Friday, July 31, 2015

Breaking: Parents File for Circuit Court Injunction to STOP Cell Tower on Playground .@MABE_News .@milestonecomm .@AACountySchools .@mocoboe .@pgcps

Case Information
Court System:Circuit Court For Anne Arundel County - Civil
Location:Anne Arundel Circuit Court
Case Number:C-02-CV-15-002363
Title:Colin Murphy Et. Al. vs. Anne Arundel County Board of Education
Case Type:Injunction
Filing Date:07/28/2015
Case Status:Open

Involved Parties Information
Name:Murphy Et. Al., Colin
Attorney(s) for the Plaintiff
Name:O'Kane, Jessica
Address Line 1:

Name:Anne Arundel County Board of Education
Address:C/o P. Tyson Bennett

888 Bestgate Road, Suite 316
City:AnnapolisState:MDZip Code:21401

Document Information
File Date:07/28/2015Close Date:
Filed By:
Document Name:Complaint / Petition
Comment:Complaint for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction and Permanent Injunction

File Date:07/28/2015Close Date:
Filed By:
Document Name:Supporting Exhibits

File Date:07/28/2015Close Date:
Filed By:
Document Name:Supporting Exhibits
Comment:(Proposed Decision)

File Date:07/28/2015Close Date:
Filed By:
Document Name:Case Information Report Filed

File Date:07/28/2015Close Date:
Filed By:
Document Name:Attorney Appearance - No Fee

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Breaking: Judge says that cell towers do not fall in line with Maryland's educational code #milestone .@MABE_News .@milestonecomm .@AACountySchools .@mocoboe .@pgcps

Parents hoping the Maryland Board of Education will permanently halt construction of a cell phone tower in Arnold when it meets this fall are asking an Anne Arundel County judge to stop the work before it can be completed.
Construction on the tower at Magothy and Severn River middle schools is on target to wrap up in early August, more than a month before the state board will consider a preliminary opinion that cell phone towers on school grounds do not meet the state's educational code. The two schools are on the same property on Peninsula Farm Road.

Crews are currently using a crane to put up the tower.
Schools spokesman Bob Mosier said the timeline is to have the project completed by the week of Aug. 10.
Last year, a group of Arnold parents aligned with a state group opposed to putting cell phone towers on school property, filed an appeal with the state board to protest a cell phone tower planned at the middle schools.
Vanessa Haneberg of Arnold said she joined the appeal because she was concerned about many of the same things parents have been concerned with across the county: marring the landscape, property values and safety.
"We couldn't afford a lawyer," she said. "It's a matter of David and Goliath."
The appeal went to Maryland's Office of Administrative Hearings, where Judge Stephen Nichols said that the towers do not fall in line with Maryland's educational code to use schools for the benefit of the public school system...

Schools Warned On Speech Services For Kids With Autism

Federal education officials are reminding schools not to skimp on needed speech and language services for children with autism.
In a letter to states, officials from the U.S. Department of Education say they’ve heard that an increasing number of kids on the spectrum may not be receiving services from speech-language pathologists at school. Moreover, such professionals are frequently left out of the evaluation process and are often not present at meetings to determine what services a child should receive under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the department said.
“Some IDEA programs may be including applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapists exclusively without including, or considering input from, speech-language pathologists and other professionals who provide different types of specific therapies that may be appropriate for children with ASD when identifying IDEA services for children with ASD,” wrote Melody Musgrove, director of the Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs, in the guidance sent this month.
Musgrove said her agency is worried that this issue is impacting students in special education programs serving infants and toddlers as well as K-12 schools.
Under IDEA, schools have an obligation to fully evaluate children with disabilities to assess their specific needs. For young kids, the law requires that the person who conducted the evaluation be included in the team determining what services a child will receive. Meanwhile, for school-age children, the individualized education program, or IEP, team must include a professional who can “interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results,” the Education Department guidance said...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Investigation Finds Flaws in Order of Montgomery County Public Schools Renovations

Montgomery County Public Schools will rearrange the order in which its schools are renovated or expanded after an internal investigation showed the district may have botched how it drew up the old list.
Some schools might be rebuilt or gutted years earlier than expected; some years later...

Council Investigation Identified Math Errors in the MCPS School Building FACT Score Calculations

...The calculation of FACT scores included multiple errors; correction of these flaws would alter the results of the 2011 FACT assessments. OLO determined that the FACT scoring: (a) double counted points for the Administrative parameter; (b) used incorrect square footage data in the calculation of maintenance and utility consumption rates for some schools; (c) used Piney Branch Elementary School as the scoring benchmark in the Utility and Energy Efficiency parameter without accounting for the presence of a swimming pool at the school; (d) included a formulaic error in the calculation of relative water consumption rates; and (e) failed to adjust for a clear data outlier in the calculation of relative school maintenance costs. While OLO identified the above five errors, OLO did not conduct a complete audit of all FACT scoring calculations...

Monday, July 27, 2015

School is out for the summer

, ,  , and no one is in the MCPS offices at Carver to respond to requests for information.

How do we know that?

This weekend, one of our bloggers filed a request under the Maryland Public Information Act, and the response was returned as "Undeliverable."

The blogger checked the MCPS website - and sure enough, she had used the proper address.

Does this mean that without a real superintendent in charge, MCPS systems go unanswered?

What is up at MCPS?  Is anyone home?

And, more importantly, will anyone be able to get a timely response from the Board of Education Offices while school is out of session?


.@Mocoboe Submits Expense Report: Still Spending $ on Overnight Travel, Ticketed Events, Dues

Where are your tax dollars going?

In many instances, they are going to pay for Board of Education members to go on out-of-town junkets and black-tie "galas."

And then, there are the dues paid by the taxpayers to the Maryland Association of Boards of Education- to the tune of $52,000. And what benefit to the students receive from that money? Never seen a report on that!

Read the Board of Education report submitted by Roland Ikheloa HERE.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

In April, a former Montgomery County substitute teacher pleaded guilty to groping two middle school girls. A month later, a county music teacher pleaded guilty to abusing 15 minors.

WASHINGTON — In April, a former Montgomery County substitute teacher pleaded guilty to groping two middle school girls. A month later, a county music teacher pleaded guilty to abusing 15 minors. Many of the incidents took place in classrooms during school hours.
While there seems to be a spike in these occurrences, there’s no data to confirm that.
“My sense is that we see more reporting,” says Carol Shakeshaft, an educational leadership professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. “As people have become more aware of it and it’s in the papers more, people are willing to step up and report.”...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Walter Johnson: New Development Planning at Rock Spring

The Rock Spring property across the street (north) from Walter Johnson is now the subject of the master plan planning process and intensive development is likely.  There will be an open-house-style meeting for the public on September 1st, at 7pm at Walter Johnson.

According to the Montgomery County Planning Department,

Rock Spring Park is part of the North Bethesda/Potomac office submarket. It accounts for 48 percent of office inventory in North Bethesda and 7 percent of office space Countywide. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 19.3 percent, much higher than in the wider North Bethesda submarket (14.7 percent) or the County (13.5 percent). The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has vacated approximately 159,731 square feet of leased office space in Rock Spring for a new location in Twinbrook. Rock Spring has 63 percent of North Bethesda’s vacant office space and 10 percent of all vacant space in the County.
The challenges of developing the proposed Master Plan amendment focus on reevaluating a typical suburban office park with an automotive-oriented street network and large parking garages and surface parking spaces. The proposed amendment will examine opportunities for a new street network; public use spaces and amenities; residential and non-residential uses; sustainable environmental measures; infrastructure needs for the area; and linkages to the proposed transitway. 

The Planning Department has put out a post requesting property owners, i.e., real estate developers, to contact them to set up individual meetings in July and August.  For the rest of us, not so much.

There will be a 'open house'-style meeting on September 1, at WJ, beginning at 7pm.

To find out more contact 
Kristin O’Connor: 301.495.2172,
Don Zeigler: 301.495.4638,

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Breaking: AA BOE Defies State Board - Builds Cell Tower Before Appeal Decision Released

Make no mistake about it.  Your children do not matter in Maryland. 

Maryland public schools can and will defy even the Maryland State Board of Education in their quest to appease private corporations.  What are the school administrators getting out of this? Please ask them.

Parents from Anne Arundel County appealed the decision of the Anne Arundel Board of Education to build a cell tower on the Magothy River Middle School playground to the Maryland State Board of Education.  The parties brought their case to an Adminstrative Law Judge, as directed by the Maryland State Board of Education, and the judge's decision has been transmitted to the Maryland State Board of Education.

And, guess what?  The parents have a very good chance of winning their appealYet, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education is permitting the construction of this cell tower to proceed before the Maryland State Board of Education releases their decision.  

The cell tower will be up in a few days and the parents who have played by the rules and followed the appropriate administrative procedure will be steamrolled.  The cell tower will be up.

What's the lesson here for our children?  Cheat, lie and scam the people you serve.  Get away with anything you can when you are a public school administrator or Board of Education member.  We look forward to seeing our children carry this lesson from their role models with them out into the world. This is what we want in young adults, right?

The pictures below were taken today, July 23, 2015, and show the construction of a cell tower on the Magothy River Middle School playground despite the fact that the Anne Arundel Board of Education knows that the decision to build this cell tower has been appealed to the Maryland State Board of Education, that the parents have a high likelihood of prevailing, and that the Maryland State Board of Education has not released their final Opinion.  

Fairfax County Superintendent Robert Spillane Dies

From the New York Times: Robert Spillane, Who Retooled Boston’s Schools, Dies at 80

Peter Baker, July 20, 2015 

Robert R. Spillane, who helped revive Boston’s troubled schools as superintendent in the 1980s and went on to become one of the nation’s leading education innovators as head of a large suburban district outside Washington, died on Saturday in Boston. He was 80. 

His wife, Geraldine Spillane, said he died from complications of pulmonary disease while being treated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Over a long career, Dr. Spillane was superintendent of five school districts, including Glassboro, N.J.; Roosevelt, on Long Island; and New Rochelle, N.Y. He was also a state deputy education commissioner for New York and a runner-up for chancellor of the New York City schools in 1989. (Joseph A. Fernandez, of Miami-Dade County, got the job.)
As superintendent of schools in Fairfax County, Va., just outside the nation’s capital, Dr. Spillane received wide attention for pushing for merit pay for teachers, longer school days for children and more rigorous standards for both. President Ronald Reagan visited to praise his work and President Bill Clinton went shortly after Dr. Spillane’s departure to hail the district’s handling of immigrants and diversity.

To read the full story go here.

74 percent of Montgomery County students failed Algebra 1 final

From the Washington Post, by Donna St. George, July 22, 2015

As Maryland’s largest school district rethinks its long practice of giving final exams, new data show that steep exam failure rates persist in math, with three out of four high school students flunking the June test in Algebra 1.
Montgomery County school officials say the results reflect a long-standing problem with math exam performance but show an improvement in Algebra 1 from last year, when outcomes were so poor that the district added 15 percentage points to all semester exam grades in that course.

Extra points were not added this year, said Erick Lang, Montgomery’s associate superintendent for curriculum and instructional programs. He said teachers had professional development and a second year’s experience with a more rigorous Algebra 1 curriculum based on the Common Core State Standards. He added that individual schools also took on improvement efforts.

To read the full story go here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Judge strikes down Montgomery County’s ‘rain tax’

A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge on Wednesday struck down the county’s stormwater fee, saying it is unmoored by the county’s cost of providing runoff protection as required by state law.
Absent a successful appeal, Judge Nelson W. Rupp Jr.’s decision will likely compel the county to redraft its Water Quality Protection Charge to mirror its costs for providing the environmental service.
Rupp’s ruling is most directly a victory for developer Paul N. Chod, whom the county had socked with an $11,000 stormwater charge related to his 34-acre commercial Shady Grove Development Park in Gaithersburg. The judge found that Chod’s company, Minkoff Development Corp., provided its own stormwater protection and therefore owes nothing to the county under the WQPC, derisively referred to as a “rain tax” by its opponents.
Rupp’s ruling addressed the scope of Section 4-202.1 of the Maryland Environmental Article, which established the WQPC.
The section provides that counties that assess the stormwater remediation fee “shall” charge an amount “based on the share of stormwater management services related to the property and provided by the county or municipality.”
Rupp rejected Montgomery’s argument that the section’s language permits the county to charge a fee greater than its out-of-pocket costs...

 Article continues here.

Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Del. Ariana Kelly - Bethesda Beat

Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Del. Ariana Kelly - Bethesda Beat

Publci School Parents Show Increased Satisfaction

...In the District, families can apply to enroll in traditional public schools and more than 100 charter schools through a citywide enrollment lottery.
After decades of declines, enrollment has increased in D.C. public schools for the past three years, a turnaround that school officials are hoping to continue. Many schools still struggle with low enrollment amid steep competition. Charter schools enroll 44 percent of the city’s students, and many employ sophisticated marketing strategies...

How much mold is too much?

In the weeks since Superintendent Renee Foose acknowledged that Glenwood Middle School has had a recurring mold problem, teachers and parents of students have started to come forward with stories of health issues that they believe were caused by mold in the building.
One teacher told of dizziness and heart palpitations at work. Another had breathing problems that led to an emergency room visit. Multiple teachers reported students with nosebleeds, sinus infections and bronchitis. A parent said a mysterious illness that caused her son to miss 16 1/2 days during his sixth-grade year was finally starting to make sense.
The stories paint a picture at odds with assurances from Howard County Public School System officials, who say the middle school's problems have been minimal and were promptly remedied...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Serious disciplinary action against daycares hidden from public view |

...For one Montgomery County mom, placing her two young daughters in someone else's care was an act of trust that was betrayed. The woman, who 7 On Your Side is not identifying in an effort to protect juvenile victims of a sex crime, tells ABC7, “I was just shocked and horrified and very angry.”
The woman says her daughters were molested by a man named David Zarayasi, who records show was charged in the incidents later convicted in 2013 of a third degree sex offense. He served time and now takes up space on Maryland’s Sex Offender Registry. But two years ago, Zarayasi was helping his wife run a daycare out of the couple’s home in Montgomery Village.
“I think she should have been shut down immediately,” the victim’s mother said.
Elsa de Perea's daycare is now legally open for business without Zarayasi. She declined comment to ABC7. But after her husband was charged, records obtained by the 7 On Your Side I-Team show Maryland's Office of Child Care briefly suspended de Perea's license and moved to revoke it, saying her failure to protect children in her care violated state code. That's something you'd never know without 7 On Your Side...

Prince George's school board member under criminal investigation in free lunch controversy |

Prince George's school board member under criminal investigation in free lunch controversy |

S.E.S.A.M.E.: All students deserve to have educators who are held to high standards of ethical professionalism.

Non-touching and verbal sexual harassment by school staff should never be ignored. Such inappropriate behaviors are the "red flags" that trained administrators must take seriously. These same "minor" boundary violations may signal the beginnings of the grooming (seduction) process -- or may be indicative of past extensive abuses of power. "A seemingly minor incident of sexual touching by a close and trusted adult can have a profound and lasting impact." (Protecting Our Students: Ontario Attorney General's Report, 2000, p. 134) Report all incidents to the designated Title IX official at your school. Repeating your complaint to the highest ranking administrator as well might be discouraged but it is to your best benefit. A call to your state's Department of Educator Professional Practice or Teacher Misconduct Office should be made also. All students deserve to have educators who are held to high standards of ethical professionalism. All teacher credentialing units hold a public mandate to be vigilant in their oversight of all who hold certification to teach their state's children.

Read more at:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Brookeville, Maryland (CNN)As a special education teacher, Richard Bienvenue worked with many troubled teenage boys.

  Is this the solution to 'throwaway kids'?

Brookeville, Maryland (CNN)As a special education teacher, Richard Bienvenue worked with many troubled teenage boys. For years, he observed the toll their surroundings took on them.
"The kids in my classes were from some pretty horrendous situations: dysfunction at homes, foster care, and abuse," said Bienvenue, who taught carpentry classes. "The tears you would see, the anguish they would go through, I saw a real need."
For more than two decades, Bienvenue has been helping struggling young men rebuild their lives. And he's using some unlikely tools: hammers and nails...


Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Plan: 300 Buses to Crabbs Branch Way, 100 Buses to Rt. 355

 ABC7's Kevin Lewis has learned more about the new behind closed doors plan for 400 MCPS buses being evicted from the Shady Grove Depot.

The new plan is to put 100 MCPS school buses on Rt. 355 at 850 Hungerford Drive and another 300 buses on Crabbs Branch Way (Isn't this the property that has to be vacated for the developer?).  Even the County Council didn't know about this plan when they took their "vote" on Monday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Board of Education Agrees to Ditch Final Exams in County Middle Schools - Bethesda Beat

Board of Education Agrees to Ditch Final Exams in County Middle Schools - Bethesda Beat

MCPS Eliminates Middle School Final Exams

...Under the plan presented Tuesday, centrally developed end-of-semester exams in middle school courses would be eliminated in the coming school year (2015-2016). Further discussion will be held on Bowers’ plan for high school exams, which would eliminate end-of-semester exams in the second semester of next school year in subjects for which there are already Maryland state end-of-course tests—Algebra 1, English 10, Biology, and Government. Bowers’ plan would eliminate all end-of-semester exams in high schools the following year (2016-2017) and would instead use in-class assessments that are given throughout the school year, including unit tests, essays, projects, document-based questions, and more.
In the coming weeks, the Board’s Policy Management Committee will begin reviewing the impact that eliminating exams in high school would have on Board policies and district regulations. Public feedback will be gathered on any substantial changes to these policies...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Report: District 16 Del. Ariana Kelly Charged With Indecent Exposure, Trespassing - Bethesda Beat

Report: District 16 Del. Ariana Kelly Charged With Indecent Exposure, Trespassing - Bethesda Beat

@MoCoBOE Spends $31K in March Fighting Families-Enough To Pay Paraeducator's Salary!

Special Education Legal Expenses

Special education legal expenses for outside counsel for March 2015 totaled $31,385.

The year-to-date total of $218,676 is $26,462 (13.8 percent) more than the same period in the
previous year.
In addition, total year-to-date special education legal costs of $218,676 are $142,188
(39.4 percent) less than the budgeted amount of $360,864 for this time period.

The Jeffrey A. Krew bill for March 2015 totaled $30,896, all of which related to four
administrative hearing matters.

The Carney Kelehan bill for March 2015 totaled $489, all of which related to an Office of Civil
Rights complaint.

.@MoCoBOE Spends $17,683 in April to Fight Special Ed Families. No Discussion Today (or ever)

Special Education Legal Expenses

Special education legal expenses for outside counsel for April 2015 totaled $17,871. The year-to-date
total of $236,547 is $41,287 (21.1 percent) more than the same period in the previous year.

In addition, total year-to-date special education legal costs of $236,547 are $164,413
(41.0 percent) less than the budgeted amount of $400,960 for this time period.

The Jeffrey A. Krew bill for April 2015 totaled $17,683, all of which related to three administrative
hearing matters.
The Carney Kelehan bill for April 2015 totaled $188, all of which related to an Office of Civil
Rights complaint.

#MCPS Needs New Supt to Counter Downward Trends, WashPost Asserts

The Editorial Board of the Washington Post calls out MCPS.

" board officials have had to face a new kind of music: the drumbeat of criticism levied against the county for poor exam performance among students, and now for widening racial and ethnic achievement gaps."

They're only half right.

We need a new superintendent, but we need one who will be HONEST with the public.

We need a superintendent who will focus on the EDUCATION of the students, instead of personal self-promotion.

We need a culture change among administrators.

We need to stop fighting special education families.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Bethesda Camp Counselor Charged with Child Sex Abuse - Bethesda Beat

Bethesda Camp Counselor Charged with Child Sex Abuse - Bethesda Beat

Auditors critical of Baltimore County schools' contract process

A legislative audit of Baltimore County's public school system released Friday found that officials haven't always followed purchasing rules that would give the system the most competitively priced services and contracts.
In a review of about 10 contracts, the Department of Legislative Audits found instances in which the school system had decided to "piggyback" off other government contracts rather than use the more common process of asking for bids from multiple companies.
"These contracts were issued by other governmental entities that allowed other jurisdictions to use the contract terms and prices," said the audit, which covered fiscal years 2013 and 2014. "However, we found that BCPS did not use the contract terms and prices established by the other government entities, but negotiated their own unique contract terms and prices."
Among the contracts the auditors criticized was a $875,000, three-year contract with SUPES Academy to train principals. The contract, which has expired, became controversial because Superintendent Dallas Dance was found in violation of the ethics policy for working for the company without getting school board approval.
The audit said the county did not provide good reasons why the SUPES contract and others should not be competitively bid.
In the future, auditors want school officials to provide further analysis to school board members before they vote on contracts. George Sarris, the school system's executive director for fiscal services, said they agreed with the audit's findings and "have created an analytic procedure with a check list that we will use."...

75 percent of Asian students and 69 percent of white students made the Algebra 1 benchmark, while just 30 percent of black students and 26 percent of Hispanic students did.

Montgomery County students lost ground in algebra and showed no improvement or lagged slightly on five other key measures of math and reading performance, with racial and ethnic achievement gaps remaining wide, according to data for the most recent school year...

Starr Exits, Hope Falls #gallup #nobid

Friday, July 10, 2015

Leggett Wants to Park 400 MCPS Buses on Rt. 355 to Appease Developers #NOtrafficstudy #noiseordinance #ikeleggett #eya

Leggett and Council to move buses to red area.
"It is likely that an interim relocation solution will include use of the lot in front of the Carver Educational Services Center."

On Monday, July 13, 2015, the Montgomery County Council will vote to hand $27 million to County Executive Ike Leggett for a mystery solution for the relocation of the MCPS Shady Grove bus depot.

The Council packet (shown below) prepared for the Monday meeting announces that it is likely that the 400 school buses will first move to 850 Hungerford Drive, the parking lot shown in the image to the left.  This lot is currently used by Montgomery College and is located right in front of the Board of Education and MCPS main offices. The lot is also right on Rt. 355 in Rockville.  

County Executive Ike Leggett asks the County Council for $27 million dollars, but does not detail what that amount represents.  

Leggett does not ask for a traffic study to determine if the intersection of Rt. 355 and Mannakee Street can handle the addition of 400 school buses.

Leggett also does not mention that the placement of 400 buses at 850 Hungerford Drive will violate the Montgomery County Noise Ordinace.  See the yellow highlighting in the image above for the location of homes that will be impacted by Leggett's plan.  (But there are only a few dozen homes and those homeowners probably can not take on Leggett and the developers so the impact on these citizens can be ignored.)

This is what we call "planning" in Montgomery County.  Do what makes developers happy, throw a dart to deal with the rest, and be really, really shocked and indignant when citizens protest your "plans."

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Accused teen rapist barred from MCPS public classes

ROCKVILLE, Md (WUSA9) -- School officials said they are not going to allow an accused teenage rapist to attend classes in a Montgomery County public school.
A judge had released Marquiz Turner, 16, to go back to Churchill High for summer school.
Turner was accused of brazenly raping a 19-year-old ex-girlfriend in front of the Montgomery County courthouse. She died for still unexplained reasons an hour or so later.
PREVIOUS: Rape case against teen continues despite competence questions
School officials are looking to educate Turner without endangering other students and safety advocates said that's a good thing.
Turner's lawyer said the evidence suggest his alleged victim died from a drug or alcohol overdose, but police say they're still waiting for toxicology reports.

Kensington Residents Say New County Middle School Design is Inferior - Bethesda Beat

Kensington Residents Say New County Middle School Design is Inferior - Bethesda Beat

National Education Association, sent a letter to Congress protesting that it is unfair to tell an admitted, convicted child rapist who has completed his prison sentence that he may not be alone in a classroom with small children. Convicted felons, the letter stated, "should not be subjected to additional punishment because of these convictions."

No one doubted that the fifth-grade science teacher at Prospect Park Elementary School was a pedophile. Child after child, boys 10 to 12 years old came forward and told the Delaware County school stories of the teacher groping boys' crotches, stripping boys naked, and performing multiple sexual acts on young children - raping at least one.
The school, amazingly, decided to take the teacher's side. The principal wrote the teacher a letter of recommendation and helped him land a new job in Fayetteville, W.Va.
One brave Pennsylvania boy tried to have the teacher prosecuted. But he crumbled while telling his story, and the case was over.
For two decades, that teacher continued to brutalize children in West Virginia. The school district ignored complaints from parents. Twelve-year-old Jeremy Bell paid the price. The educator raped and murdered him one night.
As a father of three young children, I wish Jeremy Bell's story was just a freak occurrence. Sadly, it is not...


...A similar measure unanimously passed the House last year with the support of teachers unions, which have since reversed course, saying educators who were convicted of crimes and served their sentences should not be subjected to additional punishment.
Mr. Toomey called that argument shocking. “The logic is that an admitted and convicted child molester who served 10 years in prison should be able to walk out of that prison and walk down the street to the local grade school and get a job as a teacher in that grade school. I think that’s ridiculous,” the Republican senator said...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Breaking: MCPS Deletes Form That Allowed Teachers and Students to Be Alone in Car Together

July 7, 2015 Screenshot of MCPS website
In April of this year, the Parents' Coalition exposed MCPS Form 460-19, Report of Suspicious/Inappropriate Interaction with a Student. 

That form showed parents the relationships that the Board of Education permitted between teachers and students.  The form listed the personal interactions that were acceptable, and would not be reported to Child Protective Services.  Included in the list of acceptable personal interactions between teachers and students was:
  • physical contact of a questionable nature (sitting on lap, back rub, etc.)
  • social communication unrelated to classroom activity (texting, personal phone calls, etc.)
  • excessive time with a student out of the class
  • being alone with the student under suspicious circumstances (room locked and/or dark, in personal vehicle without parent’s permission, etc.
You can read the form at this link. 

As of today, Board of Education member Jill Ortman-Fouse is reporting on Twitter that Form 460-19 has been removed from the MCPS website. 

The elected Board of Education has not mentioned this form in any public meetings. The elected Board of Education body was content to allow this form to continue to be used. 

Thanks to one Board of Education member for speaking out about this horrendous form and the illegal practice that it promoted.  At least the form has now been removed from the MCPS website. 

There is no information on whether or not the practice of hiding sexual abuse of public school students will continue in MCPS.

What MCPS Does Not Have: Code of Ethics for Educators - Here is Model Code from NASDTEC

MCPS administrators and Board of Education (BOE) members love going to conferences. Apparently, this is one organization that doesn't have a conference that MCPS or the BOE attend.  

Montgomery County Public Schools does not have a Code of Ethics for staff. 

Here is a Model Code of Ethics for Educators that is put out by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification.  

Read it and then send the Board of Education a copy.  
They have never seen anything like this before. 

Principle I:  Responsibility to the Profession

Principle II:  Responsibility for Professional Competence

Principle III: Responsibility to Students

Principle IV:  Responsibility to the School Community

Principle V:  Responsible and Ethical Use of Technology


Rationale for Development of MCEE

Provide a Brief Comment on the MCEE

Provide a full review of the MCEE

Principle III: Responsibility to Students

The professional educator has a primary obligation to treat students with dignity and respect.  The professional educator promotes the health, safety and well being of students by establishing and maintaining appropriate verbal, physical, emotional and social boundaries

A. The professional educator respects the rights and dignity of students by:

  1. Respecting students by taking into account their age, gender, culture, setting and socioeconomic context;
  2. Interacting with students with transparency and in appropriate settings;
  3. Communicating with students in a clear, respectful, and culturally sensitive manner;
  4. Taking into account how appearance and dress can affect one’s interactions and relationships with students;
  5. Considering the implication of accepting gifts from or giving gifts to students;
  6. Engaging in physical contact with students only when there is a clearly defined purpose that benefits the student and continually keeps the safety and well-being of the student in mind;
  7. Avoiding multiple relationship with students which might impair objectivity and increase the risk of harm to student learning or well-being or decrease educator effectiveness;
  8. Acknowledging that there are no circumstances that allow for educators to engage in romantic or sexual relationships with students; and

  9. Considering the ramifications of entering into an adult relationship of any kind with a former student, including but not limited to, any potential harm to the former student, public perception, and the possible impact on the educator’s career. The professional  educator ensures that the adult relationship was not started while the former student was in school.

B. The professional educator demonstrates an ethic of care through:

  1. Seeking to understand students’ educational, academic, personal and social needs as well as students’ values, beliefs, and cultural background;

  2. Respecting the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each individual student including, but not limited to, actual and perceived gender, gender expression, gender identity, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and culture; and

  3. Establishing and maintaining an environment that promotes the emotional, intellectual, physical, and sexual safety of all students. 

C.  The professional educator maintains student trust and confidentiality when interacting with students in a developmentally appropriate manner and within appropriate limits by:

  1. Respecting the privacy of students and the need to hold in confidence certain forms of student communication, documents, or information obtained in the course of professional practice;

  2. Upholding parents’/guardians’ legal rights, as well as any legal requirements to reveal information related to legitimate concerns for the well-being of a student; and

  3. Protecting the confidentiality of student records and releasing personal data in accordance with prescribed state and federal laws and local policies.

Council will Approve Imaginary WJHS Addition so Developer Can Build #fantasy #overcrowding #trailersRus

The Montgomery County Council appears likely to approve a placeholder classroom project for Walter Johnson High School that will allow some major White Flint development projects to move forward.
Last week, the council introduced a $3.1 million, eight-classroom addition for the Bethesda school in the county’s six-year capital budget in order to avoid a development moratorium in the area.
The project will act purely as a placeholder – the eight classrooms won’t actually be built. That will allow at least two anticipated redevelopment projects in the White Flint area to move forward in the county’s approval process...
...The high school, at 6400 Rock Spring Drive, was renovated and modernized just six years ago and has a capacity of 2,345 students. But its enrollment is projected to soar to 2,798 students by the 2020-2021 school year, according to MCPS...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Let's Recap: BOE Did Not Fire Teacher Who Plead Guilty to Sexual Abuse of Student.

Now that the Gazette has been shuttered, some of the facts from the MCPS sexual abuse cases of the last few years might get forgotten.

Here's one to remember. The Montgomery County Board of Education does not consider a teacher having a sexual relationship with a student to be a fireable offense.

The Montgomery County Board of Education allowed teacher Richard Shemer to resign after his arrest on sexual abuse charges, supposedly after some sort of "internal" investigation.

Yet, in Circuit Court, MCPS teacher Richard Shemer plead guilty to sexual abuse of a minor

Exclusive: BOE Did Not Fire Shemer, They Allowed Him to Resign After Internal Investigation 

If you think The Washington Post will ever report on these types of facts, think again.  

Friday, July 3, 2015

Cell tower owners continue to ignore tax bills; county does nothing to collect

Property tax bills for 2015 became available online on July 1.   You can view yours here.

Owners of homes and commercial properties that don't pay their property tax lose the property to an investor who pays the taxes in exchange for receiving a lien on the property.  The tax lien process is explained here.  It takes about a year for the owner to actually lose the property, but it's a virtual certainty that if you don't pay your property taxes, you will lose your home within a year of when the taxes were due.

But for owners of cell towers located on public school property in Montgomery County, paying taxes has been optional for many years.  When a cell tower company doesn't pay the taxes on their cell site, the county takes no action to collect the overdue debt.

Montgomery County is supposed to sell a lien on the tower and cell site equipment, and the lien holder would then be able to foreclose on the cell site equipment.  But for reasons that county officials won't discuss, tax liens are not sold for cell sites on public school property in Montgomery County.

Clear Wireless hasn't paid their tax bills from 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2014.  Will they pay their 2015 tax bill?  It doesn't appear likely.

Try disregarding your property tax bill this year and let us know what happens!

While you're at it, try disregarding your cell phone bill for a few months and let us know how long it takes for your cell phone service to be shut down.

Overdue Property Tax bills for Clear Wireless site at Wheaton High School

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

MCPS Could Not Be Bothered to Call 6 Parents #sexabuse #childabuse #specialeducation

MCPS Playing with Test Scores Back in 1998

September 2, 1998
Scholastic Assessment Test scores among African-American students in Montgomery County public high schools declined three points this year.
Or was it really 14 points?
A report released Tuesday by school officials said SAT scores for African-American students declined by three points. But the 1998 figure is 14 points lower than the figure the system reported for black students in 1997.
School officials say the discrepancy is a result of SAT scores being "realigned" to more accurately reflect racial designations in the school system database, rather than the racial designations reported by the College Board, which administers the test.
The 14-page report does not explain that the 1998 figures reflect this change.
Montgomery County Schools spokesman Brian Porter discussed the change after the Gazette questioned a discrepancy in the figures.
In the school system report, charts detailing racial statistics have a footnote that says "groups are defined by MCPS official enrollment data." There is no further explanation. Porter said the scores of 835 students had to be reclassified by race and ethnicity because the students didn't properly fill out forms designating their background...