Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Starr meets with Gazette, picks music teachers over counselors, keeps staff credit cards

Superintendent Joshua Starr appears to be continuing the Jerry Weast scheme of attempting to manipulate media coverage by only meeting with certain members of the press.
...Meeting with The Gazette editors Thursday, Starr said he chose next year to add five instrumental music teachers rather than adding to student support teams, such as counselors or pupil personnel workers.
Starr said there is a great demand for instrumental music, and there needs to be a strong pipeline for the programming from elementary to high school, or else it will take years to recoup.
“We can maintain where we are with the [pupil personnel workers] complement of folks we have, where if we let the instrumental musical program die off, it takes so many years of recovery that I just don’t think it is worth that. It is an efficiency decision on one hand.”
Meanwhile, the counselor-to-student ratio at middle schools continues to grow.
Starr proposes to add one counselor for next school year for a projected enrollment growth of 2,336 students...
...Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg said it is important for people to know the school system could have chosen to restore school-based staff this school year, but decided against it.Andrews said it all goes back to the school system’s decision this summer to give eligible school system employees two step increases in their pay, which the council criticized.
About 150 positions could have been restored this year if the school system would have devoted just one-sixth of the $47 million that was spent on salaries, Andrews said...

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, the allotment of students per elementary instrumental music teacher has been creeping up for years and was already bordering on untenable when I left MCPS (I stuck it out till I went into labor with my first child). To give you an idea, things were tight when I spent 4 days a week at Piney Branch Elementary School; with the GT magnet there, I had a HUGE number of students to work with and got NO planning time if I wanted to teach all comers, AND I taught through lunch form time to time. As far as I know, that same position is now a 2-1/2 day position, just a bit over HALF of what was already a crazy-busy position with too-large classes (I was already teaching beginning classes of 9-14 in 30-minute slots, and if you've never tried to manage that many beginning saxophone players or violinists, let alone TEACH them, you haven't lived! LOL). Compared to neighboring systems, MCPS's elementary instrumental music allotment is crazy unrealistically full.

    MCPS frankly should be hiring more like a dozen instrumental music teachers by now; 5 is a drop in the bucket and even those were overdue 12 years ago. Dr. Starr easily has a hundred places to spend every dollar MCPS gets. I don't envy him these decisions, but I will say, with the qualifier that instrumental music is my specialty, that it's refreshing to see some attention paid to the arts for once.


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