Monday, January 31, 2011

"We were paying for his salary -- we thought he had to meet with us, but he would never."

Montgomery parents want more collaborative superintendent | Lisa Gartner | Education | Washington Examiner

Parents of Montgomery County students know what they want in retiring Superintendent Jerry Weast's replacement, and they're not planning to be shy about it at community forums this week.
Northwest High School parents are looking for a candidate "who honors diversity," said Stephanie Ineh, the school's Parent-Teacher-Student Association president. 
"I don't feel there's enough emphasis placed on some of the needs of the minority children," Ineh said. "The reading and math scores on performance tests vary greatly between the groups, and there's not enough information and support in trying to close those gaps."
...Terrianne Small said Gaithersburg Middle School parents want Weast's replacement to "focus beyond test scores, to create much more well-rounded students."
"I really worry what will happen to students who are not strong in just math or reading," the PTA president said...
...The wish-list of Joan Sabaca, co-chairwoman of the Special Education Advisory Committee, is short and simple: She says she'd like Weast's replacement to accept a meeting with her team.
"We have begged him over the years by letters to come sit down and talk about special education, and he has refused [and offered lower staffers]," Sabaca said. "We were paying for his salary -- we thought he had to meet with us, but he would never."
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/education/2011/01/montgomery-parents-want-more-collaborative-superintendent#ixzz1Cfa1nzXv

The Washington Post: Montgomery County school officials to reconsider charter school applications


By Jenna Johnson Washington Post Staff Writer 
Sunday, January 30, 2011; 9:46 PM

A group of Montgomery County parents and education advocates poured hundreds of hours into a 350-page application for a charter school. Their dream: Global Garden Public Charter School, a primary and middle school with fewer than 420 students and an emphasis on foreign languages. The students would be a mix of the county's ethnic groups and economic levels...
...Joseph Hawkins was the president of a group that formed in the late 1990s to submit one of the county's first charter school applications. Plans for Jaime Escalante Public Charter School were denied twice. Hawkins now sits on the Global Garden board.
"Montgomery County has always said the right things, like, 'We support charter schools,' 'We would approve a charter school if the right one came along,' " Hawkins said. "Okay, then give us some clues to what the right ones are."

full article here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Taxpayers fund dinner and more during Broad Prize trip

Records recently obtained by the Parents' Coalition show that MCPS Chief of Staff Brian Edwards used his MCPS-issued American Express card to pay for a $362.86 dinner at the Azalea Restaurant in New York. In addition, Mr. Edwards spent $323.65 at the Sheraton NY Hotel and Towers.

Mr. Edwards attributed these charges to activities related to the Broad Prize announcement, which took place on October 19, 2010.

Charges by MCPS Chief of Staff Brian Edwards to his MCPS-issued American Express Card

Based on the information in the expense log, it isn't certain exactly how many people were fed with $362.86 of taxpayer money.  But even if Mr. Edwards covered the meals for 10 people, we have to wonder why Mr. Edwards is using his MCPS-issued American Express card to pay for meals other than his own.   

Mr. Edwards did not respond to repeated requests for the names of the people whose dinners were covered by the $362.86 charge.   

In addition, the accounting for the $323.65 Sheraton charge is problematic.  If this charge is for lodging, Mr. Edwards should have listed "lodging" on the expense log, instead of "Broad Prize Announcement Activities."  Exactly what "activities" did Mr. Edwards purchase at the Sheraton for $323.65?

Libraries Matter. No More Cuts.

We are posting this courtesy of Friends of the Library.  To join FOL go here.

Libraries Matter. No more cuts.


libraries and schools--a perfect partnership:
school media center closed?
try the local library--once there you’ll find:

homework resources, reading list books, information specialists, computer sign-ups, web searches, online databases, word processing, print outs...

from home you’ll find:
catalogs, online databases, patron placed holds and reserves, book renewals, ask-a-librarian...

summer’s here, school’s out?
try the local library--you’ll find:
summer camp info, vacation reading for parents, summer reading programs for kids, reading list books...

got preschoolers?
try the local library--you’ll find:
infants and toddlers programs, board books, caregiver information, parent resources...

got a high schooler?
try the local library--you’ll find:
reading list books, homework resources, internship and fellowship info, college and scholarship info...

online library?
there’s the mcpl catalog, updated constantly
there’s kidsite, a catalog for younger patrons
there’s cyberteen, the name says it all
databases, collections and more...

want a book that’s not in the system?
try interlibrary loan

want to browse a local non-county system?
go ahead, get a D.C. library card-- we also have reciprocal agreements with eight other Metro-area libraries

looking for input about books from a community of readers?
try readers’ cafe

MCPS Enrollment and Operating Budget over 9 years

In 2001, the MCPS enrollment was 136,832.  The FY 2001 Operating Budget was $1,216,096,599.

In 2010, the MCPS enrollment was 144,064. The FY 2010 Operating Budget was $2,078,967,001.

Here's what the changes in the enrollment and Operating Budget look like over the last 9 years when plotted on on a graph.


There are lots of ways these changes could be plotted, this is just one version. If you would like to make up your own version, submit it to us and we will post it.


How many administrators get a car allowance?

Someone on the Board of Education asked the question, "How many MCPS employees receive car allowances?"


And here is the answer from the MCPS Budget website
There are 22 MCPS employees currently receiving a car allowance. The amount budgeted for car allowances in FY 2012 is $171,600. The amount budgeted in FY 2012 for both local travel and mileage reimbursement is $1,944,306. The mileage reimbursement rate effective January 2011 as issued by the Internal Revenue Service is $.51 per mile.
22 MCPS employees get car allowances? Who are those 22 employees? $171,600 divided by 22 averages out to $7,800 per employee! That's a pretty nice perk. 


Teachers, you all getting car allowances? 

National History Day Coming Up!

The Parents Coalition is a proud supporter of National History Day (NHD), which is organized here in Montgomery County each year by the Montgomery County Historical Society. Teachers, schools and our children throughout the county participate.


The first-ever evaluation of National History Day shows that students that participate in the National History Day Curriculum:
outperform their non-NHD peers on state standardized tests, not only in social studies, but in reading, science and math as well.


are better writers, who write with a purpose and real voice, and marshal solid evidence to support their point of view.


are critical thinkers who can digest, analyze and synthesize information.


learn 21st century skills. They learn how to collaborate with team members, talk to experts, manage their time and persevere.

NHD has a positive impact among students whose interests in academic subjects may wane in high school.
The conclusions were reported in Education Week by reporter Erik Robelen. Read the full report here.

This year the theme is, ‘Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures and Consequences.’ The Parents Coalition encourages all the children in our county to get involved and submit a project. To read the rules go here.  To read about this year's theme, go here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Off to see the Wizards with Dr. Weast and the Board of Education

No, MCPS isn't substituting the Wizard of Oz for an instructional day.


MCPS is running a Wizards Night to raise funds for their back to school fair to raise funds for the Fourth Annual Back to School Fair..  See http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/familycommunity/wizards/  Tickets are $22 or $13 off the price for an upper level seat.
 
But - Groupon is also offering a deal on tickets for the same night.  $18 for a $35 seat.  Other organizations and advertised prices also run equivalent, if not less expensive deals.  



http://www.groupon.com/deals/washington-wizards-dc?c=dnb&p=5


 
So - is the MCPS fundraiser for $4 a ticket?



What happened to the corporate sponsorship for the annual back to school fair?  Yes, money is tight, but is our MCPS Department of Family and Community Partnerships so strapped for cash that they need to raise their own cash?  Maybe we should ask - you can too by emailing  AskMCPS@mcpsmd.org 


Better question - if MCPS can pay to take the kids to Strathmore for a concert, why not pick up the tab for the Wizards?   Will everything now in MCPS be turned into a fundraiser?  Doesn't this limit the experience to only those kids with families that can afford the ticket price, metro fair, and other costs of attendance?


Dr. Weast must really think he's in the Emerald City . . . if he thinks this is a green opportunity.









MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND
THE WASHINGTON WIZARDS PRESENT:
MCPS NIGHT

 


VS

     



SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011
GAME TIME 7 PM



TO ORDER TICKETS, GO TO  WWW.VERIZONCENTER.COM/WIZ/MCPS  SPECIAL OFFER CODE: MCPS



A PORTION OF ALL TICKET SALES WILL GO TO MCPS
FOR THE 4TH ANNUAL BACK-TO-SCHOOL FAIR



MCPS GROUPS TO PERFORM NATIONAL ANTHEM AND
PREGAME AND HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT




Ticket Information:
Upper Level: $22 (save $13!)
  Lower Level: $60 (save $20!) 



Deadline to order tickets with MCPS discount is March 1
Offer not available at box office; tickets subject to availability
For more information, contact the Department of Family and Community Partnerships at 301-279-3100 or AskMCPS@mcpsmd.org

13 CENTRAL OFFICE POSITIONS SLICED*

*Other cuts by Superintendent Jerry Weast in his list of threatened cuts released on January 28, 2011, include cuts to classrooms, counselors, activity buses, special education, lunch aides, instrumental music, outdoor education, and after-school athletics.


SAVED in this draft amended budget plan are MCPS credit cards, conferences, travel, no bid procurements, and car allowances for administrators.

Jerry Weast's Plan B

The invitation only Superintendent selection meetings...

At this link you will find information from the Board of Education about the Superintendent search process being conducted by an outside consulting search firm. Next week there will be public forums given by the outside search firm. You can attend those forums. 

What the Board of Education doesn't seem to make clear is that there will also be other "focus group" meetings next week. The focus groups appear to be by invitation only. Did you get an invitation? Do you wonder who did get an invitation? All good questions, but since the Board of Education has apparently discussed and decided on all these little details in closed sessions your guess is as good as mine. 

Here's what an invitation to a "focus group" looks like.  What message would you like conveyed at these meetings if you didn't get an invitation? Post your thoughts and those that got invited can relay your message...


************************


Dear Community Member:

Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools, has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2011. As a result, the Montgomery County Board of Education has initiated its search for a new superintendent of schools. We have retained the services of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), a consulting firm that specializes in assisting Boards with recruiting superintendent candidates.

A key step in this process is to identify the characteristics we will be seeking in our new superintendent of schools. We are delighted to invite you to participate in a focus group meeting to be conducted by a consultant from HYA. The meeting will be held at the following time:

Date: Monday, January 31

Time: 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Room: 127

Location: Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Maryland

If you cannot attend this focus group meeting, we hope that you will attend one of the public forums listed below. We also ask your assistance in publicizing these public forums to members of your organization and other community members.

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

· Northwest High School, 13501 Richter Farm Road, Germantown(Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese)

· White Oak Middle School, 12201 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring (Spanish)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

· Bethesda Elementary School, 7600 Arlington Road, Bethesda (Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese) (accessible from Bethesda Metro station)

· Montgomery Village Middle School, 19300 Watkins Mill Road, Montgomery Village (Spanish)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

· Wheaton High School, 12601 Dalewood Drive, Silver Spring(Spanish)

· Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville (Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese)

Child care or translation/interpretation services are available for the evening events by contacting the Board of Education office at 301-279-3617 by January 24, 2011. For sign language interpretation, please call 301-517-5539 by January 24, 2011.

If you have questions regarding the scheduling of focus groups, please call the Board office at 301-279-3617. Questions regarding the search process must be referred directly to Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates at 847-724-8465.

We look forward to your participation as we engage in this process to identify a new educational leader for our community.

Sincerely,

Christopher S. Barclay
President 

Does Football Have a Future?

Amidst the discussions of the dangers of artificial turf now being installed at prohibitive costs across the county, under a no-bid contract with FieldTurfTarkett, new advances in medicine show the dangers of football. So, how safe is football, especially for children and adolescents?

A new article in the latest New Yorker magazine, by Ben McGrath, has this to say about football, below.  Read the full article here.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., is the name for a condition that is believed to result from major collisions—or from the accumulation of subconcussions that are nowhere near as noticeable, including those incurred in practice. It was first diagnosed, in 2002, in the brain of the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame center Mike Webster, who died of a heart attack after living out of his truck for a time. It was next diagnosed in one of Webster’s old teammates on the Steelers’ offensive line, Terry Long, who killed himself by drinking antifreeze. Long overlapped, at the end of his career, with Justin Strzelczyk, who was also found to have C.T.E. after he crashed, fatally, into a tanker truck, while driving the wrong way down the New York Thruway.
And:
What we now know, from reading Schwarz [note: Alan Schwarz, a New York Times journalist], is that retired N.F.L. players are five to nineteen times as likely as the general population to have received a dementia-related diagnosis; that the helmet-manufacturing industry is overseen by a volunteer consortium funded largely by helmet manufacturers; and that Lou Gehrig may not actually have had the disease that bears his name but suffered from concussion-related trauma instead. (Since 1960, fourteen N.F.L. players have had a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is about twelve more than you would expect from a random population sample.)
And:
Between 1982 and 2009, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research, two hundred and ninety-five fatalities directly or indirectly resulted from high-school football. From 1977 to 2009, at all levels, three hundred and seven cervical-cord injuries were recorded. And between 1984 and 2009 there were a hundred and thirty-three instances of brain damage—not slowly accruing damage, as in the case of C.T.E., but damage upon impact. The injury incidence is far lower in most sports.
For more information, go to the Concussion Blog, here.

Weast plans $2.1 Billion Budget on 1 piece of scratch paper

Tech-Saavy Superintendent Weast shows how he developed $2.1 billion budget
Now we know how a Superintendent who is paid close to $500,000 a year in salary and compensation plans a $2.1 BILLION budget! The secret is out! No spreadsheets needed! Just one little piece of scratch paper! 


PATCH: County Schools Face Teacher Cuts, Class Size Increases If Budget Doesn't Grow, Weast Says

Superintendent unveils revised budget plan that uses state aid to add $42 million

[See the photos with this article to understand how these budget cuts were planned.]

EXCERPTS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL AGENDA FOR FEBRUARY 1, 2011


NOTE: Council will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Feb. 2 starting at 7:30 p.m. at 
Francis Scott Key Middle School.


EXCERPTS OF COUNTY COUNCIL AGENDA FOR FEBRUARY 1, 2011

9:30 a.m.  INTERVIEWS of applicants for Housing Opportunities Commission (in 3rd 
floor Conference Room)

10:20 a.m.  DISTRICT COUNCIL SESSION
-  ANNOUNCEMENT: Public hearing has been scheduled for March 8 at 1:30 p.m. on 
Amendment to the Master Plan for Historic Preservation: Kensington Cabin
-  ACTION on Resolution to deny Kensington and Vicinity Sector Plan revision for 
the purpose of incorporating new recommendations related to the CR Zones
-  ACTION on Resolution to extend time until April 12, 2011 for Council action 
on Amendment to the Master Plan for Historic Preservation: Greenwich Forest

10:30 a.m.  PRESENTATION - Report of the Organizational Reform Commission

12:00 p.m.  RECESS

1:30 p.m.  PUBLIC HEARINGS
-  Public Hearing on Takoma/Langley Crossroads Sector Plan revision (hearing 
originally scheduled for 1/25 at 7:30 p.m.)
-  Public Hearing/Action on $351,020 Supplemental Appropriation to current 
Fiscal Year 2011 Dept. of Correction and Rehabilitation Operating Budget for 
Second Chance Act, Technology Careers Demonstration Grant - Work First Train 
Concurrently (source: Federal grant)

1:45 p.m.  ACTION on Spending Affordability Guidelines for FY12 Capital Budget 
and other general CIP assumptions

2:30 p.m.  ADJOURN

2:30 p.m.  CLOSED MEETING to discuss public security - topic is security 
measures in Council Office Building (in 6th Floor Conference Room)
____________________
SELECTED COMMITTEE MEETINGS - Week of January 31 through February 4
-  1/31, 9:30 am, PHED Comm. on Resolution to amend Council procedures for 
Zoning Text Amendments, on ZTA 10-13 Hearing Examiner Waivers of Parking and 
Public Facilities Requirements under certain circumstances, and on Bills 13-07 
and 38-07 MPDU Program Amendments to end buyouts, among other changes
-  1/31, 9:30 am, GO (Govt. Operations) Comm. items include review of Council 
Rules of Procedure
-  1/31, 2 pm, T&E Comm. to get Briefing on Metro, and worksession on Bill 60-10 
Erosion and Sediment Control Violations (to be televised live on county cable tv 
and internet--see General Note below)
-  2/3, 10:30 am, T&E Comm. on State transportation projects priorities list (to 
be televised live on county cable tv and internet--see General Note below)
____________________
GENERAL NOTE: County Council sessions can be viewed over on County Cable 
television and via the internet (see instructions below for reaching that 
webpage).  Live Council sessions and archive tapes of past sessions can be 
viewed from the following webpage:
www.montgomerycountymd.gov/csltmpl.asp?url=/content/council/ondemand/index.asp

The new Council On-Demand Viewer requires Microsoft's Silverlight free plug-in.  
Information on Silverlight (and link to free software download) available on 
this webpage:
http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/faq/#sys-req

To view entire Council agenda, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov and click 
on County Council (in menu on left side), then on Council homepage click on 
Current Agenda.

The Council agenda and committee packets are PDF files that require Adobe 
Acrobat Reader to view.
_____________________
-Excerpts compiled by Jim Humphrey


Friday, January 28, 2011

Revenue-producing solution found for courthouse glare problem

The Gazette reports that the state government is waiting for building designer AECOM to develop a solution to the intense glare problem created by the new courthouse in Rockville.
"This is our temporary fix," said Barthol L. Thomas, acting assistant secretary of facilities planning, design and construction for the state Department of General Services. "This will stop the reflection of the windows until we have a permanent solution. We are still awaiting the proposal for the permanent fix."

Contractor's Solution (photo courtesy of the Gazette)

Parents' Coalition solution - Eliminates glare while bringing in desperately needed revenue 

FieldTurf is the exclusive supplier of artificial turf for MCPS and Montgomery County government.

Weast's "Plan B" Protects Administration, Credit Cards, Consultants and No Bid Contracts


Maryland may need 56-percent property tax hike to cover state debt, report says


The Washington Post
By Aaron C. Davis
Maryland lawmakers will either have to raise property taxes by 56 percent over the next five years, or take away $1.1 billion from classrooms, police, and other core state services to cover record state borrowing, budget analysts said Friday.
The dire predictions come from a combination of bills coming due on Maryland's long-term debt, plus falling property tax revenues, which have traditionally covered the costs...

continues here. 

Cloning "Superman": What Other Countries Already Know about Scaling Up Good Schools | Cato Institute: Policy Forum

Cloning "Superman": What Other Countries Already Know about Scaling Up Good Schools | Cato Institute: Policy Forum

"We wanted to make sure he was reelected before introducing legislation."

Montgomery delegation split over permits for portable classrooms


By Glynis Kazanjian
For MarylandReporter.com
Two Montgomery County delegation leaders are at odds over a local bill that would strip the county’s two largest municipalities of their authority to rule on school construction projects.

The bill would grant the Montgomery County government sole authority to issue permits for new school buildings, remodeling projects and placement of portable classrooms. Currently, Rockville and Gaithersburg approve their own permits for school construction projects through their local zoning and building ordinances...

Kensington Patch: State Board of Education Asks Montgomery County to Reconsider Two Local Charter School Applications



Two potential charter schools, both in the Wheaton area, were given another chance on Tuesday by the Maryland State Board of Education.
Crossways Community had applied to start a Pre-K through 6th public charter school in addition to its current private Montessori schoolGlobal Garden, which hopes to locate in the Wheaton/Kensington area, is designed as a K through 8th International Baccalaureate school with a significant focus on foreign language. Organizers of both potential schools had appealed Montgomery County Board of Education’s rejection of their applications.
The Parent’s Coalition blog posted the full text of the decisions on their website yesterday...

The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight

Washingtonian.com Guest List: Today’s Newsmakers
• Christopher Barclay. The president of the Montgomery County Board of Education is facing an interesting challenge: the school system, the largest in the state, doesn't have any charter schools. But that could change soon: The Maryland Board of Education told Montgomery County to reopen its deliberations on two applications to open charter schools in the jurisdiction. With lawmakers in Congress working to jump-start DC’s lapsed school-voucher program, school-choice discussions in Washington are about to heat up.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

MCPS teachers can telework under terms of 2011-2014 Contract

In the new contract with the teachers union, MCPS will now allow teachers to telework on professional days. Here is the section of the contract that spells out this change.

MCPS teachers can telework in new contract

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Flypaper: The Henry Ford model of school choice

Flypaper: Ideas that stick from Fordham's Education Gadfly team
Referring to the Model T, Henry Ford famously said, “A customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” It turns out that Dr. Jerry Weast, the superintendent in Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live, feels the same way about school choice — parents can send their kids to any school they want, as long as it’s part of the traditional public school system (or you’re wealthy enough to send your child to a private school)...


continues here.

Gazette: Opinions cite bias of county board members, violation of system regulations

State Board of Education directs Montgomery board to reconsider two rejected charter school applications

by Andrew Ujifusa and Jeanette Der Bedrosian | Staff Writers

...In separate decisions released today, the state school board told the county school board to reconsider applications from Global Garden Public Charter School and Crossway Community to build charter schools in Montgomery County...
...School system spokesman Dana Tofig said county lawyers were still reviewing the decision by the state board to determine what is required of the county, but he said he believes the state board is simply asking for clarification on why Global Garden application was denied.
"They asked the [county] Board of Education to put in writing their reasons for denial," he said in a phone interview this evening. "It doesn't ask for reconsideration."
In each of the conclusions to its two opinions, the state board said, "We reverse and remand this case so that the local board may reconsider its decision in light of the rulings we have made in this case. We expect that such reconsideration shall occur within 90 days of the date of this decision."

MontCo will pay state fine instead of increasing school spending | Brian Hughes | Education | Washington Examiner

MontCo will pay state fine instead of increasing school spending | Brian Hughes | Education | Washington Examiner

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Md. overturns Montgomery's rejection of charter schools | Lisa Gartner | Education | Washington Examiner

Md. overturns Montgomery's rejection of charter schools | Lisa Gartner | Education | Washington Examiner
The Maryland State Board of Education on Tuesday reversed Montgomery County Public Schools' decision to reject two charter school applications, charging the local school board's members with holding biases against charter schools and calling a memo from Superintendent Jerry Weast "vague and, at best, confusing."
Moreover, the state says Montgomery's board failed to comply with its own evaluation process, cutting the charter applicants off from important feedback.
In a 17-page verdict, the state board found that the Montgomery school board "failed to provide any rationale for its decision" to reject an application from Global Gardens Public Charter School Inc. On the same basis, the state board overturned Montgomery's rejection of Crossway Community Inc.'s application and gave the local board 90 days to revisit those decisions.


Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/education/2011/01/md-overturns-montgomerys-rejection-charter-schools?sms_ss=blogger&at_xt=4d3f96345f7da8f2%2C0#ixzz1C6pABXTb

State BOE "Extremely Concerned" about Bias by O'Neill, Docca, Durso

Page 15 of the Global Gardens decision by the Maryland State board of Education:

Board Member Bias

We are extremely concerned to learn of statements made by three local board members in their candidate questionnaires concerning their views on public charter schools while they were campaigning for reelection several weeks prior to the local board's decision in this case.

Breaking: State Board Reverses and Remands Crossways Charter School Appeal

crossway opinion - 1-11

Breaking: State Board Reverses and Remands Global Gardens Charter School Appeal

global gardens opinion -1-11

Maryland's secret education spending spree

The Baltimore Sun:

Unreported spending further bloats an already excessive schools budget

January 18, 2011|By Marta H. Mossburg
Maryland spends on public education like a Saudi prince in Tiffany's.
According to an analysis of data from the Annual Survey of State Government Finances from the U.S. Census Bureau, all education spending accounted for 47 percent of Maryland's total revenue in 2009, the most recent year available. Health spending, which is always cited as the monster in the state budget, ate 9 percent of total revenue in 2009. By comparison, public education represented 26 percent of total revenue in 2000.
The results are sparkly — on paper. Maryland earned the top spot for the third year in a row in Education Week's survey of the nation's K-12 public schools last week. But for the wealthiest state in the nation, home to some of the most highly educated parents, it would be surprising if it did not score high. And few know how much that ranking costs at a time when the state faces a $1.6 billion budget gap and legislators are debating whether to raise taxes yet again in a state with one of the largest tax burdens in the nation...
continues here

Search for superintendent a competitive one - herald-mail.com

Search for superintendent a competitive one - herald-mail.com


Montgomery County Public Schools’ superintendent makes $216,792 a year, according to a 2010-11 Maryland State Department of Education salary schedule.


Montgomery school system spokesman Dana Tofig said Thursday he was not aware of a minimum salary being set yet for the next superintendent.

Today: State Board to Rule on Charter School Appeal of MCPS Denial of Application

Press Release Jan 2011 FINAL
Maryland State Board of Education Agenda for January 25, 2011.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Prince George's schools tosses PR department | Lisa Gartner | Capital Land | Washington Examiner

Prince George's schools tosses PR department | Lisa Gartner | Capital Land | Washington Examiner


Little-known fact: most public school systems have a public relations office. They do everything from sending out press releases to helping reporters find data, with an occasional dab of yelling at reporters who write unflattering things about their press releases and/or data. In fact, Montgomery County's Office of Communications and Family Outreach was worth $10.6 million as of fiscal 2011. The more you know!

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/capital-land/2011/01/prince-georges-schools-tosses-pr-department#ixzz1C0uv0z6P

New Orleans LA: Mastering the Moment

Mark your calendars now for the 2011 CoSN Conference 2011: Mastering the Moment, in New Orleans, LA, March 15-16, 2011!

Don't miss: The Cloud Has A Silver Lining: How ICT Can Rescue Education, Wednesday, March 16
Grand Ballroom D
3:30pm
Hear the vision from “the most innovative educator in Australia”. Learn how education leaders must stay focused on the pedagogy, not the technology. Followed by a reaction panel of distinguished US superintendents (Including, of course, Dr. Jerry D. Weast).

Interesting side note: this conference is sponsored by, among others, PEARSON and PROMETHEAN.

Superintendents' Strategy Session!

Strategic Planning: Putting Your Strategic Plan Into Action During the Fiscal Crisis

January 19, 2011 Registration and Reception, the Westin Times Square, NY, NY
January 20-21, 2011:
"Yet fiscal crisis is actually the most important and, paradoxically, the easiest time to enact strategic plans. As districts must do more with less, they must think in terms of tradeoffs. Making these tradeoffs is an opportunity to implement the strategic plan by prioritizing the set of activities that the district does best to deliver on the ultimate goal of raising student achievement. Indeed, far from being tabled for better times, strategic plans can play a crucial role during financial distress by clarifying the cutbacks to be made and minimizing the impact of them."
January 21, 2011 8:00 AM: "Jerry Weast: Deliberate Excellence, Managing Systemic Change when Budgets are Tough"