass field?  

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

There it goes! But where is it going? Dump? Incinerator? Another High School?

This is a picture of some of the used artificial turf from the Richard Montgomery High School field being hauled away.

But where is all this plastic going?  The Board of Education has not discussed this or made a plan for how to dispose of an entire football field of plastic. 

If you see the driver of this 18 wheeler, ask them where they are headed.

MABE's Newest Vendor that will be Meeting with Board of Education Members Outside of Public View

MABE is the Maryland Association of Boards of Education.  It is a private club that taxpayers fund. Each Board of Education in the State of Maryland belongs to MABE with the notable exception of the Maryland State Board of Education who dropped out of the club in 2012.

In recent years MABE has been "partnering" with companies that have things to "sell" to Boards of Education.


Each year MABE holds a conference in Ocean City and on top of the dues above, tax payers fund the OC Party

While at the conference MABE "partners" have unrestricted access to Board of Education members. Parents? You aren't there and don't have a voice in these procurement discussions.  

Today, MABE added another vendor to their list.  Take a look at what this vendor sells because there is a possibility that your Board of Education will be bringing this product to your local school system soon.  

MABE's other sponsors:

MABE Partner Milestone Communications has Contract Thrown Out in Virginia

Remember that in Maryland hundreds of thousands of education dollars a year go to pay the dues of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE).  MABE partners with no bid vendors like Milestone Communications and provides those vendors exclusive access to Board of Education members at meetings and at their annual event in Ocean City, MD. 

...The contract refers to the School Board as “Owner” of the public school property being offered as potential tower sites, as the Board is empowered to enter into contracts involving school land. However, the agreement was signed by Dean Tisdadt, former Chief Operating Officer of the school division who retired in June, instead of by a representative of the School Board. Though Tisdadt often signed contractual documents in the course of county business, in this case he had not been authorized to do so by the School Board in a formal vote, and thus was not a valid signatory on the contract...
...Since the agreement did not go before the School Board for approval, most Board members were not aware of the agreement’s existence even as they deliberated over the proposed cell towers at Albemarle High School and Western Albemarle High School over the last two years. “I certainly did not know of any marketing agreement with Milestone,” said School Board member David Oberg, who represents the White Hall district. As the Board has already approved the proposed WAHS cell tower, that plan will continue on to the Board of Supervisors for consideration this fall...
...In addition, a confidentiality clause in the agreement barring disclosure of its terms and conditions to any third parties meant that local school officials, parents, and owners of neighboring property had little chance of learning about its existence. Indeed, even Charlottesville attorney Lori Schweller, tasked with representing Milestone at the Crozet Community Advisory Committee public meeting about the WAHS tower, was unaware of the agreement.
The proposed WAHS tower site was approved by the School Board last year, though it was not recommended for approval by the Planning Commission at its June 26 meeting, due to zoning ordinance violations and in deference to the county’s Architectural Review Board, which also did not recommend approval. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing and discussion of requested special use permits related to the project at its meeting September 12.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Unfortunately, the [Montgomery County] Board of Education allows retaliation against whistleblowing employees..."

..."Unfortunately, the Board of Education allows retaliation against whistleblowing employees, and is willing to subject employees to long and expensive legal battles, instead of pursuing the truth that will best serve the interests of students. MCPS has endured child abuse scandals, conflict of interest issues in awarding curriculum contracts, and abuse of the credit recovery process leading to inflated graduation rates," Donlon wrote. "I believe I met my moral and ethical obligations throughout this multi-year ordeal. I only wish that the case did not stay tied up in procedural issues. The facts of the case were never heard by a court."  

Court of Appeals Sides with MCPS in Whistleblower Case: Richard Montgomery High School social studies teacher brought forward fears of AP enrollment inflation

Richard Montgomery HS gets Replacement Plastic Grass from MCPS Operating Budget, No Outside Sponsor

Alvaro recommended the district adopt an employee code of conduct that explictly references inappropriate behavior, like the code she advocated for that was adopted by the Montgomery County Public Schools.

Experts Weigh in on Efforts to Protect CPS [Chicago Public Schools] Students From Sexual Abuse

...Alvaro calls lack of training for students “a major loophole” in preventing child sexual abuse. “This would be analogous to never holding active shooter drills with kids. It’s our job as adults to prevent sexual abuse. But you have to tell kids what to do if it happens. It’s just like putting seat belts on or fire drills.”

Monday, July 16, 2018

Prince George’s County school board member Edward Burroughs has been granted a temporary peace order against school board chair Dr. Segun Eubanks.

Silver Chips: Why Online School?

...Within just a week of starting online school, Farber noticed a tremendous difference in both her physical and mental health. "After about a week of not having to go to school I was going to bed on time, waking up at a normal time, actually doing work and talking to my friends again," Farber attests. Online school provides a relief of school-related stress and pressure that can be very beneficial for a student’s health. While Farber admits that "it’s hard to say, of course, what exactly helped me get into a better place," she emphasizes that, "being out of school and being removed definitely took a lot of my anxiety away because I didn’t have to worry about all the school drama…"

Friday, July 13, 2018

P.G. Board of Ed Chair Eubanks has been charged with second-degree assault.

School board approves $800K severance deal for PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell

...Burroughs, one of Dr. Maxwell's vocal critics, told FOX 5, “I'm very disappointed that our tax dollars were wasted. These are dollars that could have gone to the classroom, but instead will leave with Dr. Maxwell.”
Burroughs also said he was threatened by Eubanks after calling for his resignation.
“After the meeting, his attorney asked me to come to the back room and when I went to the back room, [Eubanks] pushed me against the bookcase and told me he was going to blank me up … And as you have on your video footage, he was escorted off the premises by school system security.”
Another school board member who witnessed the alleged incident backed up Burroughs' account. Eubanks did not respond to our request for his account of what happened.

DEVELOPING: At tonight's @pgcps board meeting. Chair of the board, @SegunEu was asked to resign by member,

Court of Appeals: State whistleblower law does not apply to public school teachers. Brian Donlon, a social studies teacher at Richard Montgomery High School. Donlon alleged that, after he told media outlets in 2012 he discovered the Rockville school was inflating its Advanced Placement statistics, his superiors assigned him to teach courses he did not feel qualified to teach and made him a floating teacher who had to travel from classroom to classroom...

Maryland public school teachers are not protected by the state’s Whistleblower Protection Law because their employer is the county education board and not the state, the Court of Appeals held Thursday.
The decision affirms the Court of Special Appeals dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Brian Donlon, a social studies teacher at Richard Montgomery High School. Donlon alleged that, after he told media outlets in 2012 he discovered the Rockville school was inflating its Advanced Placement statistics, his superiors assigned him to teach courses he did not feel qualified to teach and made him a floating teacher who had to travel from classroom to classroom, according to the Court of Appeals opinion.
Donlon brought his whistleblower complaint to the state Department of Budget and Management in December 2014 but the agency ultimately dismissed the complaint after determining Donlon lacked jurisdiction because he was not a state employee.
On an administrative appeal, however, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge ruled Donlon was a state employee and therefore protected by the whistleblower law.
The Court of Appeals on Thursday described county boards of education as a “hybrid” entity that possesses characteristics of both state and local branches. But Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr., writing for the unanimous court, noted the county boards have “exclusive responsibilities over personnel matters.”
Eric C. Brousaides, a lawyer for Montgomery County Public Schools, praised the court’s conclusion.
“It is not inconsistent for a school system to argue that the (Board of Education) is a state agency for some purposes, like 11th Amendment immunity, and a county agency for other purposes,” said Brousaides of Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr LLP in Columbia.
But the “sharpest blade cutting against Donlon’s claim” was the Public School Employee Whistleblower Protection Act, which went into effect in October, according to Harrell, a senior judge sitting by special assignment. The new statute excludes state employees from its definition of “public school employee,” he wrote. If the court held county school boards were state agents, he added, then county school boards would not be protected under the new statute.
“We do not believe the two statutes can be read harmoniously,” Harrell wrote. “To accept Donlon’s urging would render nugatory portions of the PSEWPA.”
Donlon’s attorney referred to the length of Harrell’s decision to show the complexity of how the state whistleblower law was applied.

“It seems a 44-page and scholarly opinion from the Court of Appeals was necessary to explain how Brian Donlon was not clearly covered by the Whistleblower Law as a public school teacher, and to allow the Montgomery County School Board the ability to take inconsistent positions in court about whether it is or is not a state agency,” said Adam Augustine Carter, principal at The Employment Law Group in Washington, in an emailed statement...

Balt. Board of Ed. ACTS! Superintendent Avoids Questions as County School Board Enacts Discipline Change

(WBFF) -- The Baltimore County Board of Education took swift action Tuesday night, following a series of Project Baltimore investigations which exposed a spike in bullying and violence in County schools.
An impassioned debate concerning violence and bullying in the classroom unfolded as parents and community members addressed the board and school superintendent.
“The bullying epidemic is not going to go away if we don’t address it now,” one community member told the board...

Thursday, July 12, 2018

$800K severance deal negotiated for PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell, sources say

Read this MD Ct. of Appeals Opinion if Your Child is Sexually Assaulted in a Tutoring Session, a Music Lesson, a Martial Arts Class or Other Situation Where Someone is Responsible for Supervision of Your Child

This understanding of the statute nearly resolves this appeal. Mr. A. [teacher] had responsibility for the supervision of Ms. K. [minor child] when she was in his class, but that responsibility ended when she departed the martial arts studio and her parents resumed their responsibility – thereby terminating the implied consent of the parents and the instructor’s duty to supervise. (Page 15)

Baltimore County Board of Education members can talk and write resolutions. Take note silent Montgomery County Board members, this is what it looks like when Board members take their positions seriously.

Baltimore County School Board Members are taking action following a series of Fox45 investigations into violence and bullying in County schools.

“If we can’t keep our kids safe in school, then we are failing to do our jobs,” says Julie Henn, a member of the Baltimore County School Board.
Henn and fellow School Board Member Kathleen Causey have watched over the past month as Project Baltimore has interviewed parents, students, and teachers about a recent spike in violence in County classrooms...

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New Law Could Prevent Sexual Abuse in Youth Sports

BOISE, Idaho – A new law could help prevent child sexual abuse on youth sports teams this summer. 

After hundreds of cases of abuse within the USA women's gymnastics team were revealed last year, Congress passed the Safe Sport Act in January. 

Under the law, youth sports organizations are required to give sexual abuse prevention training, and report abuse allegations to local law enforcement. 

With summer sports warming up, organizations are looking at how to stay in line with these new policies. 

"So many good things happen in sporting organizations, and young people and adolescents blossom into these really great adults, partly because of the experience and the coaching that they get, and all those kind of things,” says David Duro, president and CEO of Treasure Valley Family YMCA. “But not everybody can be trusted with our children."...

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A new day in the Maryland Senate

If someone were to hang a sign on the doors of the Maryland Senate, it might read “exciting opportunities available, inquire within.”
Going into the primary election, almost a dozen seats in the Senate already were open as some of the most experienced members, and in many cases trusted allies of Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. declined to seek re-election.
And then came Tuesday.
“This was a tectonic shift,” Sen. Cheryl Kagan, D-Montgomery, said afterwards. “It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t happen overnight — except that it happened overnight.”
That seismic shift included the loss of most of Miller’s remaining leadership team. Still in place are only one of four major committee chairs — Sen. Robert A. “Bobby” Zirkin, D-Baltimore County and chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee — and two vice chairs.
The results also raise questions about Baltimore’s strength as it leaves Sen. William “Bill” Ferguson as both the dean and youngest member of the city Senate delegation.

The changes will force Miller to build relationships with new members of his caucus, including those who unseated key allies and friends. The longest-serving Senate president in the country and in the history of the state has already started meeting with members, but some observers say those meetings are “the normal blocking and tackling” done by the Senate leader following an election...

Monday, July 9, 2018

BOE wants @pcmc1 Tweet "taken down" - .@mocoboe Superintendent Jack Smith told the County Council's Ed Committee in open session that he has a zero tolerance policy on incidents of staff and sexual assault; that he can be overridden by Board of Education. True/False?

A Montgomery County Board of Education member has e-mailed to the Parents' Coalition requesting that we take down the following Tweet.

"police" should be policy

The Board member had BOE Chief of Staff Roland Ikheloa watch the video of the Montgomery County Council's Education Committee meeting referenced in the Tweet.  Mr. Ikheloa concluded,
 "...I watched the entire video and cannot come up with any statement by the superintendent remotely justifying the quoted tweet below by the Parents Coalition..."

Below are video clips from the April 25, 2018, Montgomery County Council Briefing- MCPS Child Abuse & Neglect Policy.

Councilmember George Leventhal, "I understand the Superintendent to be saying that these charges, if found to be true lead to immediate dismissal..."

Superintendent Smith says, "... I feel so strongly about this and I believe so much that we can not even allow people to resign when it is found they have done these sorts of things, they must be terminated..."

Superintendent Smith says. "... I, of course, make the recommendation to the school board, the school board acts..."

Now is the @pcmc1 Tweet of the statement by the superintendent remotely justified?

HVAC problems are widespread across Montgomery County schools

...According to longtime Blair Technology and Engineering teacher, John Kaluta, Blair's HVAC has been periodically faulty since the building opened in 1998. "The day the building opened, it was so hot that the panels popped off the walls in the Student Activity Center (SAC) and upstairs. During winter, we found certain places in the building, including one of my rooms that, as soon as the heat was turned off, blistering cold air would come in through the vents," Kaluta explained...

Friday, July 6, 2018

"People who knew and did nothing must be held fully accountable for turning their backs on children to aid and abet predators." (As in MCPS Superintendents, Administrators and Board of Education members)

Joshua Starr on Transition Team for New Haven Schools Superintendent

...Joshua Starr, CEO of PDK International — which lists growing and connecting education leaders as its mission on its website — said he has been a mentor to Birks for about 12 years when he was Stamford superintendent of schools and she was in a program at the University of Connecticut.
“For 12 years we’ve been working on making sure she gets the right job,” he said. “We’ll be supporting her behind the scenes.”
Starr said PDK International will oversee the transition period...